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"Draw Region" Tool Feedback

Looking for homes in a selected region, such as county by county, would be a great feature.  Before clicking the "draw region" tool, Zillow shows the county lines.  However, once one toggles the "draw region" tool, the county lines disappear.  This is poor design.  I surmise that the disappearance of guiding lines on a "draw your-own region" tool is inadvertent or simply overlooked.  It seems so counter intuitive, in fact, that I still have to believe I am using this tool incorrectly somehow.  If this is the case, however, then Zillow needs to make the use of this tool clearer, because I have no idea how to simultaneously see county lines and draw my own region. 
  • September 18 2013 - US
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Answers (1)

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I experienced the same problem, so it is not just how you are using the tool... it was a typical programming oversight.  They did need to clear the house icons to make the map more legible, but they shouldn't have cleared the boundary overlays, nor the water features (rivers...).

In addition, I suggested the following revisions:

INSTEAD of the present "hold down the left button
and move the mouse":

Left click for each "corner" of the polygon, and draw a line-segment to the current mouse position, locking in the line segment when a left click is pressed, and when the left click is within a very short distance to the original start point, close the polygon.

Also, provide a "right click" for a menu of  standard shapes, including rectangle, square, circle, ellipse, rotated rectangle or square (for
diamonds...), rhombus....

For the ellipse, click major axis endpoint, then opposite axis endpoint (giving both the orientation of the ellipse and the limits), the click a distance from the midpoint for the minor axis. Obviously, if one moves far away, the major and minor axises are reversed.

Provide a text box scale in feet or miles as one is moving from prior reference point, distance reading units changes automatically at 1/10 mile. Right click option to change to Km for the huge proportion of site users that are overseas (as indicated by those finding the site through Google Germany, and the world ranking on Alexa.com).

For the rectangle, click lower left corner and upper right corner.

For the rotated rectangle, click corner, than something along the same side for "orientation", then the opposite corner.

For circles, click the center, then the radius.

For rotated squares, same as rotated rectangles but lock in the proportions of X & Y, using the  "closest". Do the same thing if one chooses ellipse or rectangle if one holds the shift key down.

Regular Polygons? Name the number of sides, chose the center, and point on outside radius that is one of the corners.

And most important, allow "unions" of multiple drawn areas... for example, one could draw 2 or three rectangles that intersect, and then
draw a circle as well; all areas are combined with a Union, and the outside boundary adjusted appropriately.

Exclusions? Allow one to "subtract" drawn areas one wants to exclude. (This may be somewhat problematic for "holes" in an area, but it appears Zillow has some method of handling this presently for cities
or zip-codes anyway).

When satisfied with the unions and subtractions, press "enter" to accept. Allow a "ctrl-Z" to go back one step, or a "backspace" or "delete" to
delete a corner on a polygon one is drawing when one put it slightly wrong.

Allow the "escape" key to abort a presently being drawn polygon to start that one over, or to select a "shape" from the shape menu.

It is almost impossible to draw an accurate boundary now, and takes many more points for storage if it is dynamically reading random mouse
movements. It will be much easier to draw and store with fewer input points.
  • September 19 2013
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