Trulia launched their new home searching tool dubbed "Snapshot" as a new and unique way to search for real estate. I have to say, this site IS ABSOLUTELY SICK. For you non-Gen Xers and younger, that's a good thing. I would say it's "disgusting" but only post Gen Yers would get it. Seriously. UX people - take some notes, because you're about to get schooled on how to change the game when it comes to building an interface.
First, enter a city/state. Okay, very simple. That alone is alluring - simplicity.
After the query, you'll be presented with what looks like a radar chart of locations (I searched around San Diego, CA, of course). You can click on any one of the listings over the Virtual Earth map or along the bottom which also includes a price range (also a disguised navigation - more on that later). Okay, so click on a small thumbnail over the map and a larger, more detailed thumbnail moves to the front. Click on one of the thumbnails along the bottom, the thumbnail over the map gets larger.
Change your search from "Most Expensive" to "Least Expensive" by switching the tabs atop the pics on the bottom. Notice the cost range bar now goes from low to high. Change it to "Newest." Change it to "Oldest." Or, click somewhere on the cost range bar and it will refresh the results automagically.
Lazy like me? Or, eating lunch and your hands are full so you just want to watch something (and there are no MLB.com games on). Click the "Play" button next to the logo on the top left. Could they make it any easier? Heck, you can even pause to get more details on a particular property or fast forward through the boring houses and skip to something more your taste. The thing just KEEPS PLAYING! It's freakin' awesome.
Okay, it's eye candy. It's so damn good I wanna go out and by one of those Fun Dip packs and shove it in my eye to prove it. But, I do see some features I want like additional filtering on the typical amenities like number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, does it have a sauna or a pool with a grotto...you know.
Now, Trulia is no stranger to sweetness on Virtual Earth. Perhaps you remember the Trulia Hindsight web site showing the evolution of cities and populations over time. Yeah, if not you need to see that.
Kudos to the UI guys over at Trulia. This is truly a game changing user experience. Now, if we can just get Trulia.com using Virtual Earth maps....