This brand overhaul and redesign made the original home exchange experience more intuitive, more flexible and, ultimately, fit for the market leader.
When HomeExchange.com approached us to pitch for the redesign of their site they brought a clear challenge: to draw a line in the sand and create the foundations of what would become the new, invigorated HomeExchange.com. Having worked with a legacy system for a long time, an overhaul was much needed and we accepted the challenge with gusto.
Refreshing the brand and web site of an established global community is not a task to be taken lightly, however, so we approached it delicately. The logo, for example, was largely left alone, but brighter, bolder colours and a modern typographic palette helped bring this highly recognisable brand into the 21st century without alienating the existing audience.
Evolving the brand, as opposed to starting from scratch, was important in order to maintain consistency during the design overhaul.
A world apart: the changes may have been small on an individual level, but overall the result is a radically different experience.
Of course, refreshing the look and feel was only a small part of HomeExchange.com's challenge. The main task at hand was to improve the user interface with new features and enhancements to existing ones, informed by user personas and scenarios created by their internal user experience team.
Each user story was prioritised and tackled in turn; from enhancing the search experience with improved filters and maps, to developing intuitive solutions for their listings, extended user profiles and messaging.
HomeExchange.com came to us with a wealth of ideas for new features and improvements to existing ones.
To make implementation easier for HomeExchange.com's team of developers we created interface modules – areas of functionality and content – that could be slotted into an array of different templates. Emphasis was put on creating a robust, global structure, and although we delivered around 25 page templates with a host of modules, our grid structure remained simple with only a few variations.
We're no strangers to working with international clients and, luckily, nor were HomeExchange.com and with their staff already spread across three continents, Skype became an invaluable communication tool.
To help aid collaboration, our scheduling approach was to create bi-monthly targets and work through the interface elements by order of priority. Every week we would all meet to discuss the deliverables at hand, amends to the previous set and preparations for the next. At the halfway stage in the design process, our front-end developers got to grips with the modules and pages that were signed off, meaning both build and design ran in tandem until the project was completed.
"Primate understood not only what we were trying to build, but also shared the whole team's passion for building an enhanced version of HomeExchange.com. They were a valuable resource, accessible and easy to work with. The level of professionalism and attention to detail they provided us with is difficult to come by."
User Experience Consultant