The First-Time Homebuyer Project
When our team of 11 interns got to Ruoff, we received a brief to create a landing page that provided information for first-time homebuyers on how to navigate mortgages. Ruoff was struggling with creating a new way to reach younger audiences, and they believed access to information would bring in potential customers.
All the main stakeholders for the project were interns, with minimal guidance from a coordinator. We had a variety of roles which included videography, accounting, copywriting, project management, and design.
The goal for the website was to stimulate organic leads originating from search engines like Google, which would be nurtured into preapprovals and eventually mortgages.
As a graphic design intern for Ruoff, I took many roles in the project. My largest task was designing the website, which needed to be optimized for mobile use as well. I also created social media ads, posts, and email campaigns to promote the website and drive traffic.
The first step in our process was research. The digital marketing intern and I had a meeting with the project coordinator about what our goal for the page was, and what we wanted it to look like.
One of the first things we learned was about pillar pages, which are single-page sites that aggregate information and prove authority on a subject. The goal of pillar pages are to rank highly in SEO, but also to collect email addresses and offer a product in return.
We presented this information to our intern team and I moved forward with sketches for designs. The largest challenge with pillar pages is the amount of content, which can compromise readability and overwhelm viewers. I started researching best practices for making text readable on the internet, taking notes, and then applying them to an initial design.
A fundamental problem I needed to solve was setting the grid system. As a team we realized quickly that we wanted a vertical floating navigation bar at the right of the page, which began to compromise the symmetrical 12-column grid system used on most websites. Another challenge was the width of the body text, which had to be restrained to a certain character count per line in order to stay readable. These two factors left a lot of extra, and uneven space to deal with.
The solution I came up with was to create a grid that was offset to the left by one column. This brought the body text closer to the left of the screen and established a strong axis for readers to return to each time they finished a line. On the left of the text, we added elements that were meant to establish trust, enhance content, and encourage action. Finally, on the right we placed a floating menu button with links to each section.
The thing I like about the design is that it isn't obviously off-center. The content being heavier on the left makes sense because users read the content left to right, and makes the reading experience way easier.
Social Media Posts
These posts were created for a variety of different purposes, but most of them were used to promote the First-Time homebuyer project. For our social media ads, we tried to make them look organic and fit the Instagram lifestyle aesthetic. With most of these posts, we were trying to appeal to a younger audience, which influenced a lot of the choices in design, as well as imagery.
These designs were created for the Fall/Winter line of Ruoff merchandise. They're mostly worn by employees, but my goal was to create designs that were fun and I would want to wear myself.