Website Design & Development

Strata 2022

The brief

The aim of the project was to refresh the existing Strata website and deliver a fresh look and feel that re-positions Strata as a leading builder of contemporary new homes. The key performance indicators for the new website include the quantity of online plot reservations generated, the number of appointment bookings taken across the collection of developments and the volume of online enquiries. 

What we did

We designed, developed and delivered a user friendly, contemporary new website that drives success.

Visit the website

A contemporary aesthetic 

When approaching the redesign of the Strata website, the design team explored a variety of approaches in regards to the layout and UX of the site. Key things that needed to be established in the new site were: 
  • A clean, simple, and effective look and feel that reflects the beautifully modern, contemporary aesthetic of Strata Homes 
  • Space to accommodate large scale imagery and rich media, placing this as a focal point throughout the site
  • A welcoming, personal feeling when landing on the site, allowing users to find their dream home easily and effectively
Strata - Kitchen Room Image

Improved accessability and readability

The design team chose to invert the site from its previous aesthetic and introduce an off-black dark theme throughout. By doing this, all imagery and rich media that is present had a greater opportunity to really stand out and be visually impactful the minute a user lands on the site. 
It was decided that the previously existing Serif font should be updated with a new site font - Aktiv Grotesk, which was used for both headers and body copy. Why? Well, from an aesthetic and accessibility point of view, Aktiv Grotesk can be used across a wide range of sizes and still maintain a high level of readability whilst giving the site a very clean, modern, and contemporary aesthetic. 

Introducing animation

Another aesthetic element that the designers wanted to factor into the new site was the addition of animation. The parameters of the animations needed to be simple and subtle but effective to avoid overtaking any on-page media or causing a distracting or ineffective experience for the user. Animation also allowed us to expand on crucial elements of the user journey such as the Homepage Header call-to-action. By posing the question “What’s important to you?” and then having different potential results “type” out underneath, it entices the user even more to click “Find a home” and begin the search for their dream home. It also allowed us to add a level of engagement and bring further emphasis to the performance metrics and running costs of the individual Homes by utilising an animated infographic style. 

Getting started with ASP.NET Core

One big challenge for this project was taking on ASP.NET Core in Kentico for the first time. ASP.NET Core is the most up to date .NET framework at the time of writing and one reason for taking it on in this particular project was the increased performance benefits it offers over older framework versions, as well as security improvements and the fact that it is cross platform offers other (less visible) benefits. 

A big part of the project was assessing the existing solution we’d build up over a number of years for Strata, what worked well, what didn’t work so well, and how we could go about better architecting our solution for the long-term growth of the website. This involved various stages of specification meetings and story boarding scenarios that users of the website would be involved in. 

Increasing performance for better speed and usability

As mentioned, a big effort was made to increase the performance of this iteration of the website compared with the last. From a back-end code perspective this involved moving towards using ‘repositories’ and ‘service’ classes to funnel the retrieval of data via single channels, which allowed us to optimise retrieval and cache performance in a small number of places. From a front-end code perspective, we continued to improve our front end file optimisations, compilation and delivery, as well as improving our delivery of imagery formats, ensuring that the high resolution imagery used across the site is optimised and served in the latest generation image formats (webp in this case). 

Another aspect of the website build was improving our implementation of third-party systems into the website. For example, we previously integrated with Salesforce, pushing leads in the Salesforce platform via ‘web-to-lead' requests, whereas we now utilise Salesforce’s direct API endpoints, meaning better performance, more control and flexibility when making requests, and more visibility when debugging potential problems. 

Maximising content and supporting SEO

The existing website content was successfully mapped to the new website structure, facilitating the creation of no less than six separate content sections relevant to home buyers and Strata customers at distinct stages in the home buying journey. This process also ensured existing search ranking positions where preserved and that the new site was set up for success to build on this organic search footprint. 
As a result of this work, the new website now successfully features a selection of local area guides suitable to support home buyers at the start of their home buying journey, an advice section supports people researching home buying costs, mortgages, legal fees, and answers questions like how to reserve off plan. A selection of “My Strata Stories” and narrative around Strata’s business achievements and charity work supports the brand story and gives customers the social proof they need to make a confident home purchase with Strata. And last, but my no means least, a section of content on interior design inspiration and video content to help home buyers make their new house, a contemporary new home. 
Given the key performance indicators noted in the brief and the addition of more downloadable content, the marketing team were also responsible for ensuring all these core conversions and micro-interactions were successfully monitored and tracked through Google Tag Manager and presented as goals, events, and conversion funnels in Google Analytics. This allows the internal team at Strata to measure and understand the performance of the new site compared to the old one and continue their week-on-week reporting without disruption quickly and easily.