Shortly following the initial assessment of the Classified brands, I began to make a (huge) list of all of our areas of opportunity. These wins ranged from small changes I could make in a back-end system to cultural changes that would have to take place in realms larger than my own.
Taking that list of improvements, I started prototyping both on paper and in Illustrator (admittedly, my favorite of all Adobe products).
Some of the elements shown on these initial prototypes have since been adopted and others still remain pie-in-the-sky-perfect-world ideals that could one day be incorporated into the design and functionality of the products.
For example, on the main page prototype, a left sidebar was included to allow the user to move between all verticals on a whim depending on what they were looking for. This implies a common database housing all data with parent-child relationships siphoning out information on a more granular level as the user narrows down what they’re seeking.
On the JSHomes page, the use of images of listings has been incorporated to break up the page and draw the user in visually if they’re just causally browsing open houses and new property for sale in the area.
In the print realm, some of the ideas were discussed at length when the design changed in 2013. The sneakiest one, that users have a hard time seeing at first-glance is that we eventually moved from a 10-column format to a 6-column format.
Meaning: you can now read the classifieds without a magnifying glass.
It’s crucial to make these designs and lists at the beginning of a project and return to them from time to time because it helps keep imagination fresh, it helps jog memory from before you were ever told ‘No, can’t do that. It’s impossible,’ and it reminds you that yes, there was a time before the right now.
As Jony Ive once said, the best design is design you don’t notice.