Validating the online pet adoption process.

UX research to optimise the online pet adoption process through the eyes of the user, for the stars of Channel 4’s hit series, The Dog House.


With millions working from home throughout the pandemic and beyond, many of us considered the numerous benefits of owning a pet and the joy they can bring to our lives. As a result of this change of behaviour and the hugely popular TV series that features the charity, The Dog House, applications for adoption from Woodgreen far outweighed the amount of pets available to rehome, leaving many people disappointed. And although Woodgreen took steps to improve automation and comms through email marketing, a thorough review of the online adoption journey would give Woodgreen confidence that they match the expectations of those enquiring, leading to quality applications rather than quantity.


To identify how the online adoption process could better meet the needs of users, we held a series of 1:1 remote UX research interviews with participants who recently applied to adopt a pet with Woodgreen. Using a mix of metaphor elicitation techniques and task-based research, we explored the overall impressions of the current online journey, identified any barriers, issues or concerns with the user experience and revealed before, during and after expectations of the journey, versus the reality.

Mobile phone showing Woodgreen website.


UX research confirmed that pet seekers come to Woodgreen as it is seen as honest, has integrity, cares deeply about the welfare of dogs and cares about making appropriate matches.

The majority of pet seekers approach the functional part of the application journey with deep consideration and rational thought and believe that they can offer a pet a better life. However, some are left with a lack of understanding about the process and next steps due to vital expectation setting information being missed, throughout the journey.

We made recommendations to update the design, content and copy needs to support the mindset that pet seekers have at the different stages of making their application, and waiting for a match. Allowing key information to be absorbed at the right times, and in the right format to not only set the right expectations for suitable pet seekers, but also to slow down any spontaneous applicants that may not be fully aware of the reality of rehoming.

Dog sitting with owner.

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