UniHomes, established in 2015, advertise student accommodation online, with the added USP that bills are included. Currently marketing properties in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and Sheffield, the company has aspirations to expand into more cities over the coming years. To fulfill their ambitions, they needed a website that was capable of supporting the current volume of properties, as well as one that could scale.
We started working with UniHomes back in 2016, when the firm had an existing website that was built on Joomla, a framework that now has limited community support. The website was slow and had errors; mobile responsive features had been reverse engineered; and the general code base was not of a good commercial standard.
We could see the potential that the client had, their working processes were first-class, only being let down by the website. So we broke protocol and took on the general maintenance of the site, in the hope that we would be asked to undertake a future rebuild – and that time came!
What We Did...
We started with the technical specification, using analytics and client feedback to identify the areas of the previous site that were working well. We then recommended the development of a progressive web app - one which would ooze engagement and build shareability with the transient student community. We also introduced UniHomes to Superfast South Yorkshire who loved our ideas, and that helped to attract 40% funding for the project (every little helps!).
The UX design process capitalised on the strong brand image that the firm had developed over the years. We didn’t need to check analytics to understand the device preference of the key user group (but we did anyway) and so the design was 90% focused on mobile - stripping out the usual footer and creating a full-on app like experience (but in a website).
We’ve even built-in some cool functionality that includes dynamic FOMO messaging that highlight properties that are being viewed most.
UniHomes is so much more than a property lettings site. We’ve built a streamlined portal so that landlords can upload and manage their own properties. This includes a rebuilt ‘boost’ function so landlords can pay to prioritise their listings, automatic image resizing and a reporting suite.
The content management is handled using Ascensor Liquid. Purpose built on Laravel PHP, it is super-fast thanks to its lightweight, ground-up design. UniHomes can manage everything. Liquid gives them a suite of software that they can run their client facing activities on. There are plans for future integrations with Salesforce and the online property portals, as well as the development of a bills management solution for landlords.
The great thing about progressive web apps is that you get the benefits of being discovered on the search engines, whilst utilising the in-built device technology - without the cost of a comparable native app - it’s win win win!
Performance is critical and
thanks to being able to use the device’s service workers, we can cache so much
data that page speed performance is through the roof - enhancing usability and
We’ve been providing digital marketing services to UniHomes for the past couple of years with good success, but now that our marketing team have got their hands on this PWA we can’t wait to see the growth in conversions, watch this space…