Initiated by The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 1999, the idea of RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standard) is to promote a standard environment that prepares realtors to efficiently manage electronic listings transactions.
RETS itself is not a program. RETS is not a language. It’s been established as a framework that can be adopted by any computer system to receive consistent data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
RETS Implications for Users and Programmers
You know how the same property can be described differently in multiple MLS systems. The objective of the RETS approach was to overcome those differences between the various MLS data systems. Maintaining RETS is a
collaborative effort to simplify moving real estate information from system to system as well as to expedite development efforts.
For Users: As usage grows, MLS with geographic overlaps has the ability to create data-sharing policies so users have a single point of entry to search multiple MLS data sets.
For Programmers: The RETS standards make it easier for programmers to handle real estate information generated from several different entities. That’s because RETS forces consistency when exchanging data between different y stems. In fact, without RETS, programmers would spend an enormous amount of time trying to integrate many different systems, fixing more bugs and correcting erroneous data.
Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO)
Today, the RETS suite of products, services and standards are maintained and produced by RESO. (http://www.reso.org). RESO is a non-profit organization that focuses solely on developing and implementing real estate data standards.
One of their main focus areas is the RESO Data Dictionary.
The Data Dictionary
The RESO Data Dictionary has two purposes:
- To act as a common repository for all fields and enumeration expressions in the RETS standard.
- To serve as a non-RETS guideline for a national standard for the fields and look-ups (enumerations) in the MLS.
The reason for this is as the RETS Standard expanded it became clear that common descriptions for fields and enumerations was needed. For instance, one MLS can have a listing status described as “New”, “Active”,
“Pending” or “Sold” while another MLS will just use “Active” or “Closed” when describing listing status.
The Data Dictionary cleaned this up by becoming a central repository for expressing property and listing concepts in a uniform fashion. It serves as a North American standard guideline for the fields and lookups in
MLS databases. An MLS does not need to support every field or lookup in the Data Dictionary. However, if it does have a proscribed field, that field should conform to the data item as defined in the Data Dictionary.
With RETS 1.8 supporting the Data Dictionary across all MLS systems, it’s a seamless process to combine listings data from different MLS systems on one real estate website.
If you have a real estate project with listings data coming from different MLS systems, contact us for expert consultation on the integration process: http://www.idxnetwork.com/request-idx-consultation
Are you getting your website optimized for mobile visitors? Keep in mind that you want it to rank high in the search engines, too. The fact is that sites plagued with mobile experience issues won’t rank as highly in smartphone or mobile device search results.
Google is making sure of that. According to Google’s Yoshikiyo Kato and Pierre Far:
“To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.”
Google feels that properly configured mobile friendly pages, will “improve the mobile web, make your users happy, and allow searchers to experience your content fully.”
Google’s Recommendation on Mobile
There are three basic configurations you can use when going mobile: Device Specific HTML, Separate Mobile and Desktop Sites and Responsive Web Design.
- Device specific HTML:
Sites using this approach serve all devices on the same set of URLs. However, each URL serves a different HTML and CSS depending whether a desktop or mobile device is being used.
- Separate mobile and desktop sites:
This may result in URL variations geared toward mobile-optimized content on an equivalent desktop users having the corresponding URL—m.yourwebsite.com—pages serving mobile users.
- Responsive web design:
The responsive web design approach means the sites serve all devices on the same set of URLs. Each URL serves the same HTML. HTML5 with CSS3 is used to change the way a page is rendered on the device
At this time, Google appears to be recommending the responsive design approach as the most sound. The big advantage to having one URL and HTML is that not only is it easier for the users to engage with the page but that it enables the Google algorithms to assign indexing properties to the content.
If your website is not mobile-optimized, let us optimize it for your users and the search engines as well.
Contact us for a free consultation on what type of mobile optimization is right for your website:
You can read more about the Responsive Design in this article: http://blog.idxnetwork.com/2013/08/responsive-website-design-means-easy-viewing-on-mobile-devices/
It is with great sadness that we share with you that Eric Broze unexpectedly passed away over the weekend.
Eric was a highly valued member of our team and a friend. Eric will be remembered especially for his passionate dedication and commitment to his IDXnetwork clients and colleagues.
Eric is survived by his wife, Rose Schwartz.
Recent internet statistics suggest that by 2014 mobile should take over desktop internet usage. Currently, one half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. Traffic coming to your site via mobile means your pages may need design and optimization changes so the benefits of your service and listings can be properly viewed on any device. This is why one of this year’s hottest website trends is developing websites that work on mobile devices.
Mobile Website Design Challenges
Making a website appear on mobile like it does on a full screen does present some challenges including:
- It’s best that minimal graphics are used.
- Graphical banners and videos are not fluid.
- Long forms are not user-friendly on mobile.
- Some widgets do not render properly depending on their source code.
- When the page transforms from a full screen mode into a small size of the cell phone screen, some non-vital elements can be hidden.
- Some content also gets transformed to a more compact presentation.
Responsive Web Design is one of the solutions in which a site is crafted to provide an optimized viewing experience on large screens and portable devices alike.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices
(from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).
It is a website design where flexible images, type and grids adjust to fit the screen the site is being viewed on. Advantages of Responsive include:
- It works on all platforms.
- The transformation from the “normal” look to mobile is seamless.
- It adapts to any browser on any device.
- It does not require any mobile apps installation.
- There is a significantly lower cost to develop and upgrade.
IDX Adopts Responsive and Gets Great Results
Many of our clients’ seasoned IDX websites have a great look. So great, that our clients want to keep the design. However, they also need it to be mobile friendly. So, at the IDX Network, we’re implementing the Responsive
design concept into our IDX-powered websites. We also offer several “turn-key” responsive designs for IDX-powered websites.
Full Screen to Mobile Examples
Here is the way a web page appears on a computer monitor and how the same page looks on mobile:
Here is a property slider on a computer screen and the same property slider as it appears on mobile:
Below are some of our new responsive designs:
If you think your site is being regularly searched for on mobile devices, contact us. We will discuss how we can use Responsive Web Design to make your website user friendly on any device: http://www.idxnetwork.com/request-idx-consultation