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Website design inspiration from the developer world

Web design inspiration

Recently, we brought you positive and negative examples of real estate websites to encourage readers to think outside of the box when it comes to your own real estate website. We talked primarily about architects and builders and today highlight a developer website that caught our eye as inspirational and creative.

The image above is from the Union Station Neighborhood website. This JV project between Continuum Partners and East West Partners in Denver and their website is very well done from start to finish.

Staying competitive online

Even if you already have a blog or website, it might be time to upgrade to stay competitive. If you don’t have a site, we encourage you to do a lot of homework before investing (and please do invest, a free template absolutely will not cut it in today’s web world).

As we said in June, “Many Realtors are currently in the market for a new website or blog and because real estate is a time intensive career, many don’t have time to research trends or be experts in usability, color trends, modern features and the like, and therefore fall back on the least expensive template design they can find on Google and hope the phone will ring. Obviously, this is tantamount to putting hot pink flyers that say “I’m a Realtor and junk, call me and stuff 813-555-RLTR” on car windows at the mall. Can you say marketing fail? A hot pink flyer on a hood is just as obnoxious as a website that looks like MeeMaw and the crew put it together on Geocities circa 1997.”

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Looking at other Realtors’ sites won’t help you because the majority (and yes, there are some exceptions) have MeeMaw sites and templates.

What you can learn from the Union Station website:

There are four concise lessons or points of inspiration for you to glean from the well designed site.

First, the layout is minimalist and intuitive. There aren’t a trillion links to navigate, the developers’ faces aren’t splashed all over the place and people can figure the site out, even if they don’t know much about the web. The slider in the front is very well designed.

Second, the design is modern and aesthetically pleasing. There are no primary colors relied upon, they don’t stick to the traditional left sidebar, nor traditional fonts. In fact, their font package is one of the most attractive design features. Their images are all high resolution and edited rather than simply chosen from a stock photography website and slapped up (seriously, you know what I’m talking about- the happy white couple hugging in front of a white picket fence and American flag?).

Third, the copy is professionally done and is very exciting, but not in the generic “you’ll love this neighborhood” way. Sample landing page copy: “the heartbeat of the neighborhood will come from more than just the station and the buildings that surround it. Energy will flow between the streets, sidewalks, stations and parks, creating a place where people will gravitate, connect and want to be.” Love it.

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Fourth, the site is very fast to load and there is no music. Many Realtor, builder and developer sites have cheesy music which can cause visitors to instantly leave. Despite interactive features, the site loads faster than even most Realtor sites. Recent studies show that load time impacts a user’s experience.

Now that you have some basic things to look out for as you seek inspiration for your own site, we encourage you to do your homework so you can get the most for your money.

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Sarah Baker

    July 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for this article. I will be sharing it with my clients. I can't seem to get through to some people that the cheesy music, horrible primary colors, and blah-ness is turning people away from their site instead of to it.

    Thanks for another great article!

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