MerixStudio

Open Zone

Design and creation of real estate related portal network.

Opendoor - Polski portal nieruchomości

Project goals and our role in it

In september 2010 we were approached by founders of Open Zone to help their ambitious project come into life. They wanted to create a unique network of portals for real estate market.

The concept covered many aspects of web usage patterns in real estate offices, architectural design workshops and their customer environment. The network had to provide not only offer presentation and search feature for users but also the quality content like specialized articles, news, picture stories, analyses or recommendations.

We were chosen by the founders to reflect their idea in design and technology creation of the Zone

That is where the hard work begins!

Fundamental analysis

At first we came up with functional assumptions for the Open Zone project first phase - definition of www.opendoor.pl portal basic functionality and its implementation

Whole bunch of other interesting functionalities was analyzed and planned for the further implementation steps. We will tell you about them in the following part...

Choosing the
right technologies

Interface prototype

www.opendoor.pl

With the basic functionality description we could proceed with prototyping. We began with simple wireframes.

After this part we could refine the functionality of all the elements and proceed with the technical analysis.

Technical specification
and prototype

With the pre-implementaion documentation and the interface project the next step was to create the detailed website specification. The biggest challenge was to plan the architecture perciving the implementation of further funtionlities during subsequent development phases, after the first website is launched.

Key functionalities:

  • Mulitlevel category tree
  • Articles created with reStructuredText
  • Articles statuse management
  • Editor in Chief article commenting and approvement system
  • Photo galleries, attachments, tags
  • Automatic table of contents, pagination, formatting
  • Mulitcategory and multisite publishing
  • SEO optimization
  • Article promotion within the website
  • 4 propety types, 4 transaction types
  • Wide range of description fileds for each property
  • Photo galleries and videos
  • Street view and map localization
  • Language versions (even for offers)
  • More than 200 field types for property description in total
  • POI markers in the property surroundings
  • Basic search
  • Advanced search for higly customized seach results
  • Intuitive search results presentation enhanced with filters
  • International offers
  • Promoted offers
  • Standard or via-Facebook registration
  • Different types of user accounts
  • Private users
  • Business users with additional options
  • Offers managent
  • Powerful webform for adding and editting offers
  • Business users with sub-accounts for employees
  • Subdomain websites for business users
  • Independent offer promotion
  • Promoting offers on homepage
  • Featured and promoted offers in search results
  • Offers promoted within the region area
  • Offers presentation along with articles
  • AdServer OpenX implementation
  • 16 independent advertisment areas on website
  • User customisable homepage
  • Stock exchange data
  • Average sqm prices per region
  • Favorite user content
  • Offer display statistics
  • Dedicated newsletter mechanism
  • Additional paid services
  • Commenting
  • Contact forms to reach the announcer
  • Multiple roles with different access and permission levels
  • Customisable roles
  • Users management
  • Info section content management
  • Offer management and moderation
  • Translations management
  • SEO management
  • Websites structure management
  • Multiwebsite management

Graphic designs

Development, testing, bugfixing,
launch preparations

15.03.2011

website first public lanuch

what's next?
creation of subsequent websites of the
Zone and constant development

Each new idea implementaion followed a proven scheme:

This was the successful way for new Open Zone elements implementation

Portal
Openprognosis

Statistics and anlyses data presentation is a main featrue of this website. It utilizes data gathered via opendoor.pl.

Portal
Openzoom

This portal main functionality is an offer and POI presentation with Google Maps. This feature allows user to find offers they are interested in within certain location. With POI markers the user can easily find out what kind of public offices, shops or services are localized in the area of interest.

Portal
Openzoom

Dedicated to pleasat and interesting presentation of photos and picture stories related with real estate market. Textual content is minised to only what is neccesary.

New functionalities Opendoor

User Generated Content

This was another step towards social media type of service. From this point users who were interested in sharing their materials and knowledge could become involved as authors and editors and publish their content. Well organised evaluation and publication process allowed to keep the published content of high quality.

Developers section

Introducing offer and tools dedicated to developers facilitates the expansion of e-service on new markets. Here are some new features we provided:

Importing data from desktop programs
used by real estate offices

One of the main features for extending the reach of services to main target group - real estate offices. Almost all the offices on that market use MLS system on daily basis. This allows new offers to be automatically visible for other connected offices.

As an addition those programs allow automatic publication on popular websites - we wanted to let them publish the offer on Opendoor.pl as well.

The main issue was diversity of program solutions which are in use. We had to design the mechanism taking that into account and provide all those users with most comfortable publishing feature.

The second issue was the program developers' reluctancy to spending additional time just to implement a feature that is requested by a startup.

The polish MLS class program market is divided between 23 companies. Their popularity depends on the area of specialization of the offices and their geopgraphical location. It is possible that within one city there are many groups of offices using various programs.

Task: Create the solution easiest to implement by program producers, so they would introduce the new feature quickly.

Solution: To find out and utilize the technological standard used by biggest players on the polish real estate portals market and program producers.

And other countless features and modifications which we can't even enumenrate...

Summary

18 months of hard work on the project with the team of
7 people

Technologies used