The greatest hurdle our team faced was untangling the current architecture and finding ways to deliver better calls to action that would communicate to different key user groups. The donation process required an overhaul due to inconsistent messaging and a rigid form experience—some users were landing on the donation page, but not taking any action, while others were known to donate many times, but were hesitant to become monthly donors. We also found that the taxonomy around different key animal issues and calls to action became confusing to their audiences. This went hand in hand with the work around the architecture and overall navigation, so the first action we took was simple labeling exercises with stakeholders and users to see if we could slim down the top-level navigation as much as possible, while also sending clearer messages that aligned with ASPCA's brand message.
My team and I began this journey by initially conducting several rounds of stakeholder interviews with education and resource teams, engagement teams, marketing, and executive leadership to better understand what their expectations and goals were for the site. We discovered a lack of communication between teams around content that fit ASPCA's strategic plan and in addition, there was no sense of curation. The site was also filled with legacy content, duplicates, and dead links. This was partially due to their current CMS platform becoming an obstacle that prevented content from posting in a timely manner, which was difficult to maintain internally.
Create better pathways for users to find information and create standards for content to be deposited internally.
Expand and improve engagement surrounding donations and fundraising by creating ways to track progress and content that is relevant to the cause, while making active donors feel more appreciated and recognized.
Develop effective ways that show how donor money is used in support of key animal groups by exposing the outcomes. This led to a focus on the initiatives and goals in ASPCA's strategic plan, which was to increase pet adoption from shelters and strengthen animal protection under the law.
Generate a feeling of sympathy and urgency through content to entice prospective donors and provide clear and easy pathways to donate.
While it was evident that ASPCA's website was outdated and needed some love, we wanted to collect more data on how long time users were accessing the site. We probed for the kind of content that draws them back, the drivers that lead them to give or hesitate to do so, and overall likes and dislikes of the current experience. We also took the opportunity to use eye-tracking software to validate a few of the pain points that they experienced on the site.
We developed personas for each of our key user groups based on information gathered from ten rounds of 60-minute interviews.
With the conversations from the user interviews fresh in our minds, we wanted to evaluate how other visitors are using the site and understand what their specific behaviors are. After requesting access to the ASPCA’s Google Analytics, we were able to view data including the channels visitors were coming from, the pages that were getting the most views, and top search results.
A few of the big themes we found were that many of the competing organizations were aligning their primary navigation with their mission to help users understand what the problem is, what the solution is, and how they can help. Other themes were offering transparency around how different donation amounts were being used and communicating the benefits of becoming a monthly donor vs. a one-time donor.
We pulled 5 users from our initial interviews and presented them with three possible navigation possibilities. We asked what they would expect to find behind each label and what combination felt the is most intuitive.
The combination of "Animals in Crisis”, “Our Response”, and “How You Can Help" was most intuitive to 3 out of 5 users, but "Key Issues" was the most accurate label and provided the least amount of confusion when users were prompted to explain what they thought it meant. Some users felt that "Our Work" suggested only work the ASPCA had done in the past—not future goals they were working towards.
Utilizing the information gathered from the labeling exercise, we worked with the ASPCA to deliver the most effective labels for the new site architecture's top-level navigation. We began breaking down all of the existing areas and trimming the fat. A primary benefit of our top-level navigation solution was that it also translated well into the structure of each animal group. This would offer users of specific interests a more personally meaningful and consistent experience.
We began to build and test wireframes to validate that our navigation was aligning with the donor's journey and guiding visitors to key decision touchpoints throughout the website. I worked closely with the visual designer, Samantha Catoggio, to ensure that we deliver a unified and modern experience that aligned with the brand message.
The goal of the new design was to elevate the issues of key animals in crisis, facilitate the communication of ASPCA objectives, and streamline pathways for visitors to take action.
We created contextual and personalized calls to action using emotive imagery and facts that triggered empathy and as a result, increased donations.
The new fundraiser page offered a way to track progress and view donations as they came in.
The new donation form offered a more user-friendly experience and incentivized the benefits of becoming a monthly donor.
Overall, users found the site to be much more intuitive—making it easier to source information that is important to them.
Users found the updated donation form easier to complete and the pathways to donate much easier to navigate. This ultimately helped improve their understanding of the advantages to becoming a monthly donor during the donation process.
Sign-up and registration for fundraisers became more intuitive and streamlined. Fundraisers also ended up with a more efficient model to track their progress.