Much like other visual and experiential mediums, web design is most noticeable when the UX is clunky, nonfunctional or outdated. A cohesive and engaging website should blend into the background so the information and function can shine. Most visitors shouldn’t even notice when they're experiencing an exceptional web design (unless, of course, they're in marketing and on the lookout for them).
In our increasingly online world, consumers used to high-quality websites can quickly spot a dysfunctional experience and will disengage to find a better one. When trying to help pets in a home, you don’t want potential adopters to ignore them due to an outdated site.
After many years with the same site, we partnered with Rescue Village, an Ohio-based pet rescue and adoption organization, to update its online presence. To help more pets find their forever homes, we sought to enhance the overall online experience and make it easier for adopters to find their next pet.
We started the project by refreshing the UX design. Our aim? To help those eager pet seekers easily find their furry, feathered or farm-friendly friends, along with all the information on Rescue Village and their mission. But we didn't stop at just making things user-friendly; we wanted to engage visitors with visuals that would make the animals the undeniable stars of the show – because, let's face it, they're the main attraction.
But why stop there? After all, there are more ways to get involved than simply adopting a pet. Rescue Village wanted to help visitors get involved in various ways, including financially. So, we looked to incorporate an e-commerce store so visitors could donate directly to Rescue Village services on a one-time or recurring basis.
The site was built on WordPress, using flexible technology. This strategic choice enables Rescue Village administrators with little to no development background to make quick changes or create future templates and layouts effortlessly.
We implemented WooCommerce to build an e-commerce store seamlessly integrated into the site's overall framework. This allows pet lovers to easily donate directly to Rescue Village or become sponsors for animals waiting for adoption.
Speaking of adoption, to make the site fully functional and meet the project's original goals, we integrated Shelterluv software, which powers the adoption interface on the site. Shelterluv offers potential adopters a user-friendly platform to browse all the animals needing homes. Visitors can filter their search to find specific types of animals or even individual animals available for adoption. This integration ensures a smooth and engaging user experience for those looking to adopt, making it easier for the animals at Rescue Village to find loving homes.
After a few rounds of design and iterations, we landed on a final layout aligning with Rescue Village’s brand and adhering to all the website guidelines as a verified nonprofit. In the first three months of the site being live, visitor traffic increased by 16%.
The increase is attributed to keywords ranking between 1 and 20 on Google and their growth. Before our work, Google Analytics was not integrated, so this tracking was done with Ahrefs. However, since the new site has GA4 installed, we can better track organic user visits moving forward.
Overall, web design takes a lot of work upfront, but the benefits far outweigh the effort. Seamless, engaging and intuitive web design is not something we take for granted. We go through rounds and rounds of ideation and iterations before we call a project complete.
At thunder::tech, we pride ourselves on collaboration. Through many conversations, we’re never building in an echo chamber; instead, we work directly with our clients. We want to fully understand the vision and parameters so we can execute with precision.
Looking to upgrade your website? Our development team is ready to help. Let’s reimagine your online presence. Contact us today!
Gabriella Caldwell is a Digital Marketing Strategist at thunder::tech. Outside of the office she can be found in a ceramics studio sculpting away, or visiting local art galleries.
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