This morning, we released a new addition to Dwellicious Cool Tools – an interactive financial spreadsheet for each of your bookmarks using the Zillow API for real-time rates and local area tax and insurance estimates. We also addressed two long standing concerns we’ve had, and I’m going to go over these in detail here.
Ever since we launched, we’ve heard from users that the one of the coolest Dwellicious features was the Cool Tools – a suite of decision making tools for each bookmark, including maps, street views, discussion thread, easy sharing to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, WordPress, valuation, comps, neighborhood demographics, schools, Walk Score, property photos, and neighborhood photos. Some of the customers we talked to, however, were unaware that these powerful tools existed. We narrowed this down to the fact that the Cool Tools button was located in the lower right of each bookmark, on the opposite side of where your eye naturally goes: to the photo and the title link.
We tried serveral subtle changes to make the Cool Tools button stand out more, but some users still did not notice it. The new version of the bookmark now adds two unobtrusive elements when the mouse is over it: a “Click here for Cool Tools” overlay appears on the left half of the photo where the eye is naturally focused, and the Cool Tools button on the right lights up in a contrasting color. With the extra space in the image overlay, some interesting information is also added – the total number of photos available for this bookmark.
Clicking anywhere on the photo or the Cool Tools button will now take you to the decision making tools. The ‘Comments’ link directly under the photo will also now take you directly to the Cool Tools Discussion tab.
When the Cool Tools page appears, you will immediately notice another change: the contents of the Share tab has now been moved into a more visible spot in the right hand column. The Share tools allow you to share your bookmark with friends and family on Facebook, MySpace, WordPress, Twitter, and e-mail with one simple click. This has been a popular feature, but we’re trying to make it more visible to users and encourage use by moving it out from under a tab. The tag list was also added right above the Notes field – something that previously was only available on the bookmark list page, but was requested to be added here as well.
You will also notice a new Cool Tool – the Finance tab. This utilizes a new Zillow API that breaks out principal, interest, tax, and insurance using real-time interest rates and local tax and insurance values to come up with a realistic monthly cost for your chosen property. I’m really happy with how qucik this API works, making it real easy to try “what if” scenarios by changing the price and down payment percentage, then clicking the Update button. Notice the use of AJAX to update the spreadsheet in a quick and visually appealing way. Try it yourself!
We hope you like the changes we’ve made to Dwellicious. Many of the changes we make are due to good feedback from our customers, so make sure you keep sending those in – feedback at dwellicious dot com.
– Dan Woolley