Guided by user research, the Hamilton Zoo website is optimised for user experience and goal conversion.Hamilton Zoo
Framing the problem
The goal of the Hamilton Zoo website is to enhance the experience of visitors and improve the impact of the zoo’s work by creating awareness and inspiring conservation actions in the community.
From family outings to educational experiences, Hamilton Zoo is an iconic destination and memorable adventure enjoyed by thousands of people each year. Black Sheep Creative was approached to build a new website that delivered the ability for anyone to find with ease the information they needed before visiting the zoo.
Guiding the brief
While the existing website was adequate, it was dated in relation to technology, design and user experience perspectives. It was clear there were a number of opportunities that would help the zoo enhance their online service delivery. To ensure a successful outcome, we agreed to deliver in a user-first way by consulting stakeholders, staff and – most importantly – the wider community, to understand all user needs and deliver an easy-to-use solution.
We undertook in-depth user interviews, talking to 10 real zoo customers on location at the zoo to understand their website experience and map the user journey.
This consultation with various stakeholders and users allowed us to develop two distinct customer personas to guide the design and some clear goals to measure the success of the project, such as:
- Let users buy tickets and engage more services and information online
- Ensure staff had an easy-to-use platform for updating written content and images and redeeming online purchases
- Improve engagement with the website as a platform for influencing positive conservation efforts.
Designing the right solution
In order to achieve the best outcome for Hamilton Zoo, we undertook an in-depth user experience review and conducted user experience research by speaking to and testing the website with zoo visitors and educators.
The outcome reflects this approach by including many improvements for Hamilton Zoo visitors, including the ability to purchase tickets online and find important information such as pricing, opening hours, attractions and keeper talks.
Along with improvements to visitor experience, Black Sheep Creative ensured Hamilton Zoo team members would enjoy a positive experience editing and updating the website themselves, using the SilverStripe content management system and elemental content blocks. They’re not restricted by strict template types which allows them to take control of the layout of their pages as well as the content contained in them.
Set up for success
In addition to website experience improvements, we made sure the Hamilton Zoo can easily track, measure and report on how the website is being used to measure impact and identify ways to improve visitor experience.
Ultimately, the new website doesn’t just improve Hamilton Zoo visitor experience before they even walk through the gates – it also enables the zoo to improve the way they create awareness and inspire conservation actions in the community.