Zeman Homes


Written by GravityFree
onWednesday, February 22nd, 2017
in Case Studies

A Home for Everyone

Specializing in affordable housing since the early 1980s, Zeman Homes has seen a sizable boost in recent years as such properties have grown more desirable and less available. With an under-utilized property management machine already running behind the scenes and a big increase in public interest, the time was ripe for a full redesign of their aging web presence. Using a largely-monochromatic color scheme, a versatile typeface, plenty of white space and a few key photos, GravityFree effectively transformed their online identity into a polished, competitive player in the housing industry. And we did so without losing the warm, approachable personality that’s made them who they are today.

Laying it All on the Table

We like to draw a comparison between the home page of a website and the cover of a magazine. For a complex experience like this one, it’s important to whet visitors’ appetites and drive them to the right pages without getting too in-depth or wordy. Achieving this under the direction of an airy, rigidly organized layout can be troublesome, but it’s not impossible. In Zeman’s case, we did so with the aid of simple, line-based iconography, extra-clean typography, cleanly segmented chunks of grouped content and the occasional splash of color. A few rich, mood-setting photos make that task much easier. In just a handful of sentences and a dozen images, we’ve relayed Zeman’s core values, established the scale of their operation, featured a few favorite homes, established credibility with a real-world testimonial and spotlighted the broad range of ethnicities and age groups that typically seek this type of home. All this within two touches of the scrollbar.

Drop a Pin on the Map

One of Zeman’s biggest strengths is the breadth of information already available regarding their regional footprint; communities and homes. Working alongside an existing vendor, we were able to customize and leverage that information to instantly enrich the new site with maps, site photos, measurements and pricing details important to the prospective home buyer. The hardest work was already done – gathering and importing this raw information – but it wasn’t optimized for easy consumption. Well, that’s one of our specialties. With a little elbow grease and a touch of technological know-how, our experts reshaped this untreated glut of content into a smooth, professional presentation. There’s even a friendly PDF export feature, so curious shoppers can print their favorites before heading out to the open house.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

An often-overlooked aspect of the home-buying experience lies outside the confines of the structure itself. Each neighborhood and community has a distinct flavor and character all its own, and often that can be just as important in making a final decision as the size and shape of the house. Zeman understands this need and so do we, proudly featuring it in several instances around the site. Before you get down to the individual properties, browse the map for a neighborhood that’s closest to a favorite park or chosen school. Grow to understand the community with tailored write-ups and photos depicting the area and its amenities. Of course, nothing can compensate for an in-person visit to the area, but this might just be the next-best thing.

Browse From Inside Your Old Home or Outside Your New One

As with all of our current sites, Zeman Homes is designed with a persistently responsive design philosophy in mind. What that means, simply, is that it does more than just shrink the desktop site to fit a smartphone or tablet. We’ve carefully optimized the layout at several key resolutions to best prioritize and capitalize upon the unique quirks, benefits and limitations of every potential screen size. Through the use of innovative new markup techniques, we’re able to pull smaller images to fit smaller screens, so we aren’t killing a user’s monthly data plan with one jumbo-sized graphic. Text blocks grow more focused and concise. SVG icons and custom webfonts ensure the text and graphics look great on every screen… and will continue to do so regardless of the shapes, sizes and resolutions Apple and Google decide to introduce in next year’s models.

All This and More

We’ve barely even scratched the surface of what’s available with this site. From subtle nuances like a minimal navigation bar, married to the top of your browser window, to heftier features like a referral program, resident portal, exclusive online promotions and career applications, there’s far more than just housing details on the new ZemanHomes.com. But as always, don’t take our word for it. Check it out for yourself, and don’t be afraid to chime in if you have any feedback!