It’s often said that the best investment a person can make is in real estate. While its value may experience ebb and flow, it always returns at some point. While the product itself may experience little change, the way in which the business is conducted continues to evolve throughout centuries. Almost every aspect of society has been changed in the last three to four decades with the ubiquity of technology and computer advancements. It’s not just the way and the frequency with which we communicate with others and receive information that has changed; it’s also the way we travel, the way we make purchases, the way we live, the places we live in and how we find them; the only aspect that doesn’t change is how many locations are available on the planet. Corelogic (real estate company) used VDSLA to take advantage of the benevolent use of tech and at the heart of this was Neo Tran. Corelogic is a real estate company which embraces the need to change in congruence with society. Corelogic has many participating partners like MyRental.com, RealQuest Professional, Rental Property Solutions, etc. Because there are so many members and each is struggling to find a unified design on the web, Corelogic needed a cohesive design system in place for the businesses to follow. VDSLA’s Stephanie Dillon chose UI/UX Designer Neo Tran to spearhead this project and design a new system for Corelogic.
What made the project so multi-faceted was that several companies fall under the umbrella of Corelogic. This necessitated creating a cohesive look and functionality that appealed to all involved parties and manifested a uniform look and relationship among them. As the lead User Interface Designer, Neo created and established a new cohesive web interface. This included making a style guide, interaction guideline, and quality assurance, in addition to consulting on user experience of the entire site. Careful attention to cohesiveness was implemented in designing a system of color choices, content bands, and web components. Each element had strict limitations upon usage and approval as foolproof so a person without any knowledge of design could make a decent, cohesive website. Neo worked closely with web developers to insure the product was delivered up to exemplary design standards. Because the system being created was to be used by the smaller companies under Corelogic to create their own specific sites, Neo was required to keep the ease and effectiveness of both the designer and the user in mind. The most appropriate word to describe his perspective would be omniscient. Creating this system for Corelogic meant thinking not one or two steps ahead but hundreds or thousands of steps ahead. Even with this responsibility, Neo found the most challenging part of his work to be that of finding the balance between artistic elements and usability. Given that users of the app can be non-designers; it was vital to make the design easy to use enough for them to figure out. Sacrifices in terms of some artistic values were essential to meet with the ease of use but users come first. It was paramount to have a product that looks good and work well for the client.
Corelogic’s site allows the companies under its umbrella or “children companies” to create their own website, which meant that the first step in researching the project for Neo and his team began with understanding more about those individuals in the “children companies” who would be using it. Many of these individuals were non design centric which demanded that Neo construct a highly intuitive structure for the site. This began with wireframing, a sketch of how the site will flow (for example, where you are directed when you push a button). Tran reveals one of his most valued and trusted tools when it comes to this part of the process stating, “In my line of work, I work mainly with SketchApp, a software that helps you create user interface and plan out structure of a site (wireframing). It is packed with all the tools I need to create a beautiful design. Some of the software programs I use interchangeably for UI design are Adobe Photoshop and illustrator. Adobe Photoshop is a powerful tool for creating and editing images, making background patterns before adding them to the interface. I use Adobe Illustrator to create icons that go with the design. For presentations, I use the inVision App which lets you create working prototype of a website or mobile app to show with the team or clients.” Once the essential flow was solidified; colors, images, and text were used to create a working prototype for clients to “test drive.” Following this, more debugging takes place before the final product goes live and is available for full use.
One of the most current and important facets of Neo’s work is how a website will look when viewed/used on different platforms such as a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. A UI/UX designer needs to be familiar with all of the current trends and updates in regards to software and how a website is coded. Tran is vigilant when it comes to the investigation of new OS updates on a number of different devices in order to make certain he will be able to insure optimization on various devices. It’s perhaps this aspect of his work that so strongly reinforces the idea that Neo is the type of professional who approaches technology with an artistic sensibility. Being well versed in the different presentations of his work is on par with artists who exhibit their vision in different mediums such as sculpture, painting, and architecture; the difference is that Tran’s modern creations are exhibited in the virtual world. This view of his role seems somewhat too lofty for Neo who states, “I think the most important part of my job is to meet the client’s goals. As we assess the problems and needs and try to solve them, I find the most intuitive way for the users to use it. From putting usability on top, I find artistic visual treatments that are currently on trend to aid with usability. In the end, form follows functions; the design has to look amazing and be easy to use.” This statement is contrasted by VDSLA’s Stephanie Dillon who succinctly declares, “Neo possesses an outstanding eye for design and skills to match. Quite simply put, Neo always delivers!”