- The Tricar Group
- “Construction” & “Home Building”
Tricar is one of Southwestern Ontario’s largest real estate development companies. The company specializes in building premiere high-rise buildings, offering both rentals and condominiums to residents. Across three decades, Tricar has built over 30 residential buildings, totalling over 7,000 units.
Entering a new decade and with a 5+ year old website, the company wanted to modernize its most important digital asset and make it easier for potential renters and condominium prospects to more easily find the information they desired.
Understanding the Nuances of a Home Builder Website
There are several subtleties that go into the development of a real estate builder’s website. Some include:
- Demarcating Buyers – How to seamlessly separate apartments for rent versus condominiums for sale.
- Functional Search – Properly and effectively providing search functionality to enable users to find a property in their desired city of district.
- Displaying Communities/Buildings – Showcasing communities in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye. These are big purchases and every sale counts.
- Microsites vs. A Corporate Website – A manifold of builders over the years have resorted to building individual microsites to showcase their individual communities. Ostensibly, groups have done this because they had more flexibility over the creative elements if their website was built from a pre-designed theme that didn’t allow for major departures. The downside to this approach is first, a brand is constantly sending all their users away from their main domain each year; and second, not having all this rich content will dilute the main corporate website from having more web authority, and hence ranking better, on major search engines like Google.
tbk approached the website with these predominant considerations in mind:
- Modernize the main menu navigation (a website’s most visually visited area)
- Facilitate and write content for best SEO
- Build state-of-the-art search functionality
- Custom-build a robust community module, removing the need for microsites for each community
I) Modernize the main menu navigation
Aside from a logo on the top of a website, a website’s main menu navigation is the most popular area of a website visually. The main menu navigation is a like port—a jumping off point if you will—for a user to commence their journey throughout a website.
tbk chose a top menu navigation, centring the company’s new logo (the logo tbk also built in 2019) and 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 as a site map, in the footer of the website.
In this image you can see the menu navigation on the previous website (with previous logo):
In the screenshot of the new website, you can see the newly constructed main menu navigation following a strategy of grounding the corporate logo in the middle (works well with their inverted triangle icon), providing product-oriented links in the top-left and ancillary links in the top-right:
On mobile we inverted this approach but stayed true to the principles. 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 on the screen to access a menu navigation without having to use two hands to do it.
The mobile 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 their ancillary links accessible via a hamburger menu navigation in the bottom right.
II) Content writing for SEO
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 consumer segements (i.e., renters and buyers) seeking their next home.
tbk deployed a vivid and diligent approach to onsite SEO. On too many web development projects in the industry, SEO begins too late (often in Alpha and Beta). At tbk, SEO begins in the discovery stage and especially prior to content and design. This cadence uses SEO as an important factor to inform UI/UX and content-writing decisions for best results.
Below is an overview that captures the rigour that tbk practices in implementing SEO into its websites:
III) State of the Art Search Functionality
Residential builders may be developing buildings and communities across an entire region, however, consumers when shopping for a home usually have a specific district within a city in which they wish to live.
Between condominiums for sale and buildings for rent, Tricar has 19 buildings that it is currently under their tutelage. This creates an artful and technical hurdle: it’s crucial to have pertinent information about these properties available on the website but to organize it so that it is easy for users to find.
The video above illustrates a search tool tbk built using a stack of Angular, WordPress, Custom API, Bootstrap and Less.js. This robust yet simple tool poignantly provides the search results users are seeking. The construct of the tool includes the ability to filter:
- Purchase Type – Condo or Apartments
- The stage of the build – Now, Coming Soon, Past
- Geographic Areas
IV) Robust Building / Community Pages
Perhaps the most gallant feat 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 intra-website pages would contain better UI/UX attributes and functionality than most standalone microsites in the sector.
To reach this apogee, much planning and time was needed to go into understanding the desires of consumers when they are on a home builder’s website and seeking a potential residential unit to buy or rent. Much like major retailers like Amazon.com who have found a way to provide all the information regarding a product on the same product page, we constructed an intra-website building/community module so that a user can acquire all the information they need regarding a building without ever 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, opt-ing to include some modules, perhaps hiding others, all within their WordPress content management system.
In the video below you can experience the community module in use:
A manifold of items, all crucial to consumers who are preparing to make one of their biggest lifetime purchases, are stitched into each building page:
- The building’s address
- Sales representative contact information
- A link to the location on Google Maps
- Summarized textual information on the property (also good for SEO)
- Galleries not only of the building and suites but also showcasing local amenities
- A chock-full listing of features on the building and substrate units
- Floorplans accessed through a menu-toggling feature
- Information on amenities categorized via a menu-toggling feature
- An embedded map of the location and surroundings
- Information on how to register for the company’s email list to stay better up-to-date on the building and other offerings
Moreover, in the carousel below and as an example, you’ll see that in how these three community pages (of 19) were architected, they can be branded lucidly to the specific building property.
“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.”
Jen Grozelle, Manager, Marketing & Media, The Tricar Group
From a multitude of angles, this corporate website is exceptional. From its thoughtful mobile-first approach, to customized Sketch design files for world class UI/UX, to bleeding edge development of a search functionality module, to the ambitious and arduous development of voluminous detailed-oriented building/community pages, and the diligent implementation of SEO, this website hits the mark for Tricar and lets this great company continue to serve their important customer base.
Contact tbk if you wish to Book a Call to discuss a project.