Erik Messaki | May, 2023
Have you ever done a project for a startup with no competitors? This is the rare occasion when there are no templates of functionality or platform design; indeed, there’s nothing like it, so you have to build it from scratch.
Now see how the Outcrowd team handled the FlipX case.
FlipX is a startup with an innovative approach to buying, selling, and renovating real estate on the U.S. market. This may seem like an odd choice: how can you innovate when it comes to real estate? But our client came up with a brilliant solution that has made life a lot easier for their many users.
Increasing real estate value through renovation is a popular and profitable business. These operations follow a tried-and-true formula, not bothering with digital accounting and monitoring systems. But the FlipX product has made it possible to streamline the whole process and create a turnkey business.
New and experienced real estate investors. Investors interested in BRRRR (Buy, Renovate, Rent, Refinance, Repeat).
Understanding the client’s concept is the key to success in creating a project and the basis of design.
This startup is conceptualized as a single web app for managing real estate operations. The platform is good both for experienced sellers and newcomers. With FlipX, you don’t need to do everything yourself: buy the house, buy building materials, or hire workers. Everything happens on a single platform, from signing the contract to depositing the money for buying and renovating houses. There’s no need for any supervision on your part — everything is done by the FlipX team. The customer simply watches for changes in the project status and deals with the main stuff. The platform includes all the project information and paperwork, so it’s easy to track and manage it.
This is the first real estate investing platform that keeps everything in one place, from purchase to sale or refinances, for a seamless and profitable experience.
FlipX is an innovative product, a new platform on the market. This is the rare example of a startup with no competitors (at least none of comparable size). This was an unusual challenge for us. There were no similar projects that we could use as a reference to understand the functions and interaction patterns. We had to work very closely with the client, literally asking about every single block to understand how things were supposed to work. We designed everything step by step, incorporating the information into the designs. We tested everything that was testable.
For some elements, we researched similar functionality in other products and merged the ideas into our platform.
During our calls with the client, we went over every change in the project, arriving at a common vision of the final result and understanding of users’ needs. Then we would implement the solution into the product and test the results again.
The result is a well-arranged, detailed, and coherent product design. It has an innovative component and attracts the attention of a narrow but clearly defined target audience. The project went through many iterations until it became a perfectly functioning and aesthetically pleasing product.
The original startup concept was quite promising. Such platforms, however, tend to be complicated. Users don’t want complexity; they need something simple and easy-to-use. It took both us and the client a lot of preparatory work to achieve it. It’s a comprehensive project that happens step by step and is still in development.
Our primary tasks were as follows:
FlipX is a new product. A newly registered user needs a little time to learn. So we made the design of the platform as simple, logical, and understandable as possible. We broke the content down into easily comprehensible sections, using lines with clearly readable statuses and information. Visually and mentally, the product is convenient and simple to use.
For the visuals, we used a dark theme with gradients from the corporate style. It gives the interface a serious, austere feel. The dark theme matches the corporate colors of the project and helps to highlight the important parameters of the platform. The design looks modern and innovative (by the way, there’s also some resemblance to the iPhone’s trending dark theme).
Progressive, affordable, tech-savvy, honest, pragmatic, sociable, and optimistic.
We picture a brand like a persona: an actual character with a personality, energy, and charisma. This serves as an inspiration and helps create the right image and showcase it in the best light. In this case the image was an active, stylish, enterprising person, full of energy and approachable. These traits were reflected in the visual design, the style features, and the photographic portraits.
Upper-middle-class people who would like to invest in real estate but don’t want to bother with all the intricacies and would be willing to outsource it.
The problem with the initial design was that it was too generic. The brand didn’t look special enough to warrant attention. The color palette was bland, giving the impression of raw and unfinished design.
Our first task was updating the brand’s visual presentation while retaining the logo and certain identity elements. The client provided detailed feedback at every stage and was receptive to our recommendations.
We started with project research to understand and compile the brand’s image and map a possible future strategy.
Our initial task was to identify all the different ways the brand design could be improved. We had to change the color palette and the fonts, choose the visuals, create new identity elements (banner, card, hoodie), and update the brand guide.
The company logo remained unchanged, but combined with the updated design, it looks a lot better.
The palette is based on the brand character and the preferences of the target audience. Contrasting color combinations, a bold but restrained, austere, and minimalist style was the optimal solution.
The contrasting palette creates a sense of energy and power.
The project went through multiple iterations before attaining the necessary qualities. We take credit for creating a totally new brand image. It looks classier and more modern, powerful, and memorable.
To maintain style and readability we chose a Satoshi font. It’s clearly legible, laconic, and modern.
A special feature of this project was creating user stories. They serve as brief and understandable descriptions of the product’s functionality and value to the user.
Based on the user story descriptions, we designed complete user flows for two user personas (Admin and Customer), including all the necessary screens.
The FlipX web app is a convenient and intuitive tool for managing all the processes of a real estate renovation project. The platform is explored through a dashboard that displays all the relevant parameters: the number of projects at each stage (Valuation, Funding, Renovation, Exit), the overall stats for all projects, an overview of tasks, a widget that displays data on customers, etc.
The dashboard widgets have been chosen to provide the user with an easy way of accessing all the necessary information with no extra steps or irrelevant distractions.
The web app enables different project members to work on common objectives using a single tool.
Admin and customer flows differ in functionality according to the user flow. The admin, as the chief process manager on FlipX’s end, has access to more functions than the customer. This saves the customers unnecessary hassle and simplifies work on the project.
The startup needed a website for investment attraction to fund the development of the app itself. After we designed the web app, we developed a landing page at flipx.io.
The page talks about complex things in a simple way, and this is mirrored by the design. It’s well-structured and broken down into handy blocks. The visuals are minimalist, contrasting, and easy to follow. The landing page provides all the necessary information about the company, its capabilities and advantages.
The header immediately signals accessibility and makes the user feel welcome. The photos of people are projections of audience member images.
To create a sense of simplicity and clarity, we used laconic, minimally animated illustrations.
The landing page design matches the corporate style and is an organic extension of the brand’s ideas: simplifying complicated processes, saving time and money, clarity, a convenient solution of the customer’s problems. The page introduces the company and showcases the startup’s special features; above all, it breeds trust and investor interest.
Working on the FlipX platform shows how the company grew from a startup to a successful brand. It was quite a challenge for all of us. We needed to make users trust an unknown brand and be willing to invest in an innovative product. The project has gone through numerous iterations and tests, and it’s still a work in progress. Most importantly, the product is already functional and quite popular.
We are grateful to our client for the fruitful cooperation and valuable experience.
And to our readers: don’t be afraid to innovate and launch your own creative startups!