This week we pushed version 1.6 of the Daft.ie android app. It's the most significant in a series of recent updates, so if you haven't seen it in a while, now could be a great time to take another look!
Why the change? A quick bit of background
When our android app was launched in early 2011, it took the same path many other android apps did at the time, and was based very closely on our iPhone app, which had been launched a little over a year previously. This brought all of the functionality of the iPhone app to android users, albeit with a very iPhone "look and feel". Over the last two years in particular, the android ecosystem has moved on hugely, particularly with regard to design and standardising of interface elements. Reviewing it recently, we felt that the android app was feeling a bit dated, as well as not taking full advantage of many of the benefits the android platform now offers which may not be available on the iPhone or iPad.
So what's different?
Across the app the android action bar is used to make sure the key functionality you need is always easily accessible. Things like saving your search, updating your filters or swapping to a map view are now one click away, rather than tucked away in a sub-menu.
The search refine screen has been given a complete overhaul to make it easier to enter your search criteria. From using a slider to select your price to simplifying things like bed and bathroom selection, this layout should hopefully make it quicker for you to get from entering your search to seeing useful results.
Within the search refine screen, we've also changed how our map search works. When hitting "Location", you've now got the option to pick the county and areas, or use our "Search with map" feature. This option lets you pick a point you care about on the map, give it a useful name like "Work", then use it as the centre point for your search. The app will then save this point automatically and show it to you as an option at the top of the list when next you use this filter. This saving of a custom location is an example of a feature we've had in the app for some time, but with this release feel that we've made it both easier to discover and to use.
As part of this release, we have updated the app to use the latest version of Google Maps. So when you're checking out your search results or a a specific property on the map view, if Google have the area mapped well enough, you'll see the surrounding area in 3d!
We also updated our map results to give you more useful information at a glance. You can now see the price of each ad directly on the map pin. Once you select an ad, you now get a more detailed preview, listing the property's address, price, photo, details and number of photos available in total on the ad. This should hopefully save you some time by giving you more relevant information without having to click in and out of each property from the map view.
Sounds good - anything else?
A feature we've been adding gradually over this series of releases revolves around quick swiping. So if you're viewing a property's details, you can quickly swipe between the photos on the property direct from the details screen, without having to open the dedicated photo browser. In addition to this, once you've gone from a search to view a property's details, you can now swipe from right to left to view the next ad in the search results, saving you having to go back up the search results then back in again.
Great! What's next?
The above are just a selection of the changes we've been making over the last few releases of the app, and there are plenty more on the way. We've some particularly exciting changes to our search results and ad details coming in the near future - keep an eye out for them also!
So download the app now, let us know what you think of it and what sort of features you'd like to see that may not be in there already, either in the comments below, by email or in the Play store.