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McRealty Partners

Giving Real Estate Investment the Human Touch

Overview

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.

Role:

Lead UX / UI Designer

Duration:

2 months

Tools:

Figma

The Client's Challenge

McRealty Partners is a growing boutique real estate firm and is looking to expand its branding and web presence. To date, McRealty has 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.

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.

Discovery and Research

I started my redesign process with discovery and learning more about the space, client, past initiatives, and more. The goal of this discovery phase was to understand the problem and users to better deliver an effective solution. I conducted an interview with the CEO asking questions like:

COMPANY

  • What are your competitive advantages?
  • If you could describe yourself in up to 10 words, what would they be?
  • Why would clients comes to you?
  • What services do you offer?

USERS

  • What pain points do you solve for your clients?
  • What impression do you want to leave on the client?
  • What feelings do you want to elicit from your clients after your services?

WEBSITE

  • What key information do you want your client to walk away with after visiting your website?
  • Do you have a list of other websites you like and why?

Experience Principles

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?"

Pride in Our Work

Honest

Excellent Negotiators

Competitive

Professional

Attentive to Detail

This redesign project was all about crafting a new brand and touchpoint for the users.

"I want our clients to know we are on their side. You want us with you because we can get you the best deal. Our experience in financial modeling is far superior and we are excellent negotiators. We want that professionalism to show on our website."
- Tom Dillon, CEO

Target Audience

McRealty's target audience includes a variety of demographics depending on their service.

Investment Properties:

  • Older demographic who has worked for many years. Can also be kids who run their older parents ' portfolios.
  • People who are successful and made enough money to afford an investment property.
  • Goals: Looking to sell or buy a new property and find the best deal for it.

Buying and Selling:

  • Age range varies. Can be anywhere from 25 - 95
  • Typically buying their first property

Persona

Design

Gathering Inspiration

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.

Wireframes

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:

3/5 users prefer wireframe 3, but with a static hero image and general tagline about the company (not separated by services).

4/5 users found it helpful to have services listed below the hero to give them a better understanding of McRealty's offerings

3/5 users said they felt the form was too prominent for the hero image. It reminded them too much of a subscription sign-up. It was too upfront. They preferred only an image.

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.

Mockups

Before

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.

After

Live Site

Style Guide

Colors

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.

Typography

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.

Visual Elements

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.

Visual Elements

Conclusion and Learning

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:

Communicate Often

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.

Marry Design and Content

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.