CREA is taking its online mls.ca website redesign options on the road, following a branding presentation at its Special Assembly in Regina in October.
 
CREA’s MLS & Technology Council (MTC) showed delegates four mls.ca redesign options; based on delegate feedback, the four proposals were narrowed down to three. Those three options are now being tested in focus groups of consumers and Realtors in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax, and Realtors across the country are being asked to indicate their preferences in an online survey.
 
“All of the proposals had to meet several branding objectives,” says Bob Linney, CREA’s director of communications. “First, that it’s clearly identified that Realtors are providing this website – there’s no advertising, our members are paying the full freight.  Second of all, that it helps address the branding issue that TREB (the Toronto Real Estate Board) first raised – in other words, that there is some explanation on there that mls.ca is not an MLS system.  And thirdly, that it helps enhance the image of a Realtor.”
 
TREB had expressed concerns to CREA about confusion in consumers’ minds about MLS and mls.ca – concerns that were apparent in a survey carried out by CREA earlier this year.  TREB proposed that the name of mls.ca be changed; CREA preferred to change the look of the website instead, to make a clearer distinction between mls.ca and MLS. 
 
In July, CREA’s technology council asked a number of web design companies to submit proposals to redevelop the mls.ca website.  Five of the nine original proposals were eliminated following initial concept testing in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa; one more was eliminated at the Regina assembly.
CREA’s goal is to complete its redesign research by mid-December, when members of the technology council will meet to finalize plans for redesigning the mls.ca website, and then to implement the new look as soon as possible. – Kathy Bevan

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