It is important, but not important enough for it to be widely fought for.”

We worked with for the redesign project.

ACRES is an animal protection organisation that plays a part in sustaining the wildlife population in Singapore, receiving close to 800 calls per month and rescuing 300 animals from the illegal trade and from danger.

This can be seen from the core mission, to foster a stronger awareness for wildlife, as well as to improve the welfare of the animals being held captive in the illegal trade. Another value that ACRES abides by would be to educate the public about the wildlife population in Singapore, to allow the public to make informed decisions when facing an animal in distress.

Firefighting vs investigating the root cause

There are two fronts of ACRES; the first being that they essentially are fighting fire by rescuing wildlife in distress and ensuring said animals are protected from the illegal trade, along with the less glamorous portion of it which is where all the closed door meetings and back-end work happens, which is generally not known to the public because nobody is keen about changes in policies and regulations.

Achievements of ACRES since initiation

Even though ACRES is a relatively new organization, their accomplishments are significant and have made an impact on the protection of wildlife in Singapore.

Our research methodology

OurThe research phase was segmented into three phases. The first was the heuristics evaluation, where we used the LEMErS framework to find out what was wrong with the site and what could we do to help improve the of the user when navigating through the pages.

We realised that there were many problems with the existing site as can be seen above, and made it a point to rectify themwith our new prototype.

We also created a content audit to check the extent of the breadth and depth, hoping that it will allow us to make sense of the flow of the pages, for a user accessing the site for the first time.

For our second pillar of research, we proceeded to gather insights. This was done in four phases as seen below.

First we gathered quantitative data by collecting results from our research.

One of the main insights that we gathered was that animal welfare is not of a significant importance in Singapore, as compared to the global view. This is probably due to the stereotype that Singapore is a concrete jungle, and finding wildlife here would only be seen at the zoo.

We then proceeded to conduct user interviews to find out what the general sentiment of wildlife meant to each individual.

We gathered interesting perspectives from individuals, and focused on the ones that are highlighted as can be seen below.

Qualitative data we gathered from the survey
Key findings of the qualitative data

After which, the qualitative data was then synthesised and we summarised it into keywords that portrayed the emotions of the individuals. It was realised that users generally felt frustrated when they see videos or social posts about animal abuse, but they do not feel compelled or motivated enough to donate and volunteer for the cause.

This was surprising because it was an assumption that the population is generally indifferent to wildlife, especially in Singapore.

Money shots of our user interviews!
Data from usability testing

We went through one round of usability testing with three users for the current site, to understand the problems users faced when using the ACRES site.

The greatest challenge was finding the hotline on the page as well as to engaging ACRES for educational purposes. All three users failed these tasks.

Summarised results from our usability testing data

We synthesised the user testings and inferred that these were the main issues faced with the site.

After which a multi-paradigm synthesis was created to combine all the data gathered from the qualitative, quantitative, user testing and user interviews to streamline and focus the prominent issues that were prevalent across the all sets of data.

Our multi paradigm synthesis visualised in a concise manner

Even though this was a school project, we took the initiative to schedule an interview the deputy chief of ACRES to find out about the back-end processes as well as to hear the primary concerns ACRES has.

Concerns faced by ACRES according to importance

We realised that the insights we gathered from our users differ very much from that we got from ACRES.

The primary concern from the organisation was that it is not getting enough funding to help keep the facilities running. Even though they have plenty of volunteers that help with the cause; the upkeep of the sanctuary, the maintenance of the enclosures and overhead costs actually does amount to quite a sum which they have to fork out every month. Because this is a non-governmental organisation, they are generally only funded through donations and subsidies.

Other concerns voiced out would be that their cost remains high because they receive too many calls from the public, and they would require someone to always be on standby to receive any emergency calls.

They need to find a way to bridge the gap, to empower the public with more knowledge on what to do when encountering an animal in distress, thus helping to reduce the need for manpower to tend to the hotline, thereby keeping the costs of running ACRES lower.

The main insights gathered from both the users and the organisation is listed above. These will be issues that will be addressed when we redesign the site.

Prioritising the needs of users and ACRES

A venn diagram was also created to prioritise the needs of both users and the organisation, to find that sweet spot in between where we come in and help with the redesign.

Rachel’s persona

We then proceeded to craft our persona with their needs in mind. Along with that, customer journey maps were also mapped out to enable us to have a clearer understanding of the pains a user will face through their journey of discovering ACRES. We want to put ourselves in the user’s mindset, to help improve the flow and to make concise efforts to keep navigation seamless.

The first persona created is Rachel. She is an account executive and loves her dog, but does not know much about wildlife in Singapore.

She heard about ACRES from a friend at work, and is interested to find out more and possibly volunteer her time on the weekend on to help out at the sanctuary.

Customer Journey map for Rachel (volunteer process)

This customer journey map shows her experience navigating through the site to learn about the wildlife population, as well as to sign up as a volunteer with ACRES.

Mapping out the volunteer process

We also created the process flow a user will take, from the landing page till they successfully sign up as a volunteer.

The second persona crafted is for Kiran. He is a passionate animal advocate who wants to donate and help raise more awareness through social outreach programmes.

Kiran’s persona

The customer journey map simulates his experience trying to donate and to find the section related to social outreach.

Customer journey map for Kiran (donate and engage ACRES process)

A process flow was created as well to better understand the donation process that Kiran will take.

The donation process

With the pain points of the personas brought forward through the emotions they face using the site, we were able to make more informed decisions about what features should be prioritised and which aspect of the site to be made more accessible.

Feature prioritisation of ACRES based on our persona

We also used the MOSCOW matrix to ensure that we did not miss anything that should be of focus in our redesign.

MOSCOW matrix

The next phase was strategy, where we set to plan the overall team process together with the business and mission model canvas, and what could be achieved through the redesign of the site.

This was crucial in providing a clear perspective, moving away from user experience into service design.

Service design is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between the service provider and its customers.

Team process
Mission model canvas
Business model canvas

After which, we proceeded to craft our problem statement with the “How Might We” framework, where we framed our problems in an effective and strategic way and addressed them accordingly.

The main priorities we aimed to target with the redesign would be to create more awareness for ACRES for users of the site, as well as tsimplifying the donation and volunteering processes through reorganisation of the content effectively.

How Might We statements

The solution we are proposing would be to increase awareness of animal welfare as a whole. We will make educational content clearer, and opportunities for collaboration more accessible, such that site visitors would be compelled to support the cause.

A blueprint of how our digital platform as also created to help improve corporate collaborations and volunteering experience.

Digital eco system

The service design blueprint was set-up to elaborate on the entire process a user will take, beginning with awareness and ending at advocacy.

Service design blueprint

Our product redesign strategy would be to bring value to both ACRES and their audiences in phases; via improved gains, unrealised gains as well as potential gains. This can be seen in the slide below

Product delivery strategy

We want to eliminate poor content strategy, bad web functionality and unappealing visual direction.

By doing so, this would help to raise the sign-ups of volunteers by increasing conversion rates through the online platform.

We also want to tasrget the reduction of unnecessary content on the site structure (e.g. navigation controls, visuals, call to action) to create value for users by providing useful information that are accessible for them readily.

Strategy for copy direction

The redesign strategy would also include restructuring the copy to align it with the brand direction, by using authority and sympathy bias, as well as sunk-cost fallacy and the loss-aversion mindset.

The next phase was the rebranding. We had to first understand what we were working with.

This was done in a few phases, first by auditing the brand thoroughly.

Photo inconsistency
Type treatment unappealing
Inconsistent use of grids for different pages

We re-aligned the brand to make it relatable; to standardise the fonts and the grid, as well as to have images that showcase the personalities of animals, thus humanising them to make it relatable to the public, thus drawing them to the site.

Font family used and primary color selection
Grid selection for webpage
Photos showcasing personalities

Our first set of wireframes were created and tested with users.

The feedback we received was helpful in allowing us to iterate our designs.

The comments we received from our second round of testing with users proved positive and guided us in finalising our designs for the prototype.

Synthesised comments from our iterations (usability test 1 & 2)
Usability testing improvements (time)
Rating of the usability tests

And the images below showcases our final prototype. The link to view the site can be found here:

Desktop version
Mobile version
Navigation bar improvements
Stronger CTA buttons for donations
Have a look at our prototype!

We provided a slide for the next steps ACRES could take should this project be implemented.

The brand canvas we created for ACRES

This would not have been possible without my teammates, Zack, Brenda and JX.

Final Thoughts

This project was filled with highs and lows, from intense discussions and debates, to mellow moments where we feel for the animals that ACRES rescues.

Everyone in the team comes from diverse backgrounds. We came together as a team to deliver a product and service that went beyond the brief. Everyone contributed, played their part and went above and beyond to make this project come to life.

I am grateful to my team members for going through this. I believed that I have grown with this experience, and I am now able to have a clearer understanding of the users’ needs through this exercise.

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