Ballard.dog is a new business offering pet care services in Ballard, Seattle. The initial website used a common template for pet care services on website builder. It didn’t meet neither users’ needs nor business owners’ wishes.
- Build a local customer base.
- Differentiate themselves both from large corporate dog-walking businesses and non-professional networking platforms.
- Manage the website themselves.
The re-design process
I used several approaches concurrently:
- assessing the usability of the current website in terms of navigation, readability, consistency, responsiveness and suggesting a number of changes and improvements,
- analyzing competitors’ websites to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and made a number of recommendations based on this research,
- providing editorial feedbacks regarding texts and images, to better reflect the business brand (local, family company),
- defining users’ expectations. This was done through short interviews of dog owners, as well as a quick questionnaire.
User research revealed a number of needs and pain points with existing pet care services.
- Dog owners need on-demand, last minute walking or boarding services, when unexpected things happen at their job or in their life.
- Many dogs have special needs as they are anxious, have difficulty socializing, etc. They need a service capable to adapt to their dog’s specific behavior and character.
- Existing pet care services don’t always work for them: dog walkers caring for multiple dogs at once, dog day care in large structure with little human contact and attention, incompatibility of characters between their dog and the carer’s own pet.
These insights were used to reframe the services offered and reword their descriptions on the website, enphasizing flexibility in terms of schedule, adaptability to all types of dogs and personal attention given to the pet.
The new design
I recommended using wordpress rather than website builder, for its greater flexibility, possibility to use a responsive theme and user-friendliness for non technical people, in particular for updates and new contributions.
I suggested a parallax layout, using the wordpress theme Affinity. Customers can thus browse through the services and testimonials without clicking. Large images of animals currently in their care are both a way to draw animal lovers to the website and incite them to scroll further. They also reinforce the message that pets are safe and happy at ballard.dog.
I designed a large logo for the top slide, reflecting partly their existing business card. I chose to include the domain name to emphasize the local character of this service.
You can browse the new website at ballard.dog.