cat busters animal rescue
As the project's UX designer, I was responsible through all phases from research to implementation. My duties included:
- Conducting industry and user research
- Synthesizing research to define project goals
- Developing preliminary design concepts
- User testing
- User interface design
Sketch, Photoshop, Marvel
Cat Busters Animal Rescue (CBAR) is a Toronto-based cat rescue and foster agency. At the moment, CBAR relies on a simple Wordpress blog to update their readers regarding any important news, local events, and their current adoptable cats. They have partnered with PetFinder to smoothly facilitate the fostering and adoption process. CBAR's success relies primarily on their individual fundraising efforts; as such, they could benefit from some more independent attention to increase their digital presence and brand awareness, thus reaching their fullest potential.
- Design a responsive website that will help increase brand awareness as well as cover core functionality:
- search for cats to foster or adopt
- option to donate and volunteer with the organization
I started the research phase by conducting 1:1 interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of what CBAR's potential visitors actually wanted and needed. The individual interviews led me to discover what their motivations, goals, frustrations, and expectations were when browsing adoption agency websites. I was able to visualize my findings through a user persona.
As the main purpose of this project was to enhance CBAR's visibility, it was also important to observe other pet shelters/agencies' efforts to stay ahead of the competition. I analyzed three other similar cat shelters in Toronto (Toronto Cat Rescue, Annex Cat Rescue, Toronto Humane Society) and compared them in the form of a feature matrix. The matrix helped me identify the various ways in which I could improve on CBAR's original website.
Viewing all the competitive features in one glance made it easier to know which features to prioritize when redesigning CBAR's website. I was able to propose a new sitemap based on the matrix and my interview insights. This helped me form a user flow where I could understand how the typical visitor would navigate through the website.
Once the site map and list of necessary features had been established, I sketched out different layout designs before creating the initial low-fidelity responsive wireframes below. The biggest change I made was designing a proper landing page that contained all the necessary information one would expect when browsing a cat shelter. CBAR's current homepage is directed to their blog, where they post specific news and updates that a first-time visitor would not typically be interested in. As such, I thought it would be more user-friendly to keep the blog as a separate link in the navigation menu, and include a cleaner, more welcoming homepage. I opted for a content slider as it would visually inform readers with CBAR's latest news and updates without overcrowding the page. Since the shelter relies heavily on their own local fundraising efforts, I also made sure the landing page included a visible Events Calendar.
I was able to get some honest feedback on my lo-fi wireframes and prototype, which I took into consideration when designing the final high-fidelity desktop prototype. I incorporated CBAR's logo colours throughout the site in order to establish a clear brand identity, and coherently tie all the pages together. I felt that the new design exuded a sense of legitimacy and professionalism - two factors that were important when choosing a cat shelter, according to my user research.
Once the high-fidelity prototype was set up, I recruited participants to test and explore the website. I observed each of them attempt to go through all the necessary steps required for cat adoption.
Each participant was able to successfully complete the given task, while also providing honest feedback on their experience. I summarized my findings in an affinity map so I could instantly see any shared patterns and areas for improvement.
- 100% of the participants were able to successfully go through the cat adoption process
- All participants found the process very easy and straightforward
- All but one participant found that there was enough information on the cat profile page to proceed to adoption
- Suggestions for improvement:
- Option to book viewing appointments with the cat before filling in application
- Add contact information on the footer
- Include more information on CBAR as a local Toronto shelter
- More filters when browsing for cats
- Make Adoption Guide less text-heavy
While I am quite proud of the differences I made to the original CBAR website, if the project had been less time-sensitive I would like to try and work on the following improvements:
- Reiterating on the high-fidelity prototype to include more functionalities and features based on user feedback and suggestions, such as:
- More visuals/illustrations on the adoption process page
- Less whitespace; more content on the homepage
- Possibility to book viewing appointments with the cats before submitting an application form
- Creating and testing a high-fidelity mobile prototype to see if it is as user-friendly and compatible as the desktop site