Taking success to the streets: A HomeViews extension
Does the name HomeViews ring a bell? Perhaps you’ve heard of them as the UK’s first independent property review website – the go-to destination for homebuyers seeking first-hand information about their dream home – or maybe you associated them with us since we helped develop their first minimum viable product (MVP). Either way, it’s no secret that the platform has been a success, having featured in the likes of The Times, Property Week and City A.M. Such success incited the founders to expand their horizons, broadening their reach to those who want to gain insights into what it’s like to live not in a residential development, but a particular area. Ergo, HomeViews Streets was born.
Just like HomeViews fills a gap in the market by providing a platform for homebuyers to review properties before purchasing like families would hotels before booking, HomeViews Streets too caters to an untapped audience. If you can learn about a two-week stay in Barbados on the likes of Trustpilot, you should be entitled to know what long-term permanency is like in your prospective hometown, which – until HomeViews Streets – was near impossible. By simply entering a location on their website, HomeViews Streets presents a plethora of reviews on various aspects of living from people who know just what it’s like to live there: the people who live there.
Trusting the process
Given the collaborative nature of the initial MVP, the team at HomeViews entrusted Lightflows once again to help bring this extension of their product to life. Hence, we held several workshops to consult the systems, create a prototype and decipher the functionalities before proceeding with the development of the application.
For the backend development, we opted for Laravel, a firm favourite here at Lightflows. Laravel is renowned for its speed, powerful template engine and effective ORM and database layer, all of which facilitate web artisans in creating a robust product. In addition, we built the frontend interface using React Native, a progressive web application framework, making it an obvious choice for creating a seamless user experience.
Through React Native, we also built a small web application version of the product for the user who wants easy access on their desktop; no need to type in the hyperlink every time they log on for their late-night perusing. Web applications present ease of use for both developers and laypersons since they present no compatibility issues, are supported by all modern browsers and are accessible twenty-four-seven.
Crafting a vision
To achieve our goal of building an application that quickly enabled users to find reviews from actual residents on what it’s like to live in their local area, we needed a set of known characteristics. For instance, when exploring your ideal location, you might want to grasp the local community, transport or amenities to get to know your potential neighbours, figure out your journey to work or find your local supermarket. Therefore, when invited to write a review, we decided to ask users to evaluate each of these components to aid homebuyers in making their decision.
On entering the site as a non-member, a large navigation bar is displayed that invites users to search a postcode or area to generate reviews from residents in that domain. Below the navigation bar appears a nice animation of a map scanning across several locations that have been reviewed, clarifying the product’s purpose. On entering their search, non-members are shown only so many reviews before being restricted by the app’s glass wall system. That is, to gain full access to all reviews, navigators must join the HomeViews Streets community by creating a free account.
Reaching new heights
With their entrepreneurial eye for identifying market gaps, it was only a given that HomeViews Streets would take off. The platform provides a great source of information from reliable sources – the residents themselves – and greatly complements their initial offering. Coupled with HomeViews, users of HomeViews Streets can gain insights into both residential developments and local areas, facilitating their property search. Plus, co-founder Olly has left a glowing review, validating the success of the platform:
Lightflows have done a great job for HomeViews and I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. Matt has provided structured & realistic guidance for our business, whilst providing a professional service throughout the tenure of our contract.
So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with Lightflows today and we’ll show you how we can achieve the same results for your project.