Attracting Advertisers with Acquia Site Studio
CoStar Grow is an ongoing Apartments.com campaign designed to encourage property owners to advertise rentable units across CoStar’s network of 12 home-related sites including Apartments.com, Realtor.com, Homes.com, and ForRent.com.
The old CoStar Grow site was difficult to maintain and was starting to show its age. An older implementation of Acquia Site Studio was too restrictive for the marketing team.
Content was difficult to change and keep the site up-to-date with fresh creative campaign assets. In addition to making the site more manageable, the design team at CoStar had big ideas to raise awareness (and the bar) with a new design packed full of engaging elements to drive conversion and grow the advertising business.
"Elevated Third's frequent and open communication was key to the success of the project, considering the complexity and richness of the designs. The team worked together to maintain a balance of site speed without compromising the quality of engaging design."
Creative Director, CoStar
Acquia Site Studio in Action.
Leveling up the digital design to drive more leads was our goal, and Acquia Site Studio was the tool needed to help the marketing team with component management and layout control.
However, admins can quickly be overburdened with too many component options. Likewise, overengineering a site to account for every layout possibility can result in a watered-down design experience.
We had to strike a balance between impactful design, content management, and technical performance to deliver an impactful digital experience that would ultimately drive leads.
CoStar came with the majority of the newly completed page designs for Grow, but as anyone who has built sites at scale knows, there is a gap between what a Figma file shows and what the admin UI of a Drupal site will ultimately look like. We call this process “Drupalizing” designs.
This collaborative effort between our Drupal-centric UX and development teams and CoStar’s designers got underneath a proposed design system to figure out how it should work, not just how it should look. Siloing design vs dev, especially with Drupal sites, puts a lot of responsibility on developers to guess what content editors want or need to be able to change which can lead to bloat, technical debt, or total rework.
Plenty of room for delight.
Together with the CoStar team, we figured out the possible permutations of content, how components needed to scale and adapt visually across devices, and ultimately how editable, optional, moveable, or removable each piece of content needed to be.
The “happy medium” struck between flexibility, consistency, and complexity for the Grow site enables the Apartments.com team to market more and content manage less. And with interactive media and motion in play, a constant concern was performance across devices. We had to deliver larger assets in a smart way to avoid a sluggish experience.
Gather and Produce
By using an agile approach to the project, the CoStar and Elevated Third teams were able to work together closely and collaborate quickly and efficiently. Frequent and open communication was key to the success of the project, considering the complexity and richness of the designs. The team worked together to maintain a balance of site speed without compromising the quality of engaging design.