AJAX - Bringing Interactive Back to the Internet
by Dan Naden
In early 2007, BHI relaunched and revamped the premiere destination for new home seekers, NewHome Source. The new and enhanced NewHomeSource.com is focused on three key benefits: convenience, interactivity, and immediacy. We’ve dramatically increased the speed and ease of accessing information by providing new home seekers with a simple search and results interface, map view, and descriptive home/community details.
To see AJAX in action on New Home Source, go to NewHomeSource.com and do the following:
Perform a new home search for Phoenix, Arizona.
Use the ‘Refine Your Search’ links to narrow your results by price, home size, home type, and more; notice how the results dynamically change, yet the page does not refresh. This time-saving benefit is brought to you by AJAX technology.
In addition to the ‘Refine Your Search’ functionality, the new, interactive map brings the power of AJAX right to consumers. In our Phoenix search, the entire Phoenix market is displayed on the map. Consumers can now search and navigate (browse, click, zoom, pan) for communities. A click on a community icon will provide valuable information about that community (community name, builder name, price range, number of matching homes, and the ability to request more information about the community).
For any Web site, the benefits of AJAX are wide-reaching:
The first benefit of incorporating AJAX technology into a site would be an improved consumer experience. Today’s busy consumer may not wait for your application to load a new Web page. A slow consumer experience may equate to a lost consumer – not good for helping your business reach its goals. In today’s ‘immediate’ society, your business should do everything it can to bring information to the masses as quickly as possible. The quick, speedy, interactive nature of AJAX technology can be your company’s means to that end.
There are plenty of upsides to putting AJAX in play on your Web site, but the fact is that the technology is very much in its infancy. We can certainly expect wider adoption as the technology matures; the more sites that utilize the technology, the more ideas that can be leveraged into your site’s consumer experience. The time to begin, however, is now, and there’s plenty of information available on how to get your site started down the AJAX path. Sites like NewHomeSource.com have successfully incorporated AJAX technology into their site, providing a convenient, interactive, immediate experience.
Dan Naden is Product Manager of NewHome Source for BHI. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.