Homes for Heroes is this month’s Designerly Award winner. It’s never easy to narrow the options to a single winner amidst all the fabulous designs on the internet. With a nod to the waning days of summer, we decided we’d turn to realty websites to find August’s site of the month.
We looked at many of the popular sites on the internet, but found a lot of them had way too much information and way too little focus. One of the things we consider as we choose a site is how functional it is for users. If there are too many elements, it loses customer engagement.
We finally settled on one site that seemed to stand out from the rest in its focus and non-cluttered design–Homes for Heroes.
Winner: Homes for Heroes
According to Forbes, housing market experts predict mortgage rates will be around 5.7% by late 2022. While the rate may not seem so high to people who once had mortgages with percentages in the teens, the higher cost of payments is putting a strain on the industry.
Real estate is hot right now for many reasons. There is a limited amount of inventory, rising prices and people wanting to get in on lower interest rates before they go up even more. With that in mind, we chose this industry for August.
Homes for Heroes stood out as one of the better designed sites. We looked at options such as Zillow, Realtor.com and many smaller brands. However, at the end of the day, the intuitive design and focus of the landing page really drew us into Homes for Heroes and kept us coming back to analyze the overall look.
What Is Homes for Heroes?
Homes for Heroes is a program that brings together real estate, mortgage and business owners to help “heroes” save money. It’s open to firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, teachers, healthcare professionals and both active and veteran military.
Their homepage states they’ve helped 55,421 heroes save a total of $102,211,254. They even guarantee savings over similar programs. The site says people save an average of $3,000 by going with their partners.
For example, a local realtor might donate part of their commission to save the person money on buying a new home or closing costs. Banks might wave part or all of their closing fees. There are many ways Homes for Heroes’ partners help first responders and military save money.
Why We Chose Them for the Award
There were so many elements to the Homes for Heroes site we appreciated on a deep, we-love-design, level. Here are just a few of the elements we appreciated and think our readers can learn from for their own design work.
Homes for Heroes stood out because there isn’t a ton of clutter on the page. When you land on their homepage, you see a navigation bar with their logo and a call to action (CTA) button that reads “Start Saving Now.”
There is a large hero photo that is a compilation of different types of heroes. Note the firefighter, nurse, soldier, teacher and police images. There is also a small chat icon. The focus of the page pushes the user to the CTA. There aren’t 90 things going on, but one main purpose.
Something we’ve noticed a lot in 2022 are the layers on websites. It is now common to have symmetrical but overlapping boxes on a page. The modern design combines with simplicity to draw the eye naturally from the hero image down to the text in the box layered slightly overlapping the image.
You can grab the attention of people when they land on your page, if you choose the right headlines. Homes for Heroes uses the opportunity to add a headline that serves as an additional call to action for the user. It simply reads, “Get Your Hero Rewards.”
Vivid CTA Button
We love the contrast of red against the white background. It also adds a bit of patriotism to the U.S. based site, bringing up a sense of red, white and blue from the American flag.
The text on the button is quite clear as well, with white to add even more contrast between the red and the text. The button reads, “Start Saving Now.” The user knows exactly what type of info they’ll be taken to when they click on the button.
We love the live chat button on the lower right of the screen. In keeping with the red, white and blue theme, it is a deep blue. Chatbots improve customer engagement 80% or more. People love the idea of being able to talk to someone 24/7.
We like how easy the form is to fill out and submit. While there are a handful of fields to complete, it’s kept short and to the point. They collect only what they must have to get started with a new client.
We kept being drawn back to Homes for Heroes because of it’s appealing nature. There is plenty of negative space to give the eye a break, the navigation bar is non-intrusive and the design a bit timeless. The combination of red, white and blue could have been too much, but the site utilizes mainly white for the background elements and the other hues as accents.
What We Would Do Different
We aren’t in love with the mobile version of Homes for Heroes. Because more people access the internet via mobile devices than ever before, a strong design that works well on smaller screens is a must.
While the mobile version isn’t horrendous, it opens on the registration form, which seems a bit presumptive. We’d at least like a handshake before we’re forced to give our personal information away. It was also hard to find the X and move around.
The mobile design looks very simple and not modern. The lack of a photo or hero image really detracts from the design we love on desktop.
Overall, we adore the design of Homes for Heroes. We’d recommend they improve their mobile version and the site would likely get closer to 10 out of 10.