May 12, 2012 3

Redesigning the MLS Listing

By in Experiments in Info Design

At various times in the past seven years I’ve searched for a home to purchase.  The process is always the same – find realtor, describe ideal house to realtor, get sent links to lots of less-than-ideal homes via the connectMLS website.  For those of you that haven’t been lucky enough to experience this site, I am fairly certain that the UI hasn’t been updated since 1995.  Lots of blue text, information scattered all over the place, hard to navigate, etc.  Just a pleasure.

The most difficult part of the site to digest is the single listing detail view.  You would think if they got one thing right, this would be it.  Unfortunately, it’s a cluster of incredibly dense, poorly aligned, and scattered information.  After looking at another 30 listings in the past few weeks, I decided to give this page a little makeover.

I stuck to a few rules.  I had to keep all of the content unless it was repetitious,  I had to use the same size font as the original, and I couldn’t increase the size of the canvas.  However, everything else was fair game.  If I really wanted to do it right, I would definitely push some of the lesser-used information onto a fourth panel and include some trending information about pricing or comparables in the neighborhood.

This was more an exercise in alignment, hierarchy, and information grouping than anything else.  The one significant change I made (besides alignment, etc.) was to group information into an interesting hierarchy – financial, location, building, home, room details, interior features…  My goal was to match the process a viewer might walk through, starting from the location of the home down to its smallest details.

Below you’ll see the before and after, and a full pdf can be found here.

Before:

MLS Real Estate Listing - Before

After:

MLS Real Estate Listing - After

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3 Responses to “Redesigning the MLS Listing”

  1. You’ve got some really helpful information on your site! I especially like what you have to say about the over abundance of “infographics” on the web lately. They tend to miss the whole point of information design; reducing info to the important facts and showing how that info is relevant. Infographics seem to be more about illustration than information.

    I will be giving a presentation to my business owners club (about 16 members) and I was wondering if I could show them your redesign of the MLS listing. I will give you credit, of course. Great work on that redesign!

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks for the note! Glad to hear there are a few other purists out there as well…

    Feel free to use any of the material on the site for your club. Of course, credit is appreciated. :)

  3. It’s amazing what a little spacing and aligned columns will do to focus your eyes on the areas of need. I wish I had these designs the last time I was house hunting.