From small beginnings over 15 years ago, the Glasgow Solicitors Property Centre (GSPC) has grown to become the single largest property marketing network in West Central Scotland and is a vital resource for over 17,000 users a day looking to buy or rent properties. The GSPC web site helps over 240 solicitor firms to advertise and sell over 13,000 homes a year, worth more than £1.2 billion. That is a sale every 15 minutes of every working day!
The GSPC also gives advice on everything from mortgages to house prices and from valuations to finding a solicitor, as well as producing the largest property guide in Scotland with a circulation of 55,000 copies a week and literally thousands of homes for sale in every edition.
The GSPC wanted to re-establish their position as the leading place to look for property in West Scotland. They posed the challenge of creating a more functional and usable site, using smarter newer approaches to property search than any of their competitors. They asked us to approach the site with the aim of creating something unique that stands out from the crowd and uses all of our technical and design knowledge, as well delivering more enquiries to agents, allowing their visitors to get more from the site and make the site run faster at peak times of the day.
Our strategy was to start from the ground up by completely rebuilding the site from scratch using some of the most up-to-date web technologies and our graphic designers created a more contemporary, professional and usable design. Utilising the same framework that has been recently adopted by Google for their App Engine we developed a range of powerful new features, which allow easy maintenance and administration of the site, greatly improved search engine optimisation, faster loading speeds and the easy addition of any complex functionality in the future.
Directories of properties of specific types within set locations were added to ensure that search engines index the site correctly.
A significant problem on all property sites is the inability to search multiple geographical locations at one time and as our research showed this as one of the search patterns commonly followed by users. We tackled this by adding the ability to choose multiple locations on a map by inserting pins to define areas as small as an individual street or as wide as a town or city.
We implemented easy highlighting of shortlisted properties directly from the search results allowing properties to be added or removed with a single click. These properties are added to lists in the user's profile with the option of emails automatically sent to the user if the status of the properties changes.
View results on an interactive map
When a search is performed, there is the option of viewing all of the results on a map. When a property is clicked a summary of the information relating to the property is displayed. It cleverly groups together clusters of properties in an area with the option of zooming in to see them all as well as highlighting any new properties on the market.
House price search
The old site included a service that allowed users to lookup the sale price of houses sold through the GSPC. This tool was hard to find and under used. We not only made it more prominent but also improved the usability with staggering results.
Managing Director - GSPC
The importance of online advertising in the property market can't be overstated and our brief to Mercurytide was to develop a site that was better than any other UK property portal. I am confident that they have delivered on that brief. We are already working with Mercurytide on a second phase of development that will enhance the site even further.