When looking at the landscape of rental property sites in 2012, the main options were Craigslist and Kijiji. On top of those, there were other paid options that claimed to showcase properties better. However, all of these sites fell short in the experience they created for users.
This might be alright for the average rental, but managers of premium and executive rental properties had a problem showcasing what made their listings beautiful and unique. This meant they often had to undercharge because the listings didn’t look as inviting as they hoped. At the time, most of the rental sites were not responsive so potential renters could not view listings on the go.
The challenge was to design a site that would allow property managers to showcase premium properties in a more engaging way, and get more value out of each rental unit.
The opportunity was to create a site that catered to the premium and executive rentals segment of the market. We would showcase these unique listings, their amenities and features in a way that would allow managers to get full value for them.
There was also an opportunity to improve the experience of finding rentals. A simple to use, visually striking site would make the process of finding a rental more intuitive and fun.
Viva Liva would set itself apart by focusing on key areas of the user experience that were lacking from competitors’ sites.
These features were:
- Mobile optimization. It was a high priority to make the site responsive because in 2012, up to 70% of Canadians were using mobile devices.
- Search by map. It’s crazy to think that such a logical feature was not implemented across all rental sites at the time. We knew that location is king, so our map would allow users to visually search for rentals in their desired neighbourhoods.
- Beautiful property pages. This was the pain point for our premium property managers, so we had to create beautiful pages that allowed them to showcase their properties.
- Simple backend for creating and managing listings. Property managers are creating and managing dozens of properties every month. We wanted a backend system that would allow for fast listings creation and the ability to toggle listings on and off, rather than deleting and creating a new listing every time (which is how it worked on other sites).
Viva Liva is now used in the Vancouver area to showcase an average of 100 listings per month. Though that may not sound like much compared to Craigslist, all the listings are in the premium category with monthly rental prices up to $20,000.
Viva Liva also ranks on the first or second Google Search page for key terms like “Vancouver Rentals” and “Vancouver Apartments”.
Justin Tan, Josh Zak
Digital Strategy, User Experience, Interface Design
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