Emerald Isle Realty
Boosting vacation rental bookings while highlighting the distinctive services of an oceanside realty icon
Photoshop, Sketch, Keynote
Personas, Wireframes, Decks
Real Estate, E-commerce
Emerald Isle Realty is a family-owned company that’s built a reputation over three generations as the trusted name for vacation rentals, special events, and real estate on the beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
I was brought in as a UX Consultant by USDM Digital, EIR’s marketing agency, to evaluate ways to update and improve their site. They knew they needed cleaner UI and usability best practices to boost underperforming vacation rental bookings and drive more traffic to other verticals beyond the limits of ongoing digital marketing tactics.
Defining the Problem
One of the first things I did after observing the client’s current site was to review their large set of data to understand what specific problems improved UX and UI could solve. Data included Google analytics reports, heat maps, and user reviews.
We can assume the current site’s outdated and unpolished look accounts for at least some bounce rate.
The checkout data is much clearer: Users who interact on the site are leaving before booking, which indicates pain points in the booking flow. We can fix that...then measure the results.
To ensure my UX solutions matched the needs of users, I segmented our audience and created personas based on data trends.
And to ensure our UI was on par with rivals, I ran a competitive analysis of family-oriented coastal vacation rental sites and compiled a presentation deck spotlighting best practices.
The categories I compared were:
- Content Hierarchy
- Wishlist/Saving Properties
- Ease of Listing Search
- Visual Design
Designing for convenience and conversions
Wireframes established the foundation for a more usable site. With mobile traffic growing rapidly on their current site, we focused on mobile-first design for the best and most consistent functionality on any device.
We leaned heavily on the inclusion of features that made it easier for users to save and compare several favorite properties as well as quickly share them with friends and family.
While my role did not include visual design, I concluded my work by preparing some recommendations based on the competitive insights I compiled, which I presented in a PDF style guide. They established the basis for a design system, including colors, typefaces, and direction for selecting images to ensure ongoing continuity.
The site is in development and will be testing soon. Rollout is set for late 2018 or early 2019.