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ROLE

UX Design, UI Design, Email Design, Brand Marketing Design

TEAM

PM: Kara Robinson, Fabrizio Giordano
Tech Lead: Ross Packard, Lee Byrd
PR & Comms: Lauren Reifflin
Brand Marketing: Andrea Mazandi
SEO: Tanvir Latif
Branding: Red Antler

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Problem

Searching for, finding, and landing a home in the Hamptons has been made difficult by outdated tools and national real estate sites that can't embrace the hyper-local nuances of the marketplace. How can we build a platform that makes this process as seamless as possible and helps get people into their dream home?

Identifying our Users

Identifying our Users

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User_2
User_3
THE HAMPTONS EXPERT

Actively looking to buy a new home. He has bought and sold in the Hamptons before, and is familiar with what makes each town unique.

THE SUMMER RENTER

Based in NYC, hoping to rent with friends this season. She has minimal Hamptons experience and is flexible with location. Looking for the right price and amenities.

THE DREAMER

Just seeing what's out there, hoping to be able to afford a Hamptons home soon. She's interested in market trends and up-and-coming areas.

Audit of Existing Platform (HREO)

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HREO - Homepage

TWO DECADES AS THE DEFACTO PORTAL

It was obvious that the HREO site had become outdated over the years and was not designed with UI/UX best practices of today. Confusing information architecture, lack of typographic hierarchy, small photos, and clunky search functionality all made the process difficult for users. The site also needed a modern visual update.

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HREO - Search Results Page

HREO_HDP

HREO - Home Detail Page

Competitive Analysis

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Zillow

AppIcon_Airbnb

Airbnb

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Compass

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Opendoor

AppIcon_VRBO

VRBO

AppIcon_Trulia

Trulia

AppIcon_Homeaway

Homeaway

AppIcon_Redfin

Redfin

OPPORTUNITY FOR A LOCAL MARKETPLACE
  • No one in the space catered to the nuances of Hamptons real estate. There was an opportunity for a platform that understood the hyper-local market, the same way our sister brand StreetEasy had in New York City.

  • For rentals, national sites like Zillow displayed "price per month". In the Hamptons, however, most rentals are from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The prices advertised on national sites sites were either incorrect or confusing to Hamptons clients, who are mostly looking for long-term rentals in the summer months.

  • Many sites provided inspiration for great search and find UI/UX, but no other sites had searches like “South of the Highway” or “Oceanfront”. These can be deal breakers for home shoppers out east.

Product Vision

Create a platform where people looking to buy or rent a home in the Hamptons can seamlessly browse a complete aggregate of properties on the market, search based on criteria that matters to them, and land their dream home with confidence.

Prioritizing Home Shopper Needs

We began talking to HREO users and stakeholders to gauge what is most important to them when searching. Some key findings were:

  • After location, price, and bed count, the most commonly used search filters were “pools” and “central A.C.” for renters, and “waterfront” and “south of the highway” for buyers.

  • Among a majority of users, price, location, and photos were the most important factors in whether or not they decided to contact an agent.

User Journey & Wireframe Samples

Our timeline to launch was fast, so we leveraged existing research from other Zillow Group brands, and decided to use a structure that would be familiar to users for the first iteration. Once our goals became clear, I began sketching and wireframing potential flows and layouts for each page.

Core Flow (Hamptons Expert)

Out East – Core Flow@2x (2)
HOME DETAIL PAGE LAYOUTS

Variations of each page were designed and validated with user testing and stakeholders. Below is a sample of some early wireframe concepts for the Home Details Page.

HDP_Wire_1

Photos on top, actions fixed on scroll
✅ Key actions always accessible
❌ Photos not always visible
❌ Fixing half the page gives too little room for info

HDP_Wire_2

Main photo first, info and actions fixed on scroll
✅ Key actions always accessible
❌ Photos not always visible
❌ Hard to get a feel for the home with one photo

HDP_Wire_3

Photo and thumbnails fixed, actions fixed on scroll
✅ Photos always visible
❌ Vertical layout will show unintended crop for most photos
❌ Scrolling up and down through the photo carousel caused confusion

HDP_Wire_4
HDP_Wire_5

Photo carousel and thumbnails fixed, actions fixed on scroll
✅ Key actions always accessible
✅ Photos always visible and easy to expand
✅ Layout scales responsively and accommodates most common aspect ratio

Solution

Aspirational imagery and a simple search form greets the user on the homepage. The search results page allows for filters catering to the Hamptons local nuances. On the home details page, photos lead the experience and are always visible.

Homepage

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HP_Mobile

Search Results Page

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Mobile SRP – On Idle
Mobile SRP – Map View
Mobile SRP – Filters – Locked Bottom

Home Details Page

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Mobile SALE – Pre-Scroll
STICKY BAR – Sale
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Post-Launch Updates: Search Results Page

WHAT WE FOUND

In our first iteration, we thought because of the shape of Long Island, a horizontal map would be a differentiator for the site. In qualitative user testing, however, many users expressed frustration with the amount of vertical space the horizontal map took up, even after condensing on scroll.

HOW WE FIXED IT

After testing, we knew that many users browse via map, and that most users search with a granularity that actually makes the horizontal map less useful. We launched a new Search Results Page with a fixed map that users preferred.

SRP_MapUpdate_Comp

Post-Launch Updates: Agent Details Page

WHAT WE FOUND

When speaking to users, some told us they felt confused about who exactly they were contacting and wanted more information. At the same time, our agent partners expressed interest in letting clients and potential clients know their areas of expertise and deal history.

HOW WE FIXED IT

The Agent Detail Page gives more context for home shoppers about the agents they can work with and why they should. The page is also a way to generate more leads for the agents with another point of contact and full catalog of their listings.

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Brand Marketing Sample

In my role at Out East, I've owned all aspects of design for the brand. This has included designing various collateral for marketing campaigns, events, gifts, and out of home experiences, as well as art directing freelance designers and illustrators.

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Results

Site traffic is 6x that of HREO YoY. 7% of users who see a rental listings take an action on it (save, share, or contact). Conversion rates are above industry averages and other ZG brands. Out East has become the #1 web-based source of rental leads to agents in the Hamptons.