Team Q&A: Homluv Digital UX Design & Creative Strategy
Rocksauce Creative Director, Chris Lindenmayer, and Senior UX and Ideation Lead, John Gholson, recently shared their strategy in collaborating with our client Homluv, to update their website and UX design.
Homluv wanted to stand out among the myriad of home buying sites that sold homes from the outside in. Rocksauce helped Homluv focus on the experience and provide homebuyers a vision of what life would be like living inside the walls of their new homes. Appealing to the emotional side of home buying and guiding homebuyers to make connections with their prospective homes, Homluv did away with stark, inefficient ways of home buying.
By allowing new homebuyers to select design features of their new homes and making those choices so simple to share with home builders and designers, Homluv effectively gives homebuyers control over their new home experience. With Homluv, there is no “settling,” because homebuyers can convey their preferences directly.
Read on to find out how our Rocksauce team, under Chris and John’s leadership, created Homluv’s website and user experience with a determined focus on Homluv’s goals and UX design.
Homluv Digital Creative Direction and Strategy
Rocksauce creative director, Chris Lindenmayer talks about the creative direction and strategy behind Homluv.
What industry is Homluv in, and how does the company stand out within that industry?
Homluv is in the business of new home construction, but with the concept of from-the-inside-out, enabling homebuyers to visualize themselves living in the space. Typically, buyers go into a design center and then pick out their cabinets, flooring, etc. and sign off. Homluv digitizes that experience. It’s a way for the homebuyer to be able to select their preferences online before buying, keep them all in one place, and easily take them to a designer.
Which of your buyer personas did Homluv target?
New home buyers. Originally, we thought Homluv would be for the dreamer who imagines themselves living somewhere else, but at the end of the day, we want users to purchase homes.
What creative challenges or pain points did Homluv require you to address?
Initially, Homluv’s website, their main product, only listed exterior home pictures, similar to Zillow. It was very straightforward but didn’t focus on the emotional appeal of homebuying. Homluv is now much more focused on the lifestyle of a potential homebuyer, bringing that day-to-day reality into clearer focus for them. Their website allows homebuyers to envision themselves actually inhabiting those spaces, watching TV in the living room, cooking in the kitchen, entertaining guests, and so on. Homeluv helps homebuyers think about questions like:
- How will I feel living in this home?
- What kind of stuff do I want and need in the kitchen?
- What kind of cabinet doors and flooring do I want?
- How should the master bedroom be laid out?
There are so many decisions a homebuyer has to make. Homluv provides a way to focus those decisions by allowing homebuyers to create a mood board of sorts. Homluv’s unique website experience also helps the homebuyer discover what design options are available so they can start defining their preferences.
Homluv is also about finding a community you like. Some homebuyers are more interested in proximity to their work or schools for their children. Others may be interested in having a public park, shopping center, or walking trail in their community. Everyone has their ideal wish list, and Homeluv helps them hone in on exactly where they want to be. With Homluv, a homebuyer can decide what’s ultimately important to them, then pick a plan and a lot and build a home accordingly.
How did you approach the challenge?
First, our UX Design team got together to brainstorm and outline all the features we knew Homluv’s website should have. Then we tested a lot of different designs and ideas. At one point we were trying to make Homluv more educational. However, since the core function of the product is to be able to gather info into a bucket and organize it, we focused on creating a way to do so.
We were challenged to find a way to serve up better results to the homebuyer vs. merely giving them a database. We asked ourselves the following questions to help us meet this goal:
- How do we gamify this experience to make it easier and not overwhelming?
- How do we make the process of gathering home inspiration fun?
- Who is the real target audience
As a result, we focused very specifically on the new homebuyer. It’s about selling a house for us. For the consumer, we aim to educate and inspire. At the end of the day, they are getting options they can purchase.
If homebuyers enjoy the Pinterest experience of going down creative and visual rabbit holes, they will enjoy navigating the Homeluv website. Instead of merely wasting time, though, the end results are tangible houses. Selecting their ideal home preferences make the experience more satisfying for the buyer.
Find a home, choose your matches. It’s not entirely unlike a dating app for houses. Through a process of searching, selecting, and eliminating choices, the homebuyers create their perfect home that is a true match for their lifestyles and families
What benefits should your client see because of your work over time?
They should see better SEO results, better retention rates, and increased sales.
Digital UX Design & Ideation Strategy Homluv UX Design
John Gholson, head of UX & ideation at Rocksauce talks all things UX & Ideation.
From a UX perspective, what were some of Homluv’s challenges?
The home market sells from the outside in. Why aren’t more homes sold from the inside out? The exterior should be secondary. We wanted potential homebuyers to imagine themselves living in the house, which creates a greater emotional connection. This makes the home buying process more inviting and warm.
User-entered tags allow our team to get really granular and smarter about what photos to serve up to each potential homebuyer. “You like this? Cool, we’ll give you more options like that.”
How did you use UX Design & Ideation to approach the challenge?
The results needed to be smarter and needed a way to tell people that loving a photo does more than saving a photo. The website needed to show the user that when they love a photo, they are building a list of things they love. We had to make this more transparent for the user. Loved photos go to the left-hand sidebar and pull tags.
The main idea came from inspiration boards, something the users could take directly to the home builder and designer. We worked to create something that illustrated for the homeowners that “This is what I want in my home, exactly what I want.” That is the left-hand sidebar, conveniently saved in one place to make it easy to share.
Did you solve Homluv’s stated problem or accomplish their objectives?
In our most recent UX tests of Homluv’s updated platform, we received enthusiastic feedback on the user experience. Homeluv loves that their whole concept, system, and user experience is not like everyone else. In fact, the user experience results were quite positive:
- 100% said they would use it to replace some of the current sites they use.
- 100% had a positive impression of the website.
- 100% understood the overall concept