Lifestyle Communities – Forward-thinking tech stack at scale
Helping homeowners to downsize their house for a bigger lifestyle.
Admiring how Lifestyle Communities is making the outlook of retirement life more exciting for Australian homeowners, we got straight to work to support their ambition to spread the word in Victoria’s neighbourhoods and beyond. Giving the website a brand uplift and doing extensive audience research, we designed a more effective customer journey and updated the tech stack with a new content management system introducing Craft CMS.
“Our partnership with Honest Fox has allowed Lifestyle Communities to take an enormous evolutionary step in terms of our digital performance. We have seen a very strong improvement across all of our metrics, but most importantly we enjoy an incredibly close relationship and see Honest Fox as an extension of our team. Nothing is too much, the communication and systems the Honest Fox team use are world class and we are excited about a long partnership ahead.”
Digital Marketing Manager, Lifestyle Communities
What we did
Lifestyle Communities empowers downsizing homeowners to maintain their independence whilst living a social and active lifestyle. We kicked off the engagement with an extensive audit and customer research. We surveyed their target audience and interviewed customers to create user personas to ensure their new website spoke to the needs of their users. We also used our customer research and data to validate ideas and whether proposed features would provide a strong return on investment.
After doing user personas and mapping out the customer journey, we rolled up our sleeves to build out the new website sitemap and wireframes. These helped the Lifestyle Communities team to see what our proposed designs would look like in action. In addition, they streamlined development efforts and ensured we had a system of modules that we could scale and build upon ongoing.
With the new Information Architecture, sitemap, restructured website and information in place, we also focused on a simplified user experience, including aligning Lifestyle Communities messaging and content around the communities and the specific areas they’re located within. During this phase we worked closely with our SEO expert to ensure the new content structure and information on site also aided efforts in helping Lifestyle Communities to rank higher in search engine results.
New features that supported the customer experience also made their way onto the website: we developed interactive maps, implemented customer reviews and stories, added gated content, refined their chat experience, designed a new filtering system, and created a tool that helps customers find homes and communities based on postcode.
Our UI design team built upon the outputs from the UX design phase and brought them to life in a design format that suits the website as well as aligning and uplifting the Lifestyle Communities’ digital branding with their above-the-line campaigns and vision. The UI design team focused heavily on the audience needs and accessibility standards, for example using colours and font sizes that support how an older audience navigates through the website.
Creating mood boards and high-fidelity prototypes was a great way to test the designs and showcasing them to key stakeholders before commencing development. Since we introduced new modular design elements, we also put together a digital style guide – an add-on of the print style guide – that includes an icon suite, expanded colour palette, new font pairings and more. This made it easy for the Lifestyle Communities team to keep their branding aligned throughout all their online and offline activities.
One of the main challenges our developers resolved was switching out the previous content management system to a more suitable one for the Lifestyle Communities team: Craft CMS.
Lifestyle Communities has a unique offering and is not a traditional real estate business which means their tech stack also needs to have room for custom elements and features tailored to the downsizing community. Choosing Craft allowed us to create bespoke website experiences with easier content management, including for various types of automated content that is integrated with other platforms such as Salesforce. Craft is a very user-friendly content management system that empowers content managers to create new content, handle assets and build enjoyable user experiences for the audience.
We built a custom API using services from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to act as the data navigator between the CRM and the CMS. Let’s explain this in a bit more detail!
The previous CRM didn’t tick all the boxes that Lifestyle Communities needed for their purpose, so we knew a more flexible platform such as Salesforce would make a big difference and work better for their needs. In order to make it easier to switch from one CRM to another, we focused on building an API that accommodates the needed flexibility. We developed the API in a way that matched well with the website and Craft CMS. The custom API is an all-in-one solution to capture leads data that comes from various sources – for example through paid advertising, landing pages or web forms – in the CRM. And it also pulls through data from the CRM, like community data, into the CMS.
Together with Aware Services, we worked on a Salesforce integration to help shape the setup for the internal teams, customising access details or features and extending the CRM for future functionality.
Hosting the website on cloud-based AWS servers and managing assets in AWS also offloads the risk of exhausting the website’s hosting capacity, it’s up-and-running all the time – a very forward-thinking and scalable solution for Lifestyle Communities!