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Modernizing the UX Experience & Refreshing a Legacy Brand

The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) was established exclusively for real estate professionals who provide advice, counsel, or guidance that significantly affects real estate decisions, without personal bias or conflict of interest.

Founded in 1953, the organization serves approximately 1,000 members worldwide, all of whom hold the “CRE” credential. Counselors invited to membership are linked to one another by their commitment to integrity, competence, community, trust, and service; and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice. The purpose of the organization is to be a community of expertise, talent, collegiality, and camaraderie among practitioners recognized as leaders in real estate or real estate-related counseling and advisory services.

Looking to the future, the CRE organization recognized it was time to revise and modernize its online presence. Christiane Rodes, Managing Editor at CRE, said the former site lacked strong imagery, was too text heavy, and was difficult to navigate.

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Results

One of the areas CRE wanted to improve was the “member news” section, where the organization sought to promote members in a compelling way. CRE also wanted a cleaner, simpler means for prospective members, clients, and current members to interact with the site in areas like Search and remitting member dues online. Additionally, it was important to increase search engine results and add more flexibility for CRE administrators to manage the site.

Oomph took CRE’s vision to heart and worked with CRE staff to design a visually appealing site offering a more intuitive interface and back-end functionality, updating the way members and staff interacted with the WordPress site.

Oomph Senior Digital Project Manager Ellen Diamond said the Oomph development team took advantage of key WordPress plugins, like a faceted search plugin that would help site users find CRE members through a filtered search on the “Find a CRE” page. Users now select a Region, Specialty, and so on, to quickly narrow down results from the 1,000 members in the database. Strategic plugins were also used to improve the Programs & Events page and to facilitate online payments of membership dues. The Member Profile pages are now more robust, and member news is easier to showcase. Finally, large, brand-minded imagery was carefully selected to match CRE’s requirements, which served to tie everything together for an exceptional site experience.

The site itself is a “night and day” change, Rodes said. “The functionality is there. The site is cleaner, more intuitive, and modern. Members are already saying how much easier navigation has become.”

Oomph is pleased to have partnered with CRE to create a new online experience for members and others interacting with the site.

Technical Notes

Our engineering team leveraged the out-of-the-box user account functionality of WordPress for CRE’s member portal. Gravity Forms was employed to provide members with a way to update their personal and professional information on the site’s front-end. FacetWP, an advanced search plugin, is used to provide a multidimensional way for visitors to find members based on location and services provided in the “Find a CRE” section of the site. WooCommerce was integrated with the site to simplify the remitting of dues online, including dynamic pricing based on the account status of each individual member. Finally, CRE’s online events management was enhanced with an Events Calendar plugin and Event Ticket companion plugin.

CRE Web Layouts

We were really happy with the process of working with Oomph from start to finish. Their team understood who we were and what we were looking for, yet were not hesitant to recommend a new direction, if our original vision could be improved upon. The working relationship between The Counselors & Oomph was exceptional in every way.

CHRISTIANE RODES
Managing Editor, Counselors of Real Estate