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MENDING HEARTS ANIMAL SHELTER

Recognizing the crucial role adoption shelters play in caring for animals in need, I wanted to create a more inviting and user-friendly online experience for this local shelter, ultimately helping them connect with potential adopters and supporters.

WHAT I DID

User interviews, research, and analysis

Idea generation

Rapid lo-fi prototypes

Iteration feedback

Usability testing

High fidelity prototypes

Mending Hearts is a volunteer-run, nonprofit animal shelter based in Pennsylvania. They are passionate about ensuring their animals receive the happiness and companionship they deserve.

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The problem

Mending Hearts' current website is lacking many important features, namely an adoption page showcasing available pets. I redesigned the homepage and designed an adoption page and animal info page from the ground up.

The goal

Create a simple, streamlined website that is pleasant and inviting for people looking to adopt a pet. I specifically wanted to work on the adoption flow. 

MENDING HEARTS' CURRENT HOMEPAGE

I conducted user interviews which I turned into empathy maps to better understand the target user and their needs.

I discovered that many users want the adoption process to be informative, user-friendly, transparent, and supportive. However, many adoption websites’ adoption process is confusing, there is a lack of important information about the animals, and the interface is cluttered and confusing to navigate...or there is no adoption page at all. 

I formulated four pain points based on user interviews

1

LIMITED INFORMATION

There is often a lack of available information about the animals up for adoption. This includes incomplete or outdated profiles, lack of photos, and inadequate descriptions. 

2

PROCESS

The adoption process is often not clearly explained or there are conflicting instructions, users feel uncertain about how to proceed. 

3

COMMUNICATION

Users need to know who to contact with questions

and concerns.

4

EXPERIENCE

Adoption sites are cluttered and do not provide a pleasant user experience. 

USER PERSONA

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STARTING THE DESIGN

Sitemap

The confusing interface was a primary pain point. I kept this in mind when creating the sitemaps. My goal was to keep the navigation as simple and clean as possible.

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Paper wireframes

After identifying the main user pain points I began ideating. Part of my ideation process involved creating many paper wireframes. Based on user feedback, these were the few ideas that seemed to have the best user flow.

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Digital wireframes

Moving from paper to digital wireframes made it easy to understand how the redesign could help address user pain points. I prioritized button placement and large attention grabbing images to make the experience simple and enjoyable.

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Low-fidelity prototype

To create the low-fidelity prototype, I connected all the screens involved in beginning the adoption process for a particular animal.

At this point, I received feedback from users about things like the placement of buttons, images, page organization, and the ease of the flow itself. I made sure to keep their input in mind when developing the prototype.

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Usability study and findings

Study parameters

I conducted an unmoderated usability study that users could participate in remotely. Each user had 20-30 minutes to complete the task of beginning the adoption process for a dog.

Study findings

  • Users disagreed with the placement of the adoption fee information.

  • Users didn’t like the “tell us about yourself” requirement for the adoption step.

  • Users found the Adoption Fee Guide on the homepage to be obtrusive and confusing.

HIGH FIDELITY PROTOTYPES

BASED ON USER FEEDBACK

Homepage

Adoption page

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Animal info page

Adoption application form

Impact

Our target users stated that the website was easy and pleasurable to navigate. This may motivate users to complete an adoption process, giving more animals a loving home.

What I learned

Small changes can make a big impact on the user experience. The most important takeaway for me is to always focus on the user when making design decisions. I wish I would have had more time on this project to complete the rest of the pages!

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