When Thalhimer, a commercial real estate firm that has served the mid-Atlantic region since 1913, came to us for a website redesign, we knew we had a lot to live up to. Thalhimer had recently joined forces with Cushman & Wakefield, the world's largest privately-held commercial real estate firm, and we knew our work for them had to maintain that incredible momentum. It was a challenge we were excited to take on.
Thalhimer had a website built on ExpressionEngine that was experiencing some instability. With hundreds of employees using the website on a daily basis as a resource and tool and thousands of customers engaging to find brokers, listings, and information about the company, usability was a prime factor in the redesign initiative. The new site would need to be responsive, it would need to address Thalhimer’s mobile audience on the go, and it would need to integrate with its third party property listings management system, REAPPS.
Our goal was to improve the stability of the site and give customers a better search experience.
We started by defining two main audiences (buyers and sellers,) and streamlining the property search tool to be more efficient and intuitive for their needs. Users were given more ways to browse properties and brokers and find out more information about markets. We designed custom market landing pages that offer totally new ways to explore what Thalhimer has to offer while also adding SEO value.
Rebrand and Design
Thalhimer's original branding wasn't pulling its weight, so our first order of business was creating a slick new look. This was a critical component of the project, and we spent significant time on this phase of the project to make sure we got it right. Through thoughtful design we were able to elevate the Thalhimer brand, giving it a more sophisticated and professional appeal worthy of the company's stature.
Believe it or not, getting your website's message across clearly is kind of a big deal. We made it our mission to provide a design that highlights Thalhimer's unique value proposition while offering an intuitive navigation experience. Through relational aspects of the new design, users are able to access the same information in a multitude of ways, so users with differing browsing styles can all find what they need quickly and easily.
Okay, we're about to descend into a vortex of acronyms, but bear with us:
We successfully integrated the new Drupal 7 website with the REAPPS database feed, utilizing a SOAP framework and data requests and replies with JSON over http.
What the heck does that mean? That means that Thalhimer’s great new website talks to their existing listings database and management tool. What the heck does THAT mean? Better user experience for everyone!
With the mobile audience for websites growing at an exponential rate, it was critical that the new site address the needs of smartphone and tablet users. By utilizing a flexible layout that employs device independent styling, we created a fully responsive website, giving users a great experience on a variety of devices.
Thalhimer's new website was beautiful, usable, responsive, and technologically robust, which addressed all of the needs of their sophisticated audience. That's what we call a win in the ol' website design business.