UX Station
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UX Station

Pet Depot ecommerce site

Creating an online shopping experience for family-owned pet shop

Project Synopsis


As a family-owned local pet shop that values quality products and customer service, Pet Depot sought to create an ecommerce website to sell products to a larger customer base.

Role & Duration

During the 2 week project I followed the process of researching and uncovering the problem, producing design strategies based on synthesized insights, and designing the interface of the website.

Tools & Methods

Competitive analysis | Design strategy | Card sorting | Site mapping | User journeys | Prototyping | Usability testing

Uncovering the problem

“Our business may grow, but we will never lose touch with the personal touch of the small shop that started it all.”

The store wanted an ecommerce site to generate more sales. However the real challenge is to align their business goals with their purpose and values, which is to generate online sales whilst providing top quality products and customer service as a small family shop. So it’s important for the store to incorporate these values in the website and communicate these values to their customers.

Understanding the people

The different types of customers who will use the site are categorised into 3 personas.

Solution Overview — Balancing sales with personal touch

An ecommerce site that balances sales with building trust and connections with their customers, which can be achieved by telling the business story as well as providing customers with the advice and support they need.

The process — Balancing business goals vs. user needs

  • Lessons from the competition — storytelling matters for small businesses

Pet Depot’s competitors on the market are mainly big pet ecommerce businesses including Petbarn, PetO, Pet Stock, Pet Circle, etc. Their sales oriented websites make it easy for the businesses to promote and sell products.

But for small business ecommerce like Pet Depot, prioritising sales without sufficient brand introduction and storytelling wouldn’t be a suitable approach. Similar to other small business ecommerce sites, Pet Depot needs to establish its unique identity and the value it can deliver to its customers, in order to convert site users to paying customers.

  • Sorting products into clear categories — Animals before products

The business has 75 top selling products. I conducted card sorting to find the most efficient way to categorize products to help users quickly find products they are looking for.

The result revealed that users are able to locate products most efficiently when products are categorized by animal type first, then sub-categorised by product varieties under each animal category.

  • Navigating through the site as users

The paths 3 types of users will take to purchase products are as follows:

Mary the new pet owner — seek advice from the Tips & Advice page, choose an article related to the issue she’s experiencing, check products recommended by the store or discussions posted by other customers regarding this issue, and choose products to purchase once she feels assured she’s buying the right products.

Jason the repeat shopper — log in to his profile directly from home page, choose items to reorder from his purchase history, and proceed to checkout.

Jenny the picky customer — get to the menu and check products from particular brands she’s familiar with, and choose products to purchase once she’s happy with the product info on product detail page.


  1. Establishing identity & building trust

2. Providing advice & fostering a sense of community

3. Finding the right product

4. Simplified process for repeat customers

5. Easy checkout process

Reflection & Next steps

The feedback I received for the first rounds of usability testing has been positive. And based on the thorough research I conducted, I’m confident that this solution is what Pet Depot needs in order to achieve their current business objectives. I will keep iterating the prototype based on the testing feedback and finish the UI design.



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