Commercial Observer is the leading online resource for commercial real estate news. In an industry valued at $15 trillion, it’s where the most powerful players— including building owners and managers, brokers, and commercial lenders—go for their news.
The New York Observer team approached us with a sizable challenge. Take a historically news-focused site and find a way to integrate data into existing stories to give their customers a deeper view of the issues. What emerged was a new product called Real Graph, a perfectly integrated user experience that adds impressive dimension to the site’s content.
Our team began with a series of prototyping sprints to explore different ways of presenting content and data while balancing the technical complexity of the experience.
First, we explored a more traditional blog view as the leanest option. This would have been the least disruptive change for regular visitors of the site.
A Hypothesis Emerges
While doing our due diligence, we poured over real estate trades and spoke with industry leaders. We realized that our users liked their news fast, like sports statistics. Many publications, including the print edition of the Commercial Observer, include deal sheets: transactional data from real estate trades in bullet points. We thought to ourselves, “We need to make it more like this.”
We tested charting and deal tables on several pages. But then we realized we could move even deeper in this direction.
All of this served as set-up for what became an entirely new product: RealGraph, a warehouse of all the data collected and published by the Commercial Observer, reflected back in a useful and accessible way.