The website for Homes for Heroes is meant to serve two audiences – heroes and real estate agents – but it served neither at all well. Both user groups lacked a clear path to learn about the value of the organization; there was a barrier to entry just to get involved.
The first thing we did was simply listen to our client – a lot. They had a lot of problems with their sign-up process and lots to say about these problems. It had to have been therapeutic, especially when they sensed we could help them. Still, their experience with a previous agency made them scrutinize us initially; they wanted to make sure their mission of service resonated with us, and that we could see a clear path to help them achieve their goals. That’s what we do.
We could tell they had a lot of good ideas stored up but hadn’t visualized the online execution of their objectives, so we gave them the welcome new experience of whiteboarding screens – with us drawing their thoughts. By helping them architect what good could look like, we showed them that it doesn’t take complex software to get started, and that together we could prove the viability of their ideas through lo-fi prototypes. They appreciated that we wrote in pencil before writing in code – and that we brought them along from the start as rightful co-creators of viable solutions that better serve their people.
"Our design and development teams worked closely as the site came together to make sure designs were translated properly. We spent a lot of time getting to know the users, and what they cared about. We consulted users in journey-mapping, both current and desired. It didn’t hurt that we really liked the people we were trying to help – that served us well in designing a meaningful site for them.”
Conversions for heroes skyrocketed after relaunch and the site continues to perform well, with more agents signing on to help, and more heroes more able to afford new homes.