User Experience is a collection of all the feelings you get when you walk into your favorite clothing store, hotel, or candy shop. It relates to your website, your lobby, your curb appeal, the attitudes of your leasing staff, and everything in between.
To be effective, UX requires its designers, engineers, and architects to have a deep understanding of its users. It all begins with studying your customers, discovering what they need, and taking that information into account to construct the best possible products and services.
When designing your community’s website, you should examine the intentions of your user. Think about the goals they want to achieve by visiting your site and structure your design process around it. User goals might include scheduling a tour, applying online, or viewing your latest leasing specials.
Define User Paths
The first aspect to consider is all of the ways a user could enter your site. It could be from an organic Google search, a post from your social media account, a word-of-mouth referral, or a paid ad campaign. Whatever way a user ends up on your apartment community website, it is vital to base your design around their workflow. Now you have the opportunity to introduce specific information based on a user’s entry point, showcase the benefits of living in your apartment community, and construct clear calls-to-action to guide them through the funnel. It’s important to define what you want to present to the user and the goal you need them to reach, but don’t forget to include a few alternative paths as well. Next, create taxonomies, wireframes, sitemaps, and prototypes.
Tell a Captivating Story
In this phase, you will conceptualize the best styles, typography, iconography, photographs, and videos for your users, choosing design elements that will captivate your ideal resident. Because we live in a world filled with data and information, our attention spans are getting shorter. Visual storytelling is a powerful tool you can use to tell stories that resonate with your audience and persuade them to act.
Build the Framework for UX Success
Next, you will move into the development stage of the process where you code the site to adapt to both mobile and desktop platforms. This step is all about structuring navigation, building templates, and other technical aspects that add to the overall functionality of your website. The website will then undergo quality checks and extensive testing before it launches.
Go Live, Test, and Improve
Finally, your website will go live and people will start to visit. Here’s when you want to set up a maintenance and update plan. Consider employing heat mapping technology to observe how users interact with your website and make changes accordingly. Heat mapping is a method used to understand how users are engaging with your website. Heat maps can show you where your prospects are looking, what they are clicking on, where they are moving their mouse, and more. Basically, it is a visual presentation of user activity. Having the ability to determine how users are visually scanning and interacting with your website will provide you with insights that will improve your conversion rates drastically.
It’s important to keep your user in mind before, during, and after the lease is signed. When thinking about crafting your UX strategy, you cannot stop at the prospect stage; you need to consider each point in which your user interacts with your business. Start with the basics: appealing photos and content. Also, make sure your pricing is consistent wherever you are online. After the applicant has been approved, the job of User Experience is to make moving in as simple as possible. Once the prospect becomes a resident, you have to continue the process by allowing residents to schedule repairs, pay rent, and access their lease documents online through a secure Resident Portal.
Deliver on the promises of your branding. Whatever you’ve done to attract your ideal residents must be carried out until the day they move out: help your residents meet and grow bonds with their neighbors, inform them about events in and near your community, and provide an effortless method for residents to contact your staff when they require assistance.
Remember, User Experience extends to every touch point you have with future and existing residents.