Designing with Paws-itivity: Redesigning Poezenparadijs for Happy Cats and Their Owners

Did you know that owning a cat can increase your mental health? No wonder cat owners want to ensure the health and happiness of their cats by providing their furry companions with the best products and care possible. But with so many options available on the internet, finding the right products for our cats isn’t always easy or straightforward. From feeding them the right food to keeping them entertained, caring for your feline companion can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Henk, a Dutch cat dad, understands this problem and started Poezenparadijs (cat’s paradise). This e-commerce website aims to provide consumers with the right product quality information to make informed decisions about their cat’s needs. In the past two years, the website has become very functional. Still, a group of designers — Anaelle, Estefania, Oliver, Salomé, and myself (Ivy), saw an opportunity to improve the website’s design. So that it can become a true paradise for cats and their loving owners.

Poezenparadijs current website

We started by researching the online pet supplies market. With the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more pet owners are turning to the internet to get what their furry friends need. It’s even expected that by 2026, a third of all pet care sales will be made online. We also interviewed Henk to understand his passion for cats and his challenges running the company. We discovered that Pepe and Coco, his cats, inspired him to start the website.

“My goal is to provide consumers with product quality information so they make right decisions.” Henk — Owner Poezenparadijs

We conducted user interviews with five pet parents to understand how they shop for their furry friends. We asked questions like “Where do you usually buy pet supplies?” and “Why is that your preferred method?” We analysed the responses using an affinity diagram and found two key insights resonating with most pet parents. Firstly, they prefer to buy online because it saves time. Secondly, they trust their veterinarian for advice on the best pet products. We concluded that both time and trust were the main drivers of these insights.

“I spend much less time when I shop online and I don’t need to leave my home.” — Pet Parent 1

“My cat is overweight so our vet always says “your cat should lose weight”. We listen to his recommendations.” — Pet Parent 2

Using this information, we created our user persona: Lisa, a nurse and single cat parent who often needs help choosing the best products for her cats, Luna and Belle.

Our User Persona Lisa

We defined a “day in the life” of Lisa and identified her struggle to find the right food for her overweight cat.

Lisa’s Journey

Looking at the user journey, Lisa starts with a quick search on “healthy cat food” as one of her cats is overweight. When researching the internet, she feels lost, which worsens when she picks a product but sees no explanation for why it;s fitting for a fat cat. This makes her feel insecure, and she wishes buying cat food was more straightforward.

Based on Lisa’s challenges, we created a problem statement:

“A concerned and loving cat owner needs to find a way to effortlessly buy and receive high nutritional value food and products from a reliable website because they want to give their cats a good quality of life but have limited time to research.” — Our Problem Statement

We translated our problem statement into three “How Might We” statements to help guide our redesign:

  1. How might we help users find the right products quickly?
  2. How might we help cat owners get reliable information on cat toys and accessories?
  3. How might we help cat owners make informed decisions when buying high-nutritional value food?

We conducted a competitive analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current Poezenparadijs website.

Competitive Analysis in SWOT

Our redesign aimed to showcase a personalized selection of high-quality products, solve confusing categories, and make the website easier to navigate. We used the Moscow Method to define the priorities for our redesign. The must-haves included adding filters, better showcasing user reviews, and improving the store layout with clearer categories.

We focused on creating a minimum viable product (MVP) that aligned with two website goals:

  1. Provide cat owners with healthy nutrition food, self-tested toys, and high-quality accessories.
  2. Help users filter products efficiently and access the right information to make decisions.

This MVP translated into two significant changes to the sitemap, which we felt was otherwise complete. In the original website, we thought that the shop category was too crowded and that the food and accessories categories should be accessible directly from the home page as well. This change was made to improve the user flow, making it easier for cat owners to find what they want.

The User Flow

To achieve a better user experience, we created a new sitemap for the website that focused on the user flow of a cat owner specifically looking for low-calorie food for their cat. We kept in mind that fewer clicks to make a purchase means more efficiency for the user. This new sitemap helped us identify the key pages and features needed to create a seamless and easy-to-use shopping experience.

After creating the new sitemap, we designed our first lo-fi wireframe. We tested it with cat owners to see how they interacted with the new layout. We received valuable feedback, such as making the search bar more visible and where to place logos and the home button. These suggestions were used to create the next iteration of our design.

Feedback on our Low-Fi

With the feedback from the lo-fi wireframe, we designed a mid-fi wireframe that added more detail to the layout. During usability tests, we gathered a lot of valuable input, such as the order of the different sections (reviews, compare, more information) on the product pages. We also learned that users like a visual cue when they put something in their basket. These insights helped us to create a more user-friendly interface.

Feedback on our Mid-Fi

With the mid-fi wireframe in place, we focused on the UI part of the project. We conducted a visual competitive analysis of Poezenparadijs’s competitors. We created style tiles of their websites, along with their brand attributes. Using this information, we brainstormed brand attributes for Poezenparadijs and used dot voting to make a final decision. We each created our own mood board inspired by the brand attributes and selected the best-fitting pictures in one overall mood board. This mood board was then tested by 25 people. We replaced personal with familiar, as 11 people mentioned the word familiar during testing.

Brand Attributes & Mood Board

Based on our mood board, we chose typography and colours. We experimented with different uses of colour and doubted whether to select a blueish, pinkish or beige tint as the primary colour. To settle our debate, we performed a desirability test. The results showed that most preferred a blue tint as the primary colour.

Our final style tile uses a serif font, and blue colour as primary conveys trust to the audience. In parallel, the body text is a clean, modern and legible font. The pink colour gives a kind and sweet feel, and the neutrals contribute to the delicacy and balance of the design.

Style tile

We added all the pictures and colors to meet our MVP in the final design. We added features that save owners time, such as filters, subcategories, compare functions, and bestsellers. We also added features that convey trust, such as product reviews by other cat lovers (with funny pictures of cats), FAQ-section, about us section, and detailed information about each product, including product videos. Additionally, we made the design responsive, creating designs for both iPad and iPhone.

The Hi-Fi design

As the next steps, we’d like to test and iterate the hi-fi prototype, explore the accessories, about us, sections of the website, emphasize the product quality and include Instagram videos and photos to increase the trust and personality of the brand.

This project taught me three valuable lessons:

  1. The users have the answers. During this project, I learned that the best solution is to ask potential users when you are stuck deciding between different features, typography or colours. You get honest feedback that can help you take the next step.
  2. Collaboration is key. In this project, every member brought unique skills and perspectives, which helped create a more well-rounded and effective solution. Collaborating also helped generate new ideas and approaches that may have been impossible with individual work.
  3. Dogs have owners, and cats have staff. Talking to so many cat owners, I was in awe of how dedicated they are to spending time and money to provide the best possible care for their cats!

Hope you enjoyed reading about cat paradise! If you have any questions, feedback or comments please feel free to leave a message.

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