Thrive Mortgage is a loan-officer-centric mortgage company. They came to us hoping to make their website interesting and engaging, with the priorities being making things easier for customers to connect with loan officers, and to create more opportunities for their loan officers equally.
UI & UX Design
Website Design & Developing
Adobe After Effect
The original Thrive website was not used to it’s potential because of its low conversion rate and inefficient user experience. Loan Officers (referred as LOs) doesn’t want to use the provided LO pages, and their mortgage customers are often lost on their website, not knowing where to look for information or how to navigate the website.
Thrive doesn’t have any in-house developers to maintain the website so they had a hard time updating their original website as well.
From the LOs’ perspective, there was not enough exposure for them or their services on the main website. Our recommendation was that Thrive needed to provide more and equal opportunities for all of their LOs, as well as to provide a smooth process for mortgage customers to find a loan officer/branch to help them.
2 Creative Directors, 1 PM, 1 Web Designer/Developer, 1 Software Developer
When I joined this project as the Web Designer/Developer, the old website was there for years, and it needed to be re-branded to the new style that Thrive’s Creative Director provided. So I needed to re-design the UI to match the new style and needed to work with a Software Developer to elevate the user experience for both LO users and mortgage shoppers. Additionally, I needed to design a backend CMS system that’s user-friendly enough for their internal team to update and upkeep for the long-run.
As a mortgage lender, Thrive can only offer mortgage packages to customers within their own lending ability. Other mortgage brokers on the other hand, can provide packages from different lenders or banks. To compete with other lenders and brokers, Thrive needs to prioritize mortgage shoppers’ website experience, making sure that they can find information clearly and quickly, and the very second they need answers from a LO, they can click to connect with one within the frame:
For Loan Officers at Thrive, their main service is to help borrowers choose the best mortgage product from Thrive, instead of helping them compare rates from different lenders. The LOs will need the Thrive website to help them establish a high level of confidence, expertise, and reliability. So for them:
Thrive’s online traffic can be grouped into 3 categories: current mortgage customers, Thrive loan officers, and mortgage shoppers/potential Thrive customers. From prior years’ data, 20-25% of the website visitors were Thrive clients, entering the site from ‘Make a payment’ page; 30% were potential customers entering the site from its home page; 20% of the traffic visited from Thrive LOs’ pages; and the rest 10% are job seekers landing on its careers page.
From the online traffic data analysis, we saw many visitors scattered on the website, visiting a few pages and left the site, without going back to their original LO’s page, or ending the session on an LO’s page. We think the reason was because the website did not have a clear and organized site map, and had outdated UX design. Another drop off point is when they try to find a lo, most of user will want to find one close to them, but they can't decided which one to go, so after a few visit on different lo pages, they just left without reach out to any one. And the visitors came through LOs’ pages not only can’t find relevant information, they sometimes can’t find the original LO’s page after a few clicks, and had to search in LO directory to find their LO. Some visitors changed LOs in this step and others exited the website.
The special function we added to the Thrive site was a trace-tag feature. We designed a tag on the sticky navigation of LO pages. If a customer first visited this LO’s page, the sticker will follow the customer and show up on the sticky navigation of all the following pages that they visit. Even if the customer exit the website for a brief moment, as long as they are using the same device, the sticker will show up again if they come back to the Thrive website. This way whenever they are ready to connect with their LO, the contact button and their LO’s picture is right there on the page.
To make the LO pages more user-friendly to the LOs, we added Blogs and Mortgage Calculators which are the two most requested features/functions from the UX research survey. This way the LOs are more encouraged to use and promote their pages, and more importantly, to retain online clientele.
In order to let borrowers feel more comfortable to contact, we add branch pages into the website, so when users not sure about who to contact, they can contact the manager of the branch, on the branch page, we also listed loan officers list, therefore, branch page can increase the exposure for loan officers.
We Stored most of the content in CMS system, so it would be easier for Marketer to update:
We designed Branch page and Loan Officer page as templates, ones thrive designer/marketer fill out information from backend, corresponding branch page and lo page will be generated automatically. Since we use branch information and loan officer information across, it avoid requesting put the same information multiple time in different place.
We have different design for different situation for loan officers, ie. when officer have a partner, the header section will have different design.