Made Studio 3 Homewerk

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Ella Gaddum
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Paul Terry
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Stephen Kirkby
  • Client

Put simply, Homewerk is a response to the dyer housing situation in Aotearoa. As many New Zealanders continue to struggle to get a foot on the property ladder, founders Oliver Starr and Sammy Scapens saw a need for small, aesthetic homes that Kiwis could actually afford.

The clients have decades of combined experience creating beautiful and functional spaces, and these affordable, mid-century inspired, transportable cabins are no different. They’re created for Kiwis to fill with memory and meaning.

With this in mind, it was important the website felt timeless and ‘soulful’ without compromising a clean, logical user experience. Homewerk’s style does not follow trends, so it was essential the website was designed to be visually compelling, while standing the test of time.

Because Homewerk’s target audience is broad – from baby boomers with a spare section to millennials looking for their first home – the website needed a widely-appealing aesthetic.

Exploring the intersection of design and user experience was a key focus of this project, with a design-centric brand and the highly functional Cabin Builder requirements.

The Cabin Builder allows users to choose from a range of colours, materials and finishes to create their own cabin, and visualise it in real time with the use of renders and full bleed imagery.

The Cabin Builder presented a unique challenge. There was a lot of information to incorporate into the form, while maintaining our simple, uncluttered design ethos. We responded with interactive elements and hover actions, which allowed us to show rather than tell. The intuitive design allows for users to easily navigate back and forth through the process, testing different colour and material combinations, and ultimately creating a visualisation of the end product, as well as an estimated cost.

We set out to design a high-impact entrance to the site, with the animated Homewerk brand fading into a simple landing page, gently welcoming visitors and setting the scene. Once inside the site, we ensured the look and feel was on brand – simple, timeless and uncluttered – and drew people towards the Cabin Builder.

A clear, intuitive user journey was a key consideration from the outset. We mapped out the site using a sitemap and wireframes to ensure the audience was central to the end product.

Given Homewerk’s audience is design-literate, we were able to lean on the client’s beautiful imagery to take the user on a visual journey of the cabins. We broke up content with typography-led design and unconventional colour combinations to keep users engaged. Ultimately, we aimed to give the user a sense of how it would feel to step inside a Homewerk cabin.

When it came to execution, we employed Shopify as it was the best platform to create the Cabin Builder, but it also leaves the door open for a Phase Two of the website, where Homewerk will introduce eCommerce functionality. The light touch, scroll-driven transitions and animations were achieved using CSS and javascript.

The result is an intuitive website, considerately aligned with the brand, representing an exciting opportunity for Homewerk to scale.