How to personify a real estate investment firm

CHALLENGE: Redesign a new website for ZMR Capital, focused in mobile-first design to display their property portfolio in an interactive way.

SOLUTION: Focus in the business identity to create a website that goes along their core values, providing information to new investors.

+7,959.9%%

Increase in mobile + tablet usage

+27.9%

Increase in average time on page

+87.7%

Increase in traffic from organic search

OVERVIEW

ZMR Capital is an opportunistic real estate investment firm focused on the acquisition and re-development of value-add multifamily assets in primary, secondary, and emerging markets across the United States. Their team of dedicatedreal estate professionals bring over 60 years of combined experience in commercialreal estate acquisition, disposition, investment analysis, asset management, development, and construction.

It was crystal clear that ZMR Capital needed a bold, new responsive site that left no doubt in the minds of those who visited that they were an “investment powerhouse”.

DISCOVERY

During the discovery phase we performed a site audit, utilized questionnaires, dug deep to do a competitive analysis, sent out branding surveys, conducted user interviews, developed personas, and crafted a list of suggested improvements based off the results.We found that despite their size and reputation as THE real estate investment firm, ZMR Capital’s site design was described as boring, bland, and uninspiring by the users we interviewed and was a very poor reflection of who the company.

Their old, clunky site that utilized flash graphics, rendering it useless on Apple devices. Not only that, but their website was not responsive and thus scared off anymobile traffic that landing on it.
While they did have a separate mobile site, it was not user-friendly and had many of the same design problems as the desktop site.

UX Strategy

Before applying any color schemes or picking fonts, we focused on a major part of what makes a site works or not: the site architecture. Simplifying the main navigation to include the most requested areas of the site enhanced the user’s experience since they could now access these areas with just one click.

Wireframes enabled our UX team to lay out content that should be on a page to make sure that everything made sense and flowed. These wireframes were key to planning how the content needed to be structured to work.

We also researched the interpretations of different colors, how color was being usedby their competitors, and drew connections between different colors and the values that describe ZMR Capital. Based off our findings, we made color recommendations.
We went through a similar process for fonts by researching, testing, and evaluating hundreds of available fonts to make sure the one selected represented the brand.

BUILD

Our approach during the design phase was to craft an experience that would engage the individual user yet be fully functional to fill the needs of a multi-user base. To improve the design, we increased the amount of imagery on the site to make it more appealing visually and less text overwhelming. We amped up the colors & typography to better represent the bold ZMR Capital brand and increased the font size on the site, making text easier to read.

Some page designs later, we were ready for development in WordPress. The development and integration phase for this project was where a lot of the heavy lifting happened. It was exciting to see the product that we had spent so much time researching, planning, and designing come to life in the browser.

Since the site had been well-planned and strategized from the beginning, we did notencounter any “uh-oh” moments that would have required us to make major changes to the designs during development. Despite the redesigned site containing massive amounts of data, copy and images, our developers optimized everything sothat page load times were not affected. We understand that attention to little details like these that can take a finished site from “good” to “wow”!

TEST & LAUNCH

During Quality Assurance, we poured over every inch of the developed site, double checking every single page and section of the site to make sure it worked like it should, fixing bugs, and making final tweaks to perfect the experience.

Finally, after weeks of hard work and preparation, it was time to launch! To make sure everything was in order, we ran through our pre-launch checklist to make sure the server was ready to go, the latest code was set to deploy, and that we had our team standing by to make sure the launch went smoothly.

Once the decided upon day and time arrived, we made the site live and did another thorough QA to make sure everything was working properly. By handling all the details of the site launch, all ZMR Capital had to do was sit back and savor the satisfaction of seeing their redesigned site go live!

THE RESULTS

Since their new site has launched, the feedback has been unanimous – visitors love the new site! The content on the homepage offers an exploratory experience, using different sections to highlight the most important sections of the site. This flows visitors through the rest of the site allowing them to experience each page. We trulybalanced the look and feel part of design with the way each page worked to ensure optimal user experience.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

ZMR Capital’s old site was hampering their perception online. While they had the reputation of being a big player in the country, visitors to their website did not get this impression. Utilizing a solid discovery phase made it easy to home in on the most important site goals and helped us create a site that portrayed their winning reputation online.

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