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Emerald Isle Realty

Boosting vacation rental bookings while highlighting the distinctive services of an oceanside realty icon



UX Consulting


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. I advocated for 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.

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Outcome EIR@2x.png

Defining the Problem 

One of the first things I did after observing the client’s current site was to review their large data set to understand what specific problems improved UX and UI could solve. Data included Google analytics reports, heat maps, and user reviews.

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EIR Pull Quote@2x.png

We can assume the current site’s outdated and unpolished look accounts for at least some bounce rate.

The checkout data is much clearer: Many 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.


Understanding Users

To ensure my UX solutions matched the needs of users, I segmented our audience and created personas based on data trends.

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assessing the competitive landscape

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.

Categories I compared:

  • Navigation

  • 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.

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We leaned heavily on the inclusion of features that made it easier for users to save and compare 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 collected, 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.


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