Domain continues innovation through iPhone application

On the back of Domain recently announcing a partnership with 1Form, today they launched a very nifty iPhone application. I am lucky enough to own an iPhone so I eagerly downloaded the application and took it for a quick test drive.

The initial look and feel of the application is a much needed improvement on the mobile phone website which Domain currently provides property seekers (which is far inferior to that of REA’s). The layout, design, functionality and speed of the application is excellent highlighting some time and thought has been devoted to developing it.

A few features worth noting include:

  • Option not to include surrounding areas – Unlike Domain’s website, the user is provided with the option not to include surrounding suburbs in search results.
  • Results Ordered by Latest Listings – By default, search results are ordered by latest listings rather than featured properties.
  • Show More Results – Similar to how Twitter limits tweets. Search results are limited to 10 and at the bottom of the page the user has the option to select further results, reducing the time it takes for the page to load.
  • View Images – Users can view images in a slide show and can zoom in or rotate images, alternatively they can view all images in a thumb grid.
  • Add to favourites – Users can save properties they are interested in and quickly switch between favourites and search results.
  • Distinct Call to Action Options – The user has a number of options available to contact the agent. These include email, call their mobile and through their land line, making it extremely easy for the user to make that next step.

Any improvements needed? The application could pinpoint the users location through the phone’s GPS so the initial search can more quickly be performed. They could also include the property location on a map, an option to email a property to a friend and some way to email your favourites to yourself or another person.

There are a few teething issues. On a few searches it returned zero results, whereas I searched the same fields on my PC and I received 23 results. From my preliminary investigations this seems to be because of a property type issue as they are grouping types. This needs to be sorted out ASAP.

I really like how Domain have focused on the user’s experience rather than whats best for generating advertising revenue, resulting in an application which is a pleasure for the consumer to use. Lets hope they transfer some of this technology over to their mobile phone website!

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7 Comments

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 9:27 pm 0Likes

    Looks good. I had a couple of issues as well with selecting certain property types, when matched against the desktop offering. All in all a really solid little application.

    I would love Google, MSN, Palm and Apple coming together to create an open standard so that we can develop one application for all platforms.

    Until this happens or there is a standout platform, this will be confined to companies with larger budgets.

  • Glen Barnes
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 7:38 am 0Likes

    Well I would have checked it out but it isn’t available in New Zealand…I find this quite odd since there are a lot of people looking at Australian property over here. It would make sense that you would release the application in all countries so that you could get the biggest reach.

    Watching the video it does look like an OK start to a mobile app and if they manage to integrate it into the users online ‘My Domain’ account it could be come very useful.

  • Nat
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 10:25 am 0Likes

    Hardly think this is ‘innovative’. Its just a Domain website wrapped in an iphone application. However, its nice that Domain are throwing money at development like this, shows they are serious about users/agents.

  • PaulD
    Posted June 23, 2009 at 11:34 am 0Likes

    How many iphones are currently in use in Australia (include NZ if you like)? as compared to how many computers are used in the same places?
    It’s not the application – it’s how many people can access it !! I would suspect that someone would not choose the iphone to start to do their research, but would use it as a reminder when they’re out on the road. Looking at a property image about twice as big as a matchbox wouldn’t convey a great deal of detail, I wouldn’t have thought?

  • snoop
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 7:16 am 0Likes

    More spin
    Is it really useful to consumers?
    Prob not just with mirror of pc based functionality
    I threw mine out as the battery life sucked,went back to blackberry

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted June 24, 2009 at 10:41 am 0Likes

    PaulD… Actually, its not really how many people CAN access it… more like how many people DO access it and to a certain extent, how many people WILL access it.

    From my experiences one thing is for certain, the average iphone owners users mobile internet far more than any other smartphone.

    I am still waiting (and waiting and waiting) from my Android powered HTC Magic to turn up and I will write up a review when I have had a play. Because of the wider release of the Android across a vast range of manufacturers its potential is going to be a lot higher than the iPhone. I read somewhere that by the end of 2009 there will be 19 current model handsets running Android so its userbase will accelerate dramatically.

    What this will do is accelerate what the iPhone has already started and thats allow easy internet access in your hand from anywhere. So whilst these applications have a limited audience now, in 12 months that may change dramatically. We often have a go at a company because they are too late to enter the party.. run old style websites, get on twitter late.. etc etc etc and all that stuff.. I think a little bit of R&D to try and innovate the space is a good thing. If smartphones don’t go the way many people think the most they lost is a week or so worth of programming!

  • snoop
    Posted June 25, 2009 at 6:39 am 0Likes

    Sure but lets be careful on what innovation is.
    A larger company would spend a lot more than a week of dev time on apps like this.
    Sure the little guys can hack together some code and release it quickly but larger companies and busy websites have much more process to go through.
    Secondly whats the point of just rehashing the same functionality you get on a PC?
    True innovation is doing something more useful.
    ie:if its a phone based app given the phones always with you wouldnt you create more premium Push based apps??

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