A classic mid-century construction designed by famed architect Donald Wexler, 432 Hermosa is the
former Dinah Shore estate situated in the heart of Palm Springs. Wanting to take advantage of its
prime location minutes away from Coachella, owner Leonardo DiCaprio and managers Malibu Colony
Real Estate aimed to put the property to use as a vacation rental.
When Malibu Colony came to John McNeil Studio to build out a site for their property, their mandates were
to showcase the amenities and beauty of the property while providing a process for booking a stay. Central
in this challenge was serving these including a gallery and a multiple step booking process in as simple and
streamlined an experience as possible.
We started by doing a competitive audit of sites of other properties and real estate holdings while researching
plug-in booking systems for the back end. The greatest takeaway from this research was the importance of a
simple design and the user feeling transported to their vacation destination, without being bogged down with
extraneous details. This conclusion combined with the scope of the project lead us to go with a flat site
hierarchy to provide the most straightforward user experience; a single page with the nav taking you further
down the page.
The development of the booking process included creating a flow of correspondence that included on-site
forms, phone screeners, DMs of invoices and rental policies and background checks for vetting purposes.
The visual design aimed to highlight the main selling points of the property— the clean, simple, and striking
architecture and beautiful views. We used the stunning images of the estate to do most of the talking, while
using the familiar iconography of print calendars to design the booking interface. The vintage geometric style
of Brandon Grotesque proved the best compliment to the midcentury design of the estate.
Working with the technical lead, and director of production my responsibilities included designing the user
experience — including sitemapping, wireframing, creating user flows as well as developing and executing
the visual design.
This project was a exercise in simplicity and restraint. Several early concepts and features such as incorporating video in the header or having more elaborate full screen gallery experiences were axed due to technical and budget constraints.
However, communicating only the essential details and trying to create the most compelling experience within those constraints proved to be rewarding not just as a designer but also for the end user.