CSS Bug Spoils Useful Mobile Apartment Finder

UDR Mobile Apartment Finder

UDR is United Dominion Realty which owns and manages a number of large apartment complexes in U.S. cities. UDR’s mobile site, udrapartments.mobi should make relatively easy to find rental units in major U.S. cities with your mobile phone. With it you can browse by state and city or use an advanced search form that lets you filter results by price, number of bedrooms and baths and available amenities like a pool, air conditioning and whether pets are permitted.

Searches return a scrolling list of properties meeting the search criteria. There is quite a bit of information in the initial listing including address, a small photo, range of rent prices and a non-click to call phone number.You can drill down into each listing to bring up a page with a description,  larger photo, driving directions, email address and the phone number, which is unfortunately still NOT click to call. A “Check Availability” button takes you to a page where you can see details of all the different types of units in the building and which ones are available. For units that are unavailable you can sign up to receive text alerts to be notified when a vacancy occurs.

UDR has created a feature rich mobile site with lots of useful information and a powerful search tool for apartment hunters. Unfortunately, when trying to actually use the site on my phones I ran into some serious issues. The lack of click-able phone numbers on a site designed to be used on phones is just dumb but I could live with that. A bigger issue is a layout bug that makes the site hard to read on many phones. All the text on every page of the site is forced into a narrow column on the left side of the screen. This happens with the Nokia N95, Opera Mini (image), the Android browser and the Openwave 7 browser on a Motorola i850. The culprit is a width : 33% attribute specified in the CSS for the div containing the main content. I really don’t know what the designer was trying to do here but it looks terrible in any browser that has proper CSS support.

UDR does have an iPhone version of the apartment finder which doesn’t have the formatting issue and does have click to call numbers. The iPhone site is perfectly usable with Android and with Opera Mini in desktop view (the search form’s “Submit” button is missing in Mini’s mobile view). The iPhone site would probably also work with the N95 browser except that UDR’s overly aggressive browser detection redirects the S60 browser to the basic mobile site. Source: Oh! Mobile Directory

Filed in: Wap Review Directory – Technology/Home/Search/Real Estate & Apartments

Ratings: Content ****_ Usability XX___

Ready.mobi Score: 4 “good”

Mobile Link: udrapartments.mobi

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