Florence Truong | LinkedIn
Florence Truong | CV

Mansion Global

Substantial (2014-'15)
Web application

From zero to one: from conversations to a trusted real estate market

A newly formed team at Newscorp saw the opportunity for a niche, online luxury real-estate service. Between their relationships with other luxury brands such as Sotheby's and the existing Mansion section in the Wall Street Journal paper, they saw the potential to inform, entertain, and entice international high-net worth buyers.

At Substantial, we were able to work intimately with their team through design to development.


  • Research and planning
  • UX and usability testing
  • Design and UI


  • 1 of 2 design leads
  • ~ 1 year
  • From pitch to launch

Brand proof of concept

We sought to explore and understand its full business potential in Discovery, from product experience to brand.


Prototypes, fresh eyes on the industry, and market research in our first few weeks quickly helped everyone envision where the experience could start and just as important, what it shouldn't be.

Sample of preliminary audience research

"A remarkable 80% of Chinese high net worths are looking to send their children to study abroad, with the UK and US as countries of choice."

Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher, Understanding the High Net Worth Market in China

Sample of preliminary market research

"As concluded in last year's Luxury Defined white paper, luxury residential real estate tends to correlate more closely to luxury goods than it does to the general housing market."

Christie's International Real Estate, Luxury Defined: An Insight into the Luxury Residential Property Market, 2014.

Hypothesized experience arc

As led by Ryan Harasyn

Exploration 1 - Editorial. Lifestyle. Curated.

In this perspective, it entices buyers through rich editorial content, curated imagery, co-branded advertisement, neighborhood highlights, and market data.

Left: An emphasis on the neighborhood and its lifestyle sought to appeal to high-net worth individuals looking 'one-of-a-kind residences in key locations' (NYTimes, 2013) | Right: A property page sample

Exploration 2 - Marketplace. Data Driven. Contemporary.

As led by Ryan Harasyn


From workshops to higher-fidelity prototypes. This continuous jump from raw to detail helped smooth a complex, corporate approval process while navigating the team through specific user stories.

Interaction models were prototyped through clickable wires using Flinto. Alongside these, a higher fidelity test was created to see how the data, interaction, and visual system lived together.

New York City workshop

Newscorp's team had several departments involved, this naturally led to competing priorities for each section of the site. We met in-person to run a two-day workshop where each member was given equal say to what was important to them, while also asking them to prioritize within their own list of requests. This framework empowered each individual to voice their need in an open and safe place.

Left: Workshop planning document | Right: Whiteboard of prioritized features, content, or interaction

Client and team collaboration from start to approval

One of the lessons we learnt was the idea of ownership for each stakeholder. Not every page or section will be the most important to each person, so we sketched a section with select individual stakeholders first, before presenting medium fidelity to the rest of their team. It was a wonderful way to facilitate decisions with the team without falling back on a 'decision by committee' approach.

Sample wordmark explorations

We did a series of quick wordmark explorations to help the Newscorp team articulate what would work for them. Though none of these concepts carried through, the play on a heavier weight on 'Mansion' continued to their final design.

From top to bottom: 1. Neutra 2. Optimo and Didot Elder 3. Domaine


The team worked in parallel between building new modules while also improving them incrementally. We did this by getting feedback early and often on through retros and guerrilla usability testing.

Sample modules

The inconsistency in the image quality, copy quality, and data accuracy from real estate engines nearly upended what needed to be a 'luxury' experience. We adopted a double-sided approach: independent modules balanced with quality expectations in high-impact areas.

Guerilla usability feature testing

As led by Dheyvi Velagapudi

From left to right: Usability testing guide, testing notes, video recordings

NEW YORK, May 1, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dow Jones announced today the launch of Mansion Global (mansionglobal.com), a standalone, global luxury real estate web site that brings together high-end property listings from brokerages and developers around the world with comprehensive news and data. By seamlessly integrating property search and related news, the site is designed to empower international buyers to make intelligent purchase decisions and to engage the luxury real estate enthusiast. The site will feature original content as well as news and information from News Corp publications and web sites around the world. The site will launch with English, Spanish and Chinese-language editions.

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Copyright 2016 Florence Truong. Handcrafted with Hugo.