Mention web design and a vision of a room full of developers working night and day likely comes to mind. That’s accurate, but on the Land.com Network team, we’re also landowners, ranchers, farmers, hunters, fishermen, and sportsmen who love and revere the land just as you do. In fact, it was this passion for the land that brought most of us together, and this same enthusiasm fueled the creation of the new Lands of America, the flagship land site of the Land.com Network.
Take a few minutes to check it out, and you will be delighted at how fast and easy it is for you to explore land of all types. So, what does it take to redesign a website with thousands of rural properties into an improved, user-friendly experience? Here’s what some of our team leaders have to say.
We’re on the Same Team
Grant Taylor, Vice President of the Land.com Network, has worn many hats — rural real estate broker, product developer, and product manager, but this sixth-generation Texan and Austin native might be best known for his knowledge of cowboy hats and boots. In fact, several hats hang in his office. If he had his druthers, his attire would be jeans, boots, and an Open Road Stetson
Grant Taylor, Vice President
We really care about this market. I want our visitors and clients to know we’re on the same team.
What sets Lands of America and the people working here apart, according to Grant, is their commitment to users and clients. “We really care about this market. I want our visitors and clients to know we’re on the same team. Our success is tied to their successes. Everything we do is to generate more traffic, more leads, and more sales for them.” Part of the vision for the new site was improving the experience and delivering great results even on a slow 3G connection. “The faster the site is, the better. Google recognizes and rewards that,” adds Grant. What hasn’t changed is the focus and mission of the company even though it is now part of a large corporation. “We are the same people who started out 15 years ago as Lands of Texas,” he says.
All About the Search
A Texas native, Dave Conner owns 23 acres of land just west of Austin. In some places, it might be considered a small farm or a ranch, but in Texas, he says, it’s more like “a big back yard.” Finding land, discovering land, and investing in land is a passion for Dave, one he can’t seem to get away from even on vacation. On a recent trip, he came up with a mobile app that would enable a search for land extending from one’s current location.
Dave Conner, Technical Manager
We are constantly working on new features to make the search even easier and faster.
A senior software development leader, Dave focuses on both the front end (what users see and experience on the site) and the back end (the operations and data of the site) of the new website. “Our site gives potential buyers a great overview of properties in any category in multiple locations, including property types and price and acreage filters. We have many additional ways to filter listings that interest them, and we are constantly working on new features to make the search even easier and faster.” The new site significantly ups front-end performance, providing overall site performance increases — up to three to six times faster. Dave is also excited about all the additional upcoming feature and speed improvements that will further benefit our users and customers.
At Home on the Land
A love for the land brought Taylor Smith to the Land.com Network. “My parents are land investors and my father is passionate about farming and land owning. My family manages a hundred-acre farm in Missouri where we spend time dirt biking, hunting, and farming. I wanted to work with a product that was familiar and that I was passionate about, which was real estate,” he shares.
Taylor Smith, Product Manager
We have many talented developers and designers who are passionate about the product and who are users themselves. It’s helpful to have that in-house insight.
As a Product Manager, Taylor ensures the redesigned Lands of America delivers the best possible experience. The redesign entailed conversations with clients and users, including one-on-one discussions. “We talked with several of our stakeholders and organized insights to hone in on where we could keep improving,” he explains. “We have many talented developers and designers who are passionate about the product and who are users themselves. It’s helpful to have that in-house insight.” Other passions for Taylor include marathoning and Ironman competitions.
Beauty Is Not Skin Deep
Mike Ball oversees UI and UX, which means he’s responsible for the look and navigation of the site. “It’s very consumer driven for users and also beneficial for brokers and agents,” he says. The simpler navigation and modernized page layout are meant to make it easier for both buyers and sellers to interact with the website. “People make quick judgments about colors, fonts, and structures of pages. So, first impressions matter,” he says. Additionally, searchers can now find and view properties very quickly, which is critical in this era of short attention spans.
Mike Ball, Senior UX/UI Designer
People make quick judgments about colors, fonts, and structures of pages. So, first impressions matter.
Mike worked for Lands of America for a couple of years and then took a break to teach at San Francisco State. He recently relocated to Austin to join the team again because, he says, “I really like the company.” The change was a little bit like coming back to his roots since Ball spent a lot of time fishing when he was growing up in Idaho.
A special thanks and recognition goes to those who contributed significantly to this project:
We could not have launched the new Lands of America without the efforts of the entire group of highly skilled software developers, quality assurance engineers and product managers: Torre Taylor, Andrew Showell, Chris Judge, Daniel Miller, Eric Beiler, Jeff Nivin, Michelle Kidd, Rich D’ Alfonso, Dan Short, Sindura Ravel, Sunil Sodhi, Charles McNeil, Shelly Swanner, Jian Ding, Aaron Longnion and David Foster and Norm Gorcys.
Thank you for your contributions!
Check out the newly redesigned Lands of America!