Testing…Testing…1, 2, 3…

RPR is going beta. Even though the application has been called everything from deserving of a Webby to D.O.A., this is the first time it will be used, by REALTORS, whose opinions are the ones that matter most in our world. So at long last, we will receive the suggestions, feedback, praise and criticism that we have been waiting for. We are eager for it all.

I thought it might be helpful to introduce everyone in our user community to the concept of beta testing and explain it in more detail to the uninitiated. Most of the some 600 beta testers are new to the technology world, but this is where they get to join our development team. But don’t feel left out. Testing marks the start of the collection of feedback, not the end. So even if you aren’t a part of the beta, when we’re done with the testing, we are at the start of our development life cycle. We want the feedback to continue to flow.

I come from a software development background. I worked at a mapping software company with a devoted following, and it was the kind of place where people fight to be the first to see what’s coming in the new release. It’s an honor, really. These beta testers answer to the call with great verve! They provide loads of feedback to the developers, and the errors they discover and report ultimately make the final application better for everyone.

That said, beta testing is hard work. Testers have to really dive into the application to get the most out of it. And in doing so, they discover mistakes, called “bugs,” in the software and data that require developers to go back and fix things. They won’t necessarily see these fixes right away; we’ll fix them and then group a bunch of fixes together to form a new release. When we release an update to the beta site, we’ll do our best to let the testers know everything that we’ve fixed. This will help them to see how we’re progressing against the input that they have provided to us.

Testers might also find that that they do not understand how something works, and that’s called a “usability issue.” For these issues, it’s best for us to hear from the testers about what they expected to happen, and what happened instead. We’ll look for cases where users have issues or expectations in common, as those often represent a major stumbling block. On the other hand, there will be individual users who report a unique or challenging problem, which still makes a very good point, and those too will be tackled.

Finally, testers might have ideas for features that are not on the site that would be great to see there. These are called “enhancements.” A software developer loves to know what testers think the site should do or could do that it’s not doing. Since Realtors are the ones who will use this application every day, and none of us here on the product team is a Realtor, this will be the most valuable feedback we get.

Sometimes bugs, usability issues and enhancements are easy to fix. Other times, they are hard, and will take thought or time. We’ll do our best to keep everyone posted through this site about what we are hearing and how it’s coming along.

Like they say over at Google: “Testing Rocks!” So happy testing!

29 replies
  1. Kris Goodfellow
    Kris Goodfellow says:

    I wish that we had listing data in all these areas so that we could open the beta up to the highly motivated people here. It would be great!
    Perhaps in future releases we can do that.

    Reply
  2. Tim McDonald
    Tim McDonald says:

    I’m always up for providing feedback in Beta testing. Love technology and experimentation. Would welcome the chance to participate with @properties in the greater Chicago market.

    Reply
  3. Bryn Kaufman
    Bryn Kaufman says:

    Why is the RPR being kept from the public with only Realtors having access? As we have found out the public wants more information, not less.

    For my small local MLS in Honolulu, there are over 500 public Websites that distribute this information to buyers and sellers. Why not open up RPR to the public? I am sure it will eventually, but the sooner the better.

    It is like taking a step back in time to when Realtors did not want any of the MLS data on the Web as that was supposed to be exclusive data that only they could see.

    Reply
    • Reggie
      Reggie says:

      Bryn – while we all agree that the consumer is seeking more and more information online…that’s not the purpose of RPR.

      RPR is a closed system for practitioners for many reasons. Starting with the fact that just to license the historic MLS content for display to members we need to follow strict security measures to protect the data. Also understand that because we are a closed system we can display datasets that are not traditionally licensed to public sites…all because RPR is behind a password.

      Most importantly the data in RPR is still going to get to the consumer, and it’s going to be through the members via our reporting module.

      Reply
  4. Bill Crosby
    Bill Crosby says:

    I’d like to be a tester if you need one in NE Florida. I have 25 years in the computer business including being co-owner of a software company in Phoenix, AZ. One of the many hats I wore was running our beta testing program, documentation, and software support.

    Reply
  5. Mark Fanning
    Mark Fanning says:

    In one of my earlier careers I was also a software developer and I’ve had to track down my share of bugs. Being in real estate now I can see the enormous value in the product and I would love to take on a share of the load testing here in WA state.

    Reply
  6. Nan Skinner
    Nan Skinner says:

    I saw a demo today of a product called Broker Metrics. This looks much slicker and more professional. How long before it’s available and what the cost/user estimate? Thanks, this is awesome!

    Reply
  7. BK KROMER
    BK KROMER says:

    BK KROMER, I have submitted my application
    for New Jersey. Do you have any idea when
    this RPR will start rolling out for the realors to take advantage of this product and will it cost us money.

    Reply
  8. Evelyn Hunt
    Evelyn Hunt says:

    How about letting the CRS Chapter agents around the country test the site for you. After all CRS agents are the most educated & experienced in the business long enough to know what we need.

    Reply
  9. Jim Reppond
    Jim Reppond says:

    I wish RPR would allow me to be a beta tester and help evangelize the value and importance of making this tool available to our local members. I’m afraid the NWMLS is going to get left out.

    Reply
    • Reggie
      Reggie says:

      Thank you for the comment. Stay tuned. Right now we’re in a closed beta. We will begin a roll out schedule in the later part of this year.

      Reply
  10. ExotichCarxRentalsnNyca
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    Reply

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