Copyright © 2020 Cheyenne Ismailciuc

The real estate social networking start-up innovates the way agents and consumers interact to buy, rent, and sell properties. The differentiation is in their focus to combine social network elements to the search experience.

Timeline

Role

Tools

Pen & Paper, Illustrator, Adobe XD

UX/UI Designer

January 2019 - March 2019

Problem 

"Hey Cheyenne: The majority of our users who reach the main page don't sign up. They interact and navigate into deeper parts of the site but how can we increase our ability to gain user acquisition?"

With an overflow of information, users engage with the landing page and within HOMEiZ' site but do not go through the sign-up process. Only 1 in every 20 people who visit the site sign up, so our goal was to improve acquisition rates.

By utilizing the split-screen design, the homepage provides users a simple login journey while showcasing the real estate search experience, which better communicates HOMEiZ' objectives and showcases the impactful offerings of the product.

Solution

Research

To understand the fundamental issues of HOMEiZ' current homepage design, I analyzed the top three social network homepages and two renowned real estate portals, compared their page layouts, and studied their objectives to better formulate a successful solution. 

First, I studied the site's current homepage and took note on its characteristics. The landing page provided multiple search options and it's login and sign up links in the top right corner, but I also noticed it's extended scroll to reveal a "Why HOMEiZ?" and "Valuable tools and information" section. Taking note on all these design choices, I've challenged them to their competitors' homepage designs.

My initial study focused on the social networks' homepages. I compared Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn's layouts and found several interesting points illustrated below.

In conclusion, the split screen is an effective element for social network homepages to boldly state their objective and to direct users to sign up to their platform. Twitter, though, is the only network that specifically displays a sign up and login section. All platforms utilize a top corner login for their active users. Overall, two out of three platforms studied above have consistency in their homepage elements.

Next, I shifted my thinking towards two real estate portals: Zillow and Trulia. These layouts below adhere more to the objective of property searches rather than gaining users. Below are some evaluations on this focus. 

All in all, these two real estate portal share similar qualities between their homepages. These elements fit the objective of providing various searching options, such as the search bar, for the user to be capable of finding a specific estate. Note that a banner image is utilized in place of the statement icons to better project its relation to homes for families. 

My observations suggest that a split screen is useful as a login homepage to better showcase the network's tagline as well as the login and sign up options. The real estate portals reflect a different objective as they focus on showcasing a variety of property search options. Understanding the differentiating factors of the two, it provides insight on how to successfully utilize both designs to create a 2-in-1 homepage design for HOMEiZ.

Wireframing

Understanding the elements I could incorporate, I decided to create different, efficient ideations of a 2-in-1 homepage design with a focus on gaining users and providing property search options.

I then identified the visual constraints to be applied to the layout, adhering to HOMEiZ' specific color schemes and rounded shapes to stay consistent with their trustworthy, transparent identity.

Designs

Final Product

The final product implements all the elements to illustrate a bold homepage design. View the prototype below.

This project with the HOMEiZ team challenged my collective research and my layout design abilities. I took my time to understand how to create a compelling balance between the real estate search experience and the user login journey while gathering my research from the best sources. Through this experience, I collaborated with the team and learned how to generate a user experience within the scope of the real estate industry. I would have liked to further my research and gain better understanding as to why these layouts make a significant impact in the social networking and real estate markets. Also, I would have liked to take more time studying the blue colors; being a friendly color used across many platforms, it would be interesting to attribute the color's purpose in my research. As for design, I would have liked to test more layout variations with the team and work out what benefits the design and what is taking away from it. Having note of that, I personally would have liked to emphasize more simplicity within the design and constrain its needs.

 

Even though I prefer to continue putting effort into this exciting project, I know my employer is exceedingly happy with work I have produced. Through the collaboration with this team, I've learned how to challenge my design knowledge through the scope of real estate, and we produced a homepage that achieves the message of friendliness and transparency.

Reflection

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