The San Francisco Zoo

Initial impressions

Upon visiting the SF zoo website three things immediately came to mind. 

  1. There is a lot of information here. 
  2. The Zoo’s information is spread out all over the site, requiring users to remember dates, times, and cost while navigating between pages.
  3. The Zoo wants people to become members. Options for membership appear more than any other task. 

Architecture

The first thing I did was list out the information architecture of the site. I wanted to see if there was any way to condense or move pages so they might flow better into one another or require less navigation back and forth.
What I noticed was the “plan your visit” section had a large amount of unnecessary navigation. “Directions and parking” were lumped in with events and ticket sales. Tickets and information should be two separate groupings. The SF Zoo has a lot of great events but they are hidden from the user when they go to the “tickets” page. The events pages also suffer by listing dates and times per description. If I wanted to go to the zoo next weekend, I would have to check each event page to see if the dates matched up. Then, I would have to remember the dates of events that might persuade me to move my trip to the following weekend.

Ideation

I decided to incorporate the events page and tickets page into a single portal where users could add events and add-ons and plan their trip easily with a near-by calendar.

Solution

I came up with this relatively simple but successful solution. Users could quickly select the dates they were planning on attending the zoo and be presented with the events happing that week. Events would be color coated to represent paid tours or free events. When adding the events/ tours to their basket an automatic itinerary would populate their sales receipt. Clicking on the events in the calendar or on the main page would provide more information. Also, seeing the cost of the events compared to membership rates would prompt users to consider purchasing a membership. I reinforced this idea by creating a visual hierarchy of gold to move the viewer’s eyes towards membership.

This design could also be applied to scheduling and viewing the cost of group parties, private events, and combo packages.

Another benefit is that the SF Zoo site architecture could stay the same. Users already familiar with the site could still click through the pages the same way they had always done.

With more iterations, I would plan to condense the site categories further.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,
J

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