Re-Homing Dogs and Cats in Edinburgh

Website development and UX design for Edinburgh’s dogs and cats

How our Website Development Skills Clicked Home

Since 1883, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home (EDCH) has been taking care of the city’s lost and abandoned pets.

Powered by a dedicated team of fifty skilled staff and volunteers, the Home is a well-known and much-loved part of the capital’s community. It’s a big success story too. More than five-out-of-ten lost cats and dogs, for instance, are reunited with their owners.

In cases where owners remain untraced after seven days, a structured rehoming process begins. It’s an effort that characterises the organisation’s mission to rescue, reunite and rehome dogs and cats across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Searching for a New Home

Thanks to an increase in services, resources and a host of new strategic objectives, the Home recognised a need to revisit its website design.

Created in 2014, the site was failing to keep pace with exciting advances and opportunities the Home was keen to embrace.

So in 2018, the Home asked Hookson to use our website design skills to develop a new site. The website would engage visitors, inspire support and donations. Above all, it would communicate the Home’s winning personality.

Building Razor-Sharp Search Functionality into Website Development

For potential owners to locate a match made in heaven, the new website development would require a razor-sharp search facility that cut to the chase. Seamlessly integrating the website with Fundraising and Donation Platforms was also a must. With a steady flow of contributions essential to the Home’s success, making it easy to donate, volunteer and raise funds would be a priority.

For a cost-effective solution, EDCH required easy internal management of on-site content. In order to satisfy this, we would build the new website design on WordPress. This would provide a system for simple in-house content management

Our website development skills put crucial services within easy reach

Allowing the Home’s Positive Personality to Take the Lead

A further major requirement was for the new website development to communicate EDCH’s bright, optimistic character, and its place in the community. Our design would therefore allow the home’s positive personality to shine. Social media would play a large role in this, so a website linked with major channels would be a great fit for uplifting stories and engaging images.

Helping Visitors Find a Furry Friend for Life

Our easy-to-use search facility made finding the perfect pet a snap. Located prominently on the site’s homepage, visitors could swiftly tick criteria, like age and sex. After that, they arrived at a heart-warming gallery of potential pets. From there, we directed website users to visit the Home in person. Our search tool therefore encouraged interaction and worked on both an emotional and practical level.

Making it Simple to Donate and Raise Funds

The lifeblood of any charitable organisation is the attracting of funds from both established and new sources.

With this in mind, our website development gathered, under one go-to Support Us landing page, the assorted ways people could help the Home. These included holding fundraising events, volunteering, and one-off and regular donating. From this image-laden location, visitors were just a click away from pages loaded with further information, ideas and inspiration.

Building a one-stop-shop for support greatly assisted user experience: everything a keen visitor required was instantly reachable from the home page. Additionally, a prominent Donate button featured in the header section of every website page.

Putting the Home in Charge with an Easy-to-Update WordPress Build

Lowering costs is something every business welcomes. And in the case of a charitable organisation, less spend means achieving significantly more good things.

The Home required an easy-to-use content management system: a platform allowing staff to update and maintain the new website.

Hookson created the new website on WordPress and ensured multiple staff members could update images, news, articles and blogs.

At a location where new stories – and lovable new visitors – emerge every day, this solution put the Home in the driving seat and subsequently removed the need for reliance on outside agencies.

Any visitor to Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home knows what a joyful and emotional place it is. Our brief was to ensure that any visitor to the Home’s website also experienced that same rush.

Communicating a Happy Home Full of Love and Life

Our strategy was visually led. Firstly, in creating assets, large widescreen shots of the Home’s dogs and cats adorned each page’s header. Secondly, across page content we mixed things up: relying on shots of animal residents and staff interacting with them.

Our WordPress build also provided an ideal home for easily shareable video content. This ranged from the light-hearted and informative to the emotionally charged.

Further communicating the Home’s purpose and personality, the website featured a blog, useful advice, tips and stories. Assisting navigation, key sections, including Support Us; Boarding and Advice; and Education were always accessible via the site’s header.

Getting the Word out There by Letting Social Media off the Leash

In particular, a major component of the Home’s new website development would be integration with social media channels.

We connected the new site with channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

On the new home page, Facebook and Twitter feeds pulled in news and updates, and gathered followers, retweets and likes. As a result, this greatly engaged visitors and encouraged sharing across platforms. And thanks to a reliable supply of arresting animal images, Instagram was tailor-made for the Home.

Ensuring swift access to all channels, we also ensured social media buttons – and a newsletter sign-up – were on hand via the footer sections of every page.