The Montiel Organization came in with a unique problem; they had an existing platform at the MVP stage that needed to be completely replaced, while adding a handful of new features; and they needed it in 7 weeks from first contact.
The complete project featured redevelopment of their entire MVP from scratch, and consisted of six primary components:
- complete user-facing CMS
- top-level admin panel
- email marketing drip feed
- pressed article content build
- three bespoke user customizable CMS templates
- splash micro-site for marketing
Research and Sketching
Octopus Agent & The Montiel Organization help real estate agents & brokers market themselves and their listings quickly and easily. This hands-off & largely autopilot approach to online marketing allows the agents to focus more on their in person sales and worry less about their site, email campaign, and so on.
Given the tight timeline for the project, we bypassed sketching and grey boxing for the backend, and focused on the primary templates in use for the agent sites. A handful of sketches to start for each site included an index layout, listing page, and textual content layout was sufficient to gain an idea of what layouts would work best.
Grey Box in the Browser & Design
Again keeping with our time line, we went right into the browser for greyboxing. This allowed the templates to be built much earlier, improved out iteration time for adjustments, and gave us a huge jump on the final design once the greyboxes had been completed.
Moving on from the final greyboxes we added color, iterated over layout adjustments, typography, etc, and ran a set of user testing sessions to ensure that users were interacting with the individual sites the way we anticipated.
The existing MVP was built on an aging PHP framework that was at end of life. Our solution builds on Node with Express, using Cloud Storage for the database engine on the backend. We opted for custom markup without a framework on the front end, complemented with Handlebars and LESS for templating and styling.
By minimizing the tech stack we accommodate the needs of the client to keep their in-house support team small, and leveraging Firebase Cloud Storage will enable them to scale easily as they continue to grow.
Working on Octopus Agent was absolutely a privilege, and it was a delight helping a non tech company build and found their first tech product. In the 8 weeks since launch, they’ve grown to over 7,500 users, and the platform hasn’t broken a sweat.
I’m looking forward to seeing them grow, and helping them again along the way as they do.