Designing a faster search experience

  • 1 Designer/Researcher
  • Product Director
  • UX Director
  • Marketing Director
  • Product Research
  • Product Strategy
  • User Experience Design
  • Visual and Identity Design
  • Usability Research
  • Design Leadership
  • Industry
  • Consumer
  • Pet Welfare
  • 12 Months

Over 17 million pets have found homes because of our client, the world’s number one pet adoption site.

With a large audience of adopters and shelters, there is a strong need to match the right pets with the right people. Most of their visitors wanted to find the perfect pet for them, and our client challenged us to create a better search experience from the homepage. During our partnership, we collaborated with the design team and marketing team to explore updated opportunities to incorporate the parent company’s brand identity. Selma Digital facilitated conversations between different stakeholders within the organization, and led a team of internal designers to reconsider the brand and its possibilities.

Dropdown menu on the website showing different categories of animals

How are customers currently searching for pets, and what’s unique about each audience segment?

As there are many types of pet adopters and many types of pets, we created a matrix of adopter types to ensure we understood the spectrum of user pain points, goals, and needs. The client had extensive data around their target audiences, and we were able to curate this information into different persona types. A journey map was created to visualize the phases of pet adoption, the participants, and how the data systems worked currently on the website. This helped us find gaps in the experience, pain points, and opportunities.

We told the user story in sequence for cat adopters and dog adopters, associating any related insights or additional user tasks with each step in the flow. We presented all of these findings and journeys in a workshop with key stakeholders to create alignment and also to gather additional insights.

Brand iconography

How can we provide a solution for diverse user needs and browsing styles?

Competitive research in tangential industries with strong search experiences helped us find patterns and create a number of concepts for preference testing. We explored different kinds of search interactions to get feedback on first impressions and on the search experience itself.
Concept tests and facilitated conversations were conducted with real users, which helped drive the final concept.

How can we refresh a known brand identity, reinvigorating it with reference to the parent company?

A web product’s visual design, copy, and interactions are all expressions of the brand. Through a series of workshops and work sessions, Selma Digital helped guide the client’s internal marketing team through a process that helped update the client’s visual identity to include a reference to the parent brand’s mark.


▪ Responsive website design for homepage
▪ Search results page
▪ Filtering system
▪ Custom icon design
▪ Photo selection


Our design solution converts more visitors from browsers to pet owners than the previous experience, and an inclusive photography choice creates a stronger emotional connection that elevates the brand.