Homewoods on the Willamette

Rocket Lift designed and built a new, responsive website for Homewoods on the Willamette, a beautiful retirement community located outside Portland.

Picking where to retire can be challenging. It’s difficult to compare pricing, the benefits, and what life will be like in a new place. For those retiring, and for their children and other loved ones helping to make the choice, there’s a lot on the line. Will they be happy and comfortable? Will they feel a sense of belonging to a community?

We wanted a website that was contemporary, containing an up-to-date look and functionality. But we also wanted something that would show our uniqueness and help us to identify ourselves from others in our market.
Laura Engle, Homewoods Executive Director

Homewoods on the Willamette has a lot going for it. Some of this would be easy for us convey on the web, such as the its beautiful location in a forested area with a riverside view. But as Laura Engle, the Executive Director, told us early on, “We really think we have something amazing and special here with this great community.” We could tell from setting foot in the building she was right. People knew each other, and were smiling. Residents were out and about, and greeted visitors, and seemed happy. They weren’t neighbors in a pretty apartment building — they are an energetic and caring community.

So, we had two big challenges: First, conveying that warm and welcoming atmosphere through the web; and Second, successfully motivating visitors to the website to become visitors in person.

## Starting the Project
One of the first things we did was send Homewoods our discovery worksheet. This worksheet helps us evaluate the audience of the website, goals for the business, and how we can solve these through design.

We discovered quickly that part of what made Homewoods such an active place was its busy social calendar. We were keen on showing that off, and realized that a regularly updated calendar with the day’s events could both tell this story to visitors and also keep residents well informed on what was happening within their community, without creating clutter.

We also saw that a significant amount of traffic was coming from mobile devices, and immediately proposed a responsive approach, to make sure everyone visiting the site could access its contents.

## Our Solution
Rocket Lift oversaw the external drafting of copy for the new site; making sure it felt human, and real, yet also being search engine friendly.

Once content was in a stable place, we began to wireframe the site layouts. They established our vision for a simple and elegant layout. We planned locations for all the necessary content blocks, with a lot of whitespace to give them breathing room.

…we ended up with a beautiful website that we love and that we can take care of ourselves, thanks to the training we received from Rocket Lift.
Laura Engle, Homewoods Executive Director

The Homewoods community is bursting with personality and fun. Every week, an array of events are planned for residents to enjoy meals together, exercise, play games, and more. We created an events calendar that the Homewoods staff could easily update, so residents always know what’s going on.

When moving on to high-fidelity mockups, we needed a versatile typeface that could work for headings and body text. We decided on Freight Sans Pro which looks beautiful at a variety of sizes and reads very well. We also made sure to set the type at a size easy for anyone to read.

We’re excited to see this site launched. Rocket Lift’s responsive design has made the site accesible to more people, on any device. We’ve also made it easy to promote social events.

We’re proud that Homewoods’ story is being told the right way. Visit Homewoods.