An Animal Lover’s Search Platform

The design and building of a website to help pets find a forever home

The Client

Danimal was formed with one purpose in mind – to help pets find a loving and forever home.

Danimal focuses on working with charities to rehome pets that are in need, but also offers breeders a chance to find local owners for their litters.

 

 

The Brief

Danimal needed a website which would allow people to search for local pets, whether they were looking to purchase or adopt. The site needed to work in a similar way to a property search site, in that location plays a large role in matching pet with owner.

It was important that both buyers and sellers were able to create accounts on the site, but that admins would retain control over what was posted and who was posting it. Danimal also needed design and UX work, everything from a logo to the way users move through the site.

The Challenges

  • creating a memorable brand which conveys the right message to users
  • making sure the location search was always accurate
  • ensuring the site does not slow down even with larger images

Our Solution

Technologies
Sectors

 

Design Requirements

Danimal required a wide range of design and UX support from our in-house team. The first stage for us was to begin wireframing, and from this, we worked out the foundations of the user-flow for creating accounts and transacting with sellers/buyers.

It was important that this flow was intuitive, streamlined and simple in order to encourage people to list their animals and ultimately home as many pets as possible.

Next, we began work on the brand design. We came up with several options for Danimal’s branding, including logos and visual styles, based on Danimal’s instructions as well as our own research, before Danimal decided on the style they wanted to take forward. In all our designs we make sure the website was attractive, easy to browse, search and filter, and the results needed to be very clear, easy to read and understand. We worked to produce a visual identity for Danimal that appealed to both adults and children, represented a variety of pets, but also showed that Danimal is trustworthy and professional.

The Search Function

The website we created Danimal allows users to enter their specifications for a pet, including their location, then presents them with a list of potential pets to choose from. The user can specify the type of pet, breed, and any keywords (such as ‘housetrained’, ‘family friendly’… etc) as well as choosing where the pet comes from (charity, breeder or either). Results are sorted by distance between the buyer and the seller showing the nearest seller on top of the list.

One thing which Danimal wanted to do was encourage people to adopt pets rather always choosing to buy a newborn animal.

Of course, Danimal know that every pet needs a loving home, but often older animals struggle to be rehomed. So, we built in a function within the search which prioritises pets available for adoption from charities. A user can decide to filter their own results, which keeps the search function very user-friendly, but for those open to adoption, this is a good way of ensuring these pets who are most in need are considered.

Buying and Selling Accounts

While the general public can browse the website, anyone wishing to transact using the site must first create a user account. This feature was important to Danimal because it means people must offer some details about themselves before they are able to see contact details for the seller, in case Danimal or the seller need to contact them in the future. In the same way, charities and breeders must give their charity number or kennel number before they are allowed to list their animals.

Admin Functions

 

While Danimal wanted to let people post their own pet listings, it was important for them to retain ultimate control over what was posted on the site and by who.

For this reason, we included in the admin functions the ability for Danimal staff to approve, reject, delete and edit submitted listings. We also made sure the administrator had the power to approve or delete buyer and seller accounts so that Danimal remain in complete control over who is selling on their site and are able to vet them.

Advertising & Layout

Of course, the site is responsive so it is easy to view on any device. Danimal also needed advertising slots in order to bring in revenue so that they could offer their services free of charge to charities. We built in a space for advertising in the form of carefully placed banners, without making the site look cluttered or taking away from the main focus of the site.

 

The Tech

 

The website is mainly written in PHP using the well-known Laravel framework, while the front side of the website uses a Bootstrap framework to ensure proper rendering and touch zooming for all devices. A simple JavaScript code structure has been established to handle UI operations that run in the user’s browser, and well-organised SASS stylesheets define the custom graphic elements that are used in the website. Danimal was built in such a way that any contributing developers in the future will find it easy to read and understand the code. 

The listing search function utilises the open-source Postcodes.io API to obtain the coordinates of UK postcode, which are later used to calculate the approximate distance between the author of a listing and the buyer.

 

Think we can help? Don’t be shy!

Want to Talk to Us?

If you have a project you would like us to take a look at, you can contact us through our contact form and someone will be in touch, or email contact@buildempire.co.uk.

Or, if you prefer, give us a call in the office on 0161 641 2434 for a chat.