Approach & Discovery
Southbridge is a co-op housing development. So we worked directly with people who lived in the development, knew the community, and appreciated the history. They needed a feature set that would serve them well into the future.
We began our discovery phase by interviewing board members and the management committee. Their old website was text heavy and used an outdated code stack and CMS.
They needed a new website that could be a destination for residents to access every service they needed, and a marketing tool for Southbridge to promote their development to the public and real estate brokers.
The management office was stuck keeping track resident data through a spreadsheet. We created a robust CMS that pulled data from a .csv and used that to authenticate new users.
Early on, we created a flow chart to illustrate the new way management would verify users. This shows secure and simple methods of how our new CMS would transition their residents onto a new system.
User research was essential to this project. We learned users wanted one easy place to keep up on community events, pay rent, and request maintenance services. Separate from the public marketing page, we designed a resident portal where users could do all of that.
Moodboards were the first phase of the visual design. This allowed the client to understand what we were trying to accomplish visually, without going through multiple rounds of full mockups. With the client choosing elements they liked from the moodboards, we had a gameplan to move into full website mockups.
It was important to design a clean and clear interface that allowed users to perform their tasks quickly without being distracted by large amounts of text or marketing. That's why we chose a simple color palette that used contrasting colors to bring attention to the most important elements on the page, like the current day, filters, or active page.
Southbridge wanted a robust calendar and bulletin board to keep members of the development in the know and active with their neighbors. The bulletin board shifted what used to be advertised on paper to a modern forum where residents could post things for sale and inquire about various services. The goal was to make the resident portal a simple and frictionless experience so that residents could be more connected and informed.
Mobile was important in order to give residents efficient ways to pay their rent, request maintenance, and contact management. Their old website wasn't mobile optimized, so we surveyed users and the majority of them expected to use their phone to access all of those services.
Teiler Kwan, Janaya Reid, Allison Pallum