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It’s about this time each year that we start to get glimpses of the potential look and feel for a new iPhone – the rumour mill goes into overdrive ahead of the latest design and the people at Apple panic lest a test version is left behind at a bar!!
When it comes to design at Trade Me Property, I am not sure there is quite the same amount of excitement, rumour or speculation. So let me take on the role of cheerleader of what I think may be a future direction of Trade Me Property in the mobile arena and possibly the web overall.
This potential new design style isn't the result of any leaked documents left idly behind in the rubbish bins of Wellington as Trade Me relocates across the road to some seriously smart new offices. No, this design look and feel is as they say "in the wild" – as per the new design of a Windows 8.1 app.
Now I know the Microsoft tablet installed base is not that huge. Estimates for last quarter of 2013 was four in every 100 table sales was for a Microsoft OS version – potentially rising to one in 10 by 2017 but it is clear New Zealand has some very smart Windows 8 developers.
This I think is the key. For the development of this app, Trade Me has worked with an outsourced team from LazyWorm Apps. In doing so I think it has brought some fresh thinking to the Trade Me Property look and feel. Up until now mobile design has been somewhat constrained by what appears to be very hard baked-in principles of the core design principles of Trade Me design, which while ensuring super-intuitive design user interface has ended up looking a little samey and dated. So I think this new look and feel is the result of a smart decision by Trade Me to let things run a little bit wild on what is likely to be their smallest installed base tablet app. However, what we may see is this design creep across the web and other mobile platforms.
This is the screenshot that got me hooked from viewing the profile pages of the app ... sadly I don't have a Windows tablet to view it on so the comments are limited to the look rather than the user interface.
There is a simplicity and cleanness to this design. The function menu uses the colour cue of the brand whilst the logo is recessed. The images of properties are clean and engaging.
The map view of search uses neat shaded circles to cluster listings in a very clear way with density of colour reflecting density of listings.
The listing image viewer consumes the screen in an immersive manner, with the overlay providing the necessary contextual information
Former Realestate.co.nz CEO Alistair Helm is founder of Properazzi.