With a workforce totaling nearly 1,800 employees, Camden Property Trust is a Houston-based real estate investment company owning and operating over 180 apartment communities. Their website was cluttered, outdated, and in dire need of a redesign., They took the conventional route of issuing an RFP to find the best agency in the country to take on this colossal project.
With many divisions and stakeholders involved, Kristy Simonette, the Senior Vice President of Strategic Services, Chief Information Officer knew that they needed an innovative approach to re-organize their digital presence. Right around the same time, Philip Meyer, Camden's Manager of Innovation, met one of our developers at a MongoDB Meetup and encouraged us to get involved in the selection process. Although Philip didn’t know about Poetic Systems previous to this chance encounter, he was intrigued by our user-focused design philosophy.
At first, Camden questioned if Poetic was too small to handle a project of this scope. We were nervous too. They could easily hire a global superstar agency to do the work for them. We knew that every web company in the country would die for an opportunity to work with a fast-forward thinking company like Camden, so we grabbed this opportunity by the horns. We were local, young, and hungry for a new challenge.
Research, Analysis, and User Stories
With a website riddled with outdated design and worse user experience, Camden was determined to make a change, and not an arbitrary one. With this spirit, we invaded Camden’s headquarters for three weeks and started collecting every relevant piece of data we could find. We measured and analyzed existing web content, Google analytics reports, ethnographic studies, you name it.
We set up a small team in Camden’s offices and immersed ourselves in the company and culture. We needed to be close to the people and information that mattered, and before long the data flowed. To understand their business processes, we visited different Camden apartment communities to see how leasing consultants approached prospective resident and what a prospective resident tends to ask when shopping around for an apartment. We did competitor research and even visited a Camden competitors’ apartment community to observe their leasing process.
We listened to calls coming in to the Camden Contact Center and soon came to realize that each call responder was spending around 30 minutes a day troubleshooting the website and answering questions such as, "What's the pet and parking policy?"