Unlimited Possibilities: A Web Design System for Arrow Senior Living
It’s not every day that a client asks you to design sixteen websites.
But Arrow Senior Living came to us with a unique project. The company manages senior living properties around the country, from Iowa to Ohio to Florida. They take care of everything from sales and marketing to dining, wellness and operations, all while prioritizing the happiness, safety and health of residents.
When they hired us, Arrow Senior Living had sixteen properties, and was accumulating more at a rapid-fire pace. (They had almost doubled that number by the time I wrote this blog post).
Arrow Senior Living needed a system to make developing websites for each unique property easy. And just as importantly, each website needed the ability to be customized to represent the local community.
Doing our homework.
A ton of research goes into all of our projects. We try to get to know our client as best as we can—the brand’s strengths, challenges, goals, value proposition, audience and more. We also research what else is going on in the industry, whether that’s direct competitors or businesses our client aspires to compete with. Having a whole picture of what we’re working with—and what we’re up against—means the end product will be more successful.
We already knew that senior living facilities get a bad rap. In general, they’re thought of as dreary and monotonous. What we found out through our research is that many senior living home websites reinforce this: the designs are dated and boring. The stock photos feel stuffy and trite, and the writing is often impersonal. Many are just photo galleries with little direction to help audiences navigate the site.
The websites don’t give the feelings of comfort, activity, friendliness and happiness that you want from a living situation for yourself or a loved one.
Modern website design for a modern company.
We wanted to make the Arrow Senior Living site–and all of its properties’ sites—authentic and reflective of the company’s top priority: the people.
These were our challenges. Design a template and interchangeable elements that could be used sixteen (or more) times, so that each website feels unique, modern and inviting to potential residents and their families. And furthermore, give our clients the freedom to add custom content, copy and images to each property’s website.
We had our work cut out for us.
Pieces of the puzzle.
We started with a sitemap that would improve—not hinder—the customer journey. The site offers basic information for someone just starting to consider a senior living facility, while visitors who are serious about moving (or helping a loved one move) can find more in-depth details and fill out a form to schedule a tour.
Because the design of the site needed to work with numerous brands, any design elements had to be neutral, but not boring. We created some simple patterns to give the page texture; layered rectangles provide depth and a modern feel.
We built a library of energetic, authentic-looking stock photography that didn’t just depict senior citizens sitting in a cafeteria or common room, but showed seniors enjoying life inside and outside of their home—playing a game of cards, enjoying a walk in the gardens or snuggling with a pet. We also designed simple icons to represent activities and values, like welcoming pets, honoring veterans, spoiling grandkids and staying active.
Tech bells and whistles.
Once the design was finished, our developers set to work building a WordPress theme, template and elements that each property could customize. We built the theme so that when a user creates a new website for a property, they select the brand’s three main colors and they’re automatically populated throughout the site.
We also created a library of elements that could be included anywhere on the site—photo galleries, layered images and patterns, text blocks and more. The elements stay true to the overall design and give Arrow Senior Living the freedom to build out additional content.
An apartment layout with drag-and-drop furniture helps prospects imagine themselves as residents—and start planning to move in. To align with Arrow Senior Living’s commitment to transparency, we built a personalized care calculator, where a visitor can answer questions to get an estimated cost of living. This gives visitors the pertinent information they need right away and helps weed out unqualified leads.
One design, unlimited websites.
The folks at Arrow Senior Living have already built out a few websites using the system we developed, with each site looking unique, modern and professional. Creating a template and elements that could potentially be used to build an unlimited number of sites was a first for Atomicdust, and we’re excited to watch it come to life.