The Texas Apartment Association (TAA) Redbook Online is a member’s only private online document hub designed to provide timely information and resources for rental housing owners. The platform includes real-time access to the latest documents, forms, articles, videos, and statutes on all leasing and rental topics from Applications to Evictions.
The previous Redbook Online website was visually dated, difficult to search, and time intensive to update. This prevented users from finding and utilizing the content they needed, and created a significant challenge for administrators to keep content current. The mobile and tablet experience was limited as well, preventing users from accessing the content when they needed it the most.
TAA identified an opportunity to improve the value they offered to members by having White Lion leverage their user experience knowledge to redesign the Redbook Online website. They wanted to better organize their content, improve search, and offer users a better experience to navigate through related types of content. Our goal was to design something that was not only engaging and intuitive for visitors, but also provided a seamless mobile experience with the ability for administrators to manage and update large amounts of content.
For the new Redbook Online website we aimed to build a platform that would provide a scalable foundation to support future phase upgrades and improvements.
TAA is a non-profit, statewide trade association that provides exceptional advocacy, education, and communication for the Texas rental housing industry. They serve all types of rental professionals, including property owners, builders, developers, property management firms, and service providers. TAA is affiliated with the National Apartment Association and local associations in 24 Texas cities, providing members an extensive local, regional, and national network. Also check out the website White Lion built for TAA’s main site.
As you can imagine, with an association as large as TAA, they have organized large amounts of articles, forms, statutes, documentation, videos, pdfs, and other graphics. It was no small effort but we are thrilled with the results.
Improvements developed for the Redbook Online website
- Restructured content organization to help members find what they need
- Intuitive and faster Content Management System (CMS) with custom features for cross content relationships
- Improved user search that leverages Algolia’s advanced search features
- Clean color-coded design and user experience
- User tagged favorite content
- New video content section for members
- Built on Laravel, a web framework for custom PHP development
- Gated member’s only login
- Mobile-friendly and a responsive design
Content Strategy and Management
Early in the process, White Lion collaborated with the TAA team to map out information and create a system for organizing information. This took the form of wireframes, iterative design mockups, and strategy meetings with the client. We uncovered the need to build relationships between several types of content to allow users to access these resources and various states along the user journey.
Content Organized by Various Types
The Redbook Online is packed with tons of valuable information for apartment managers and professionals. This information is delivered through articles, forms, videos, statutes, resources, and frequently asked questions. Not only did we move over all this information, but we created resources in the admin that allow the client to associate the resources to multiple categories where they belong. Resources are also organized by section, subsection, and content type. Managing content and large projects like this are where we excel for our clients.
Advanced Search Platform
Creating an advanced search feature was a goal from the beginning of this project. To achieve that, we had to identify various facets and categories that users could search. The end result are search queries that are both accurate and clear. Members can filter by section, resource type, or sort results. Admins can also track search data using Algolia’s reporting tools.
Color-Coded Design System
TAA’s Redbook also exists offline as a physical printed book that was redesigned at the same time as the website. Together with their team, we settled on a bright color scheme that would associate a specific color to a category. This way users can visually identify which category they are browsing based on its color. Redbook members can also find what they are looking for with clear sections and tabs for each resource type. Color-coded cards are used throughout the site to create consistency and help members better navigate through the various resources.
User-Tagged Favorite Content
We created a system for users to tag the most used content with one click, using a heart icon, throughout the site. Users can later visit their personal favorites saved to their account under the favorites section. We organized the favorites by type so users can quickly identify their most used articles, forms, videos, or resources.
Engaging Video Content
Often clients see the need for new features on their website when they don’t yet have the supporting content to fill the space. White Lion helped create a full-featured video section to handle several new videos for Redbook Online. Administrators can now include video content within any section or subsection. We’re always excited to build future-friendly websites that enable clients to deliver the most effective content that relates to their users.
Content is easier to find and the tool is much easier to use. Admins have more control and the ability to easily update and manage content on the site. As of Feb 1, 2019, there are currently 8,433 subscribers on the platform. TAA has received positive feedback from its members for the improved Redbook Online platform.