Pikes Peak Association of REALTORS®: A Better House Hunting Experience
PPAR, a nonprofit trade association with thousands of members, serves people looking to purchase or sell a home in the Pikes Peak Region. Although national property-search sites have entered the market, PPAR’s 115 years of experience informs their strong recommendation to always use a local REALTOR® when house hunting.
The public-facing PPAR site launched in 1999, with the addition of the property search a few years later. Although the design intended to be quick and simple for users, it became dated and overwhelming, offering many equally-weighted search options.
The redesign began with a brief discovery to clarify PPAR’s business objectives, site users, prioritized content, and functionality requirements. Then, RiotLabs’ design team created a style tile to define the look and feel of the new site and wireframes to clarify its structure. The wireframe process followed a mobile-first approach, keeping mobile users engaged by chunking down core functionality to ensure they are not overwhelmed.
With the robust existing selection of search and filtering options, the updated design was focused on keeping familiar options available for users, while also upgrading usability and simplifying the overall process. The site’s core user groups were kept in mind throughout the process to ensure that the solution best suited the user’s needs.
Utilizing progressive disclosure methodology, a simplified search on the homepage allowed users to quickly get started and access additional filters hidden behind a toggle on the results page. A slide input for searching within a range, by price for example, ensured that the search would be touch-friendly. The filters would be spaced to ensure that users could easily select multiple items on mobile. The homepage would also prominently feature content about the importance of working with a REALTOR®, another PPAR priority.
The initial visual design from the style tile aimed to choose colors and visual elements that captured the essence of the PPAR brand and the Pikes Peak Region. Color selections are inspired by local scenery and are intended to complement the real estate search and showcase sections throughout the site. The initial design concepts were then applied and developed out in the final visual design of the site. Vibrant and compelling imagery is complimented by the simplified way-finding and touches of color throughout to highlight key content and interactive elements
The site launched just in time for April, PPAR’s Open House month. When compared to April 2016, hits during Open House month almost tripled and increased by over 6 million. Page views more than doubled, increasing by nearly 2 million. The resulting final site design was a modernized look and feel, with familiar interface patterns. The search process became more streamlined, but also allowed power users to implement more granular filtering options as needed. Versatile page layouts were created to display a variety of content pieces, along with modular design elements available throughout the site.