A New Leash on Life is an organization based in Oklahoma with a mission to "enhance people's lives by training service dogs, therapy dogs, and rescued dogs." The organization offers dog training classes to the public and runs a program for prison inmates to train dogs as well. Their website serves as a great resource to learn more about the various programs and the people who run the organization. While informative, the website leaves much room for improvement. As a UX designer, I've identified usability flaws in the arrangement of the content and the visual design of the website.
The content of the website suffers from a number of formatting issues that waters down the organization's message and mission. The severity of this problem cannot be overstated. Studies have proven a link between the design of a website and user distrust. While beautiful web design cannot guarantee that a user will trust an organization, deficits in the design can contribute to the user perceiving the website to be distrustful (Seckler, 2015). In other words, formatting issues and unsightly design may have a powerful enough impact on the user to prevent them from registering for the dog training classes the organization provides. Addressing these issues is essential to ensuring that the organization does not lose supporters it may otherwise have.
I've identified several formatting and content issues present on the website and the possible impact each issue has on user experience:
The redesign features a bright, clean color palette that is not unlike the website's original palette. I wanted to maintain elements of the original website to help keep the look and feel of the website new and fresh, yet familiar.
The call to action (in this case, donating to the organization) is now visible multiple times per page. There is a bright donate button on the header and footer.
The organization of content into readable paragraphs was absolutely imperative for the redesign. I paid special attention to the Classes page, as this is where the organization's conversion of curious visitors into long-time supporters takes place. To make the content of this page more digestible, I decided to organize the classes by placing them in boxes. This new format chunks the information, thereby speeding up comprehension and processing time for the user (Moran, 2016).
The user can choose between grid view and list view for classes if they wish.
To break up the wall of text that was present on certain pages, I restructured content into smaller chunks while adding more images. This helps make the page more visually appealing and attention-grabbing.
The redesign of the website will help A New Leash on Life fulfill its mission to enhance people's lives by providing training for dogs. The redesign does so by ensuring that users have an easy time learning about the variety of classes that the organization offers while removing any barriers that may prevent the user from registering for classes. These barriers included the overwhelming arrangement of content and the unsightly visual design of the page.
The redesign may increase the rate of registrations and generate new long-term supporters by helping the organization appear more professional and trustworthy to users. The clarity of information will prevent users from becoming confused or frustrated by the formatting of the information on the page. Furthermore, the redesign helps retain the attention of the user through the addition of images on the page. Ordinarily, users tend to leave a webpage within 10 to 20 seconds (Nielsen, 2011). However, the addition of images and the increased clarity of the classes being offered helps keep the user engaged and interested in the services that the organization provides.
Moran, K. (2016, March 20). How Chunking Helps Content Processing. Retrieved from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/chunking/".
Naji, C. (2019, September 9). Hyperlink Usability: Guidelines For Usable Links. Retrieved from https://usabilitygeek.com/hyperlink-usability-guidelines-usable-links/.
Nielsen, J. (2011, September 11). How Long Do Users Stay on Web Pages? Retrieved from https://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-long-do-users-stay-on-web-pages/.
Russo, N. (2018, October 19). Why Images Are an Important Part of Your Website Strategy. Retrieved from https://businessresources.yp.ca/website/why-images-are-an-important-part-of-your-website-strategy.
Seckler, M., Heinz, S., Forde, S., Tuch, A. N., & Opwis, K. (2015). Trust and distrust on the web: User experiences and website characteristics. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 39-50. https://doi-org.ezproxy.net.ucf.edu/10.1016/j.chb.2014.11.064