What Makes a Website COOL?

August 30, 2016
by Mac Mischke

At Threshold, the anti-vacancy agency, we know that designing a cool website is much like planning your dream home. It’s exciting! But who wants a home that wins design awards for curb appeal but doesn’t have a front door? How about a kitchen without a sink? Or a living room without windows? To be truly cool, a website has to serve many purposes, just like a home. As experts in branding and residential marketing, Threshold concentrates on attracting your future occupants by focusing on their needs before we ever begin construction. What makes a website COOL? So what are the important questions to ask?

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  • Who is your target resident/group/audience?
  • What is the top benefit you have to offer your target audience? Price? Location? Amenities?
  • Do you have property application forms, floor plans, and maps available in downloadable PDFs?
  • What categories do we need for concise navigation?
  • Do you have a strong logo, color system, and font set?
  • Are there plenty of photographs to show the beauty of the renovated pool, updated workout rooms and the layouts of the rooms?
  • Are there competitors close by that we must exceed?

Once we gather the information that answers those questions, we can establish the new web structure. What about the visual look of the site? Which style, look and feel is appropriate for your target audience? Rustic? Modern? Playful? Vibrant? Elegant? The Threshold design team will delve into the creative process using our design strategy to craft a custom and unique look. Done well, great design helps future residents see themselves living the good life at your property.

The Threshold consulting team knows that, even then, the evaluations aren’t over! We’ll scrutinize the site using important principles for successful websites:

  • Does it clearly tell the viewer who you are?
  • Is the site eye-catching and design-appropriate for your target audience? (Whether for student housing, senior living, or multifamily units)
  • Is it simple to navigate?
  • Is there a value proposition for the viewer?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Does the content change often?
  • Is it viewable on all media – i.e. responsive?*

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Speaking of viewable, an adaptable or responsive website is a must. Although Cameron Adams demonstrated it as early as 2004, in 2010, Ethan Marcotte coined the phrase “Responsive Web Design” or RWD. That means cool websites “respond” by interchanging the elements of the site so that it they are always legible on the media on which they appear: computers, laptops, iPads, monitors, and various cell phone platforms. How? We must program liquid layouts using media inquiriesLiquid layouts are when elements and images adjust their size and aspect ratio according to the size of media. Media inquiries are the set of programming rules and scripts that enables the elements on a web page to always be legible. When these strategies are applied, as you open your web window larger, the images, text, and ad banners change with you!  At Threshold, the design and development teams will program multiple layouts for every page so that you always shine.

Whether it’s a website for student housing, senior living, or a new residential development, we are your best advocate to make sure vacancies are few and far between! As THE residential marketing experts, we will create well organized, visually stunning, and responsive websites for you.