I’ve just noticed that since we released the latest version 3.11a of LandlordMax Property Management Software I haven’t really written much about the company, at least not much from behind the scenes. I did write a few articles, but nothing much about what coming up for the future.
Well, along with our current ongoing development, we’re currently pushing two major initiatives for the near future. We’re currently doing a complete redesign of our purchase pages as well as trying to get a version LandlordMax for the Mac OS.
We’re redesigning the purchase page for several reasons, most of them forward looking. Firstly, we came to the conclusion that our current purchase page is not entirely clear in conveying its purchase options. For example, we’ve noticed an upward trend in the number of questions related to what the purchase options are. This could possibly be due to the increasing traffic we’re getting, but either way we’re receiving more and more support requests from people asking about the different purchasing options. For example, we get questions about the difference between the downloadable and shipped version, as well as what’s the difference with the “upgrade” version. For us it seems simple, but that’s very likely because we’re biased from working with it everyday. At the end of the day, if people are asking the question, we’re probably not clearly explaining things (The Design of Everyday Things).
Although this is still in development (and hence still subject to change), one thing we’ll that will definitely be modified is how you enter the shopping cart. Rather than show the initial six options from our current purchase page, which is probably too many options to start with anyways, we’re going to show only two options: “Are you a new customer?” (default) and “Are you a returning customer?” (which you will be able to validate by entering one or two fields directly below).
Then once you move past this screen, you will be presented with your shopping cart (containing only your license for LandlordMax at this time). Directly below there will be an “Options” section with items you can optionally add to your shopping cart. The first option will of course be the option to have a retail CD shipped to your mailing address. We’re expecting that this simple layout and conceptual change will better convey that this is an option and not a different version of the same software. Again, another great snippet of advice from the book “The Design of Everyday Things”
Looking forward, this also gives us the option to pursue some of our other future objectives. I’ve been considering for some time now of offering a multi-year license as part of the purchase options. So for example, if you want to save money now and lock in your price for future upgrades at today’s price, we could offer you an additional upgrade license for 1-5 years right now with 50% discount. Just imagine if you had that option with Windows! What about 10-20 years? I don’t know if we’ll ever offer this far into the future, but I have to admit I’m very tempted to try a 1-5 year extended upgrade license option. If this interests you please feel free to comment below. As well, if you own an ISV, or if you work for a company that’s tried this, please comment on your experiences. Actually I’d love to hear any and all comments on this option!
We also looked at another extra purchasing option for the last version that we unfortunately had to push back for now. Part of the reason was the implementation time of the feature itself, but part of it was also that the purchase pages weren’t ready to support it. With this new revamp we’d be more than ready. For those of you who are curious, I’d say more but I don’t want to give our competitors an edge. As far as I can tell we’re the only ones who would offer this service in our market!
The other big objective I mentioned is that we’re looking at offering a Mac version of LandlordMax Property Management Software. I don’t know if we’re going to, but we’ve already started to take the steps towards this goal. For example, we’re in the process of purchasing the necessary hardware to test and tweak the current version for the Mac OS. The good news is that LandlordMax is written in Java, which is platform independent. The bad news is that we use some third party tools and frameworks, and not all of them are platform independent. So it all comes down to how much effort is it going to take. We won’t really know until we’re right in the midst of it but I think it’s worth the time and money to investigate.
Why are we trying to hit the Mac market? For several reasons. First and foremost, we get a lot of requests by Mac users for a Mac version of LandlordMax. I don’t know the exact numbers, but not a week goes by without requests as to whether or not we support the Mac OS.
Secondly, if my “guesstimate” is right, it shouldn’t take an inordinate amount of time to offer a Mac version. Again it all comes down to how well the third party tools and frameworks work in a multi-platform environment. We won’t know until the hardware gets here for us to really test. As well, will our screens look good on a Mac? That is how many GUI (user interface) tweaks will we have to do? We have some unknowns but we’re going to really take a crack at it to see if it’s worth the effort to expand into this market.
Thirdly, it will give us an additional revenue stream. I don’t know what the percentage will be in terms of total sales, but from what I’ve seen there are few if any competitors in the Mac market for this space. That’s a good thing!
Fourthly, it will increase our web presence. What we might not make in terms of sales, at least compared to the Windows market, we’ll make up for in terms of extra web exposure and presence. By offering a Mac version, we’ll be mention on many new websites that we don’t have a presence on right now. And if we’re lucky, we’ll become the de facto standard for property management software in the Mac world!
So there you have it. We’re always extremely busy here at LandlordMax. Not only are we working on the next version of LandlordMax but we’re also trying to expand the company in new directions. These aren’t our only initiatives, these are just the most advanced and active right now. We have many other venues we want to pursue but we unfortunately we can’t be everywhere. I’ve already alluded to one other future object, and I can also tell you that we have at least three other major objectives we’d like to hit by 2008! This year should prove to be an exciting year once again!