McRealty Partners is an emerging new Chicago based Luxury Rental Brokerage firm that offers a wide range of consulting services, tools, and expertise to help value assets whether people are selling or buying. They partner with their clients from start to finish, focusing on their needs while producing new ideas, developing effective strategies, and designing high-quality solutions.
Investing in real estate is overwhelming, and McRealty is here to help every step of the way.
Lead UX / UI Designer
McRealty Partners is a growing boutique real estate firm and was looking to expand its branding and web presence. To date, McRealty had primarily been acquiring clients through referrals, word of mouth, and personal connections. This has brought them enough success to want to move forward and develop a stronger brand image. McRealty was also looking into starting marketing efforts to better promote their services beyond just referrals.
I was brought on to lead the redesign initiative and launch a new website as soon as possible.
McRealty Partners was looking to rebrand and recreate their online experience through a website. The goal of the website redesign was to define a brand image, improve user acquisition, and create a design system for the company to use moving forward.
Prior to beginning any design journey, I always do a discovery phase where I learn more about the space, client, past initiatives, and more. The goal of this discovery phase is to understand the problem and users to better deliver an effective solution. It is also important for me to learn the scope of the project and want deliverables are expected. I conducted an interview with the CEO asking questions like:
As part of my discovery, I strove to learn how McRealty wants their clients to perceive them. This helped me understand their tone and brand perception that they hoped to achieve with their website. The keywords below were generated from an exercise of
"If you could describe yourself in up to 10 words, what would they be?"
McRealty's target audience includes a variety of demographics depending on their service.
Buying and Selling:
I gathered user experience and visual inspiration from direct competitors, companies in similar industries, and others in the service industry to begin brainstorming. The goal of this was to gather ideas and make note of effective user experience patterns to use in my own designs.
I explored various homepage designs, especially with the hero image and content above the fold. This was the first touchpoint users experience with McRealty, and I wanted the website to catch their attention. I was operating by several principles:
I conducted a quick usability test and found:
After feedback, I continued iterating my designs and came up with more wireframes for the other pages of the website. After the rest of the wireframes were completed, I conducted a quick usability test with the McRealty team to understand how these designs resonated with their company direction and goals for the website before final approval.
McRealty's website was very plain, non-informative, and pale. It is difficult to understand McRealty's unique offering and what makes them different. The website did not contain any branding. The first image was the only element that caught your attention, and yet you could not even see the people's faces. This makes the user feel detached. It gives a cold impression and does not make McRealty seem personal, as they believe one of their strengths to be.
I chose the primary blue because the color is professional, credible, safe, and trustworthy. Blue is often used for financial services such as banks and credit card companies.
I chose the orange as a contrast color because orange is often associated with conversion (for e-commerce and lead generation) and excitement. It catches your eye, but is less threatening compared to red, which indicates error.
Fun fact: Blue and orange are the team colors of the Chicago Bears football team. These colors are relatable to the user demograhpic of Chicago.
I chose Open Sans because it is a classic, elegant, and modern font that is among the best performing web fonts across interfaces - web, tablet, and mobile. It is legible at multiple sizes, especially for body text.
All icons feature the brand colors and imagery to represent the services. The images are simple and modern. The softness of the edges and thin outlines is light and easy on the eye.
The logo is simple, modern, and clean. The building icon follows the same style as the icons - clean lines and softness of edges.
This project was a great experience working with a client and taking ownership in developing and new website and brand image. I loved being able to drive the design decisions throughout the process. Collaborating with the CEO taught me to practice presenting and describing my ideas to someone who was not experienced in design. I had to find the right terminology and explanations to show why I made certain choices and translate the information I was given into visuals. Below are learnings that came out of this project:
As a designer, it is important for me to be transparent and communicate often with my client. I strived to keep an open discussion flowing and allowed room for ideas to be shared. It is important that my client is in the loop about all design decisions and can offer his or her feedback. This ensures a higher level of success when the website is finished and launched.
As I was working on my designs, I had my client write the content simultaneously. I designed the website and all its elements to be flexible and work with the content. Certain elements were constrained, while others can move with the content. By keeping in mind both the design and content, I ensured that one was not overtaking the other.