Tricar is one of Southwestern Ontario’s largest and most eminent real estate development companies. The company specializes in building premium high-rise towers, offering both rentals and condominiums to a residential market. A history spanning over three decades, Tricar has built over 30 residential buildings, creating a construction total of over 7,000 units.
Entering another decade with a website that was over a half-decade old, the company wanted to modernize its most important digital asset and make it easier for potential renters and condominium prospective buyers to more easily find the information they desired.
There are several subtleties that go into the development a real estate builder’s website. Some include:
tbk approached the website with these prevailing considerations in mind:
Out of any area on a typical website, a website’s primary menu navigation receives the most activity. The main menu navigation is a like port—a jumping off point if you will—for a user to commence, or continue, their promenade through a website.
On desktop devices tbk chose a top menu navigation, and no matter the device, centred the company’s logo (a modernized logo that tbk built with Tricar in 2019). Further, on desktops, we made the strategic decision to put the company’s product-oriented links in the top left; its ancillary—but still important—links in the top right; and all links, acting in effect like a site map, in the footer of the website.
In the first image below (on desktops, the screenshot on the left), you can see the menu navigation of the previous website. In the second image (on desktops, the screenshot on the right) you can see the modernly minted main menu navigation, the grounding of the corporate logo in the middle for punctuation (centring the Tricar logo works especially well because its emblem is an inverted triangle), providing product-oriented links in the top-left and ancillary links in the top-right:
On mobile we inverted the menu navigation. Mobile devices, such as an iPhone 11 Pro Max, have physically increased screen sizes which makes it impractical for most users to reach their thumbs to the top of a website’s browser on the device screen to access a menu navigation without having to use a second hand.
The mobile sized screenshots below depict the menu navigation being sleekly rendered to the bottom of the website, the logo steadfastly centred, their Communities link still on the left, and other links accessible via a hamburger menu navigation on the right.
Tricar offers both apartments for rent and condominiums for sale. Ranking well on major search engines like Google is a major source of traffic for both of these customer segments.
tbk deployed a thoughtful approach to Onsite SEO. On too many web development projects in the sector, SEO begins too late—often in Alpha or Beta stages. At tbk, SEO begins in the Discovery stage; coming before content development and graphic design. This cadence has SEO not be a practice that occurs right before a website launches, but instead, SEO is fundamental to informing a website development strategy, including the site’s architecture and major UI/UX decisions.
Builders may be developing towers and communities across an entire region, however, consumers when shopping for a home usually have a narrow area in mind that they wish to live.
Between condominiums for sale and apartments for rent, at the time of the website development project, Tricar had 19 buildings under purview, information for all of them needing to be displayed in an artful and functional way on the website. A number this size—nineteen—created an aspirational challenge during the project: How to best organize these communities in a way that they are easy for users to find and sift through, while not have the website feel too burdened with content.
The screen capture video above demonstrates a search tool that tbk built using a stack of Angular, WordPress, Custom API, Bootstrap and Less.js. This robust yet simple tool poignantly provides the search results that users are seeking. The construction of the tool includes the ability to filter:
Perhaps the most intrepid part of this project was to successfully develop a building/community module that would, not only replace the need for Tricar to have individual microsites to represent their buildings but to do so in such a way that these new inner website pages would contain better UI/UX attributes and functionality than most standalone microsites in the sector.
To reach this apotheosis, much planning and time went into understanding the desires of home shoppers when they are on a builder’s website. Much like many of the world’s largest e-commerce retailers, we constructed an intra-website building/community module so that a user can acquire all the information they need regarding a community without leaving the page they are on. The client can now use this module to easily build out additional community pages that are unique in branding, handpicking which submodules to include, all within their WordPress content management website.
In this community subpage module, a plethora of crucial items to support consumers with one of their largest lifetime purchases, were imagined and stitched together with care:
The approach to the new Tricar website was uncompromising from custom designing its menu navigation on varying screen sizes; to overcoming the dilemma of organizing its many managed communities through adroit search and filter functionality; to inventing a module that brings all their community pages under the demarcation of their website, without not only sacrificing creativity and functionality, but enhancing it. The new Tricar website gives home seekers intuitive simplicity and enjoyment as they search for the next place to call home.
“The tbk team was extremely thorough in getting to know us, our business and from there, really putting their collective minds together to design and analyze the new website to ensure the user experience was optimal. In my work experience, I have generally found website projects to be extremely daunting and difficult to track the development progress and revisions. The tbk process was seamless with efficient tools to mark up comments on the staging site, a ticket system to track a lengthy list of coinciding changes, ensuring that all edits were captured. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the team and their professionalism from start to finish.”