Lewoer – make apartment hunting suckless

The Idea

Finding an apartment is always a painful experience. I created Lewoer.com to make the apartment hunting process easier through geographic visualization, structured information and social network matching.

Lewoer is live!  www.lewoer.com/

The Concept

Lewoer is a map-based tool with all the apartment-hunting information you need. After conducting research and interviews, I found the following user requirements.

Top priority user stories:

  • View information on a visual map.
  • Filter results and view them interactively on a map.
  • Post their information in a structured format.

The Wireframes

I created a set of wireframes to test with users. These wireframes shows me how people think about design.

image

The Visual Design

Visual Design

I use visual design as the next step in the development. The key factors are clean, open, trustworthy and easy.

From the user testing of the wireframes, I learned that users really value the map. The most important detail is the Map itself. Google Map’s default look does not give the most relevant information to apartment hunters. I customized every street and every block on the map to best fit the user’s needs.


The Technologies

To enhance the user experience of Lewoer.com, I used technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3. I programmed most of the front-end in JavaScript and some of the back-end was programmed in PHP. I used Google for the map engine and built the site responsively using CSS media queries.

HTML5

For the main body of the site, I used semantic tags like footer, header and nav. This enhanced accessibility, searchability and interoperability across formats and environments.

CSS3

For the visual styling, I used CSS3. This made the transitions smoother and faster.

Google Map

For the Map, I used Google’s API because it is the most mature and easy to customize.

Responsive Design

Because my research found that users want to use it in mobile devices, I designed it to have a responsive layout. I used the CSS media queries so that it fit with mobile, tablet and desktop devices.


The Todos

Of course, the site is still unfinished; I am actively developing new features based on user needs. Some examples I am working on include:

  • Saving selected posts to a list;
  • Learning the commute time from the apartment to the office;
  • Posting a video to the site;
  • Automatic email alerts when new results are available;
  • Sharing with friends.
  • Ken li

    I like this, this is super cool! :)

    • yang140

      Thanks Ken, Still working on it. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

  • Jim

    I can’t see any difference between yours and http://www.zillow.com/

    • yang140

      Hi Jim, Thanks for comparing with Zillow. I believe Real Estate is another area that can still be turned upside down. Zillow is only a start. Airbnb is only a start. There’s a million ways. I know the current lewoer is not much difference than Zillow, but I have a lot of ideas and still working on it. Glad to chat about it in detail if you like.

  • avaziyi

    棒~

  • Jingyi Tian

    Hey I actually wanted to recommend it to my friend. But we can’t find San Diego. Would you update it regularly?

    • yang140

      Hi Jingyi, Thanks, but we haven’t been able to expand to San Diego yet, but we do have plan. It might be in couple month.

      • Jingyi Tian

        Never mind. I guess that will be a bit long for my friends to wait. But I will recommend your site to my friends if they need in future. Keep going~(PS: your blogs are really good. I appreciate your writing.)

        • yang140

          Thank you, really glad you like it!