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MindMyHouse redesign v2

by Susan Holtham, 7th June 2010

Dear MindMyHousies, well, it’s been over five years now since we launched MindMyHouse. It’s been an exciting time and throughout it all we have learned alot. The existing design has held up fairly well. Five years is typically the average lifespan for most decent websites. But there are many areas where we could improve things. [...]

Dear MindMyHousies,
well, it’s been over five years now since we launched MindMyHouse. It’s been an exciting time and throughout it all we have learned alot. The existing design has held up fairly well. Five years is typically the average lifespan for most decent websites. But there are many areas where we could improve things. There is also many new features that we would like to roll out to our users. Many of you have also written in to use suggesting ways that we could improve the service as well as listing features that you would like to see.

Well, we’d like to do all that. So it’s finally time to re-develop and re-design the site.

Design face lift

It’s also time for a fresh face lift for the site, including a re-branding of the MindMyHouse concept, from logo through to emails and the site itself. We will need to keep the parts of the design that work well, such as it’s simple and friendly feel, it’s global focus, it’s ease of navigation. Things that we need to fix and improve are the layout of the content, address the lack of overview and summary pages, and provide quick access to important site functions irregardless of where you are in the site. Basically we want to make the site more usable as well as more fun to use. The logo has been redesigned as well: gone is the old nondescript house; in is a more friendly ‘home sweet home’ bird house.

Site help

We’ve been thinking about this for a while and one of the main areas we need improve is the help and support information on the site. This means we will be writing new help guides to help you get started. We will also re-organise the existing help content to make it easier to access. We are also going to sort through the many many emails we get each day to support and publish the most common and persistent ones, along with some detailed answers of course!

New features

So, what sort of new features are we going to pack in to the new site? Here’s a few things that we’ll try and build that you’ve been clamoring for:

  • better help system
  • more information on the sitter and owner adverts (eg. type of home)
  • clearer information about house sitting assignment duration dates
  • better, more interactive maps
  • replace public homepage with user homepage
  • better Message center notification
  • improvements to the Message centre, eg. reply/forward; mark as unread; next/previous/search/report spam button; copy email function; contact list; viewing expired ads; etc.
  • chat application
  • upgrade the House sitter agreement form so that it can be filled out online and emailed to the recipient
  • shareable links
  • better writing/saving of adverts
  • better image upload and display
  • when first logged in, display a special ‘getting started’ page
  • make the registration and activation process easier

Feedback

Well, what do you think? Of course, we would love to hear what our members think of our planned redesign – simply add a comment at the bottom of the page.

About the author: Susan Holtham

Susan Holtham

The editor at MindMyHouse is a fun gal, intrepid traveller (in a former life), holder of three passports and enthusiastic house sitter. A book editor by trade, she did a three-year stint with Lonely Planet Publications at the start of her career. During her time at LP she shepherded many titles through the production process. Baaaa-aaaa-aaaaaa! Now that two gorgeous little girls call her mummy she's a very busy woman tending to their needs and to the occasional cries for help from among our 5000+ membership. No really, she's always keen to help!