top of page
Anchor 1

Toronto Humane Society - IA Redesign

Frame 3 (1).png

Project Overview:

A redesign of the Toronto Humane Society (THS) website that provides information regarding adoption, animal wellness, and pet training for animal lovers living in Toronto.

Teammates: Lauren Baek, Michael Do, Rainny Qiu


My Role:


  • Lead a content analysis of the THS website

  • Facilitated tree-tests and card sorts activities

  • Created a clickable medium-fidelity prototype

Tools: OnPoint Suite (Content Auditor), Optimal Workshop, Figma

System: Desktop (Browser)

Methodologies: Online Surveys, Tree-Tests, Closed Card Sorts

The Problem
The Toronto Humane Society (THS) is an information website meant for users who are interested in adoption, animal wellness, pet training. The current information architecture does not present their content clearly and consistently. Additionally, other services that the THS offers are difficult to find and, at times, completely inaccessible.
The Solution
We focused on recreating the navigational system of the THS website in order to make the experience of browsing efficient and intuitive. Additionally, we organized the content to reflect our primary users' mental models based on the results of our primary research.

About the Toronto Humane Society

image 31.png
Goal: to promote humane care and protection of all animals and to prevent cruelty and suffering towards animals.
Mission: to be a best-in-class animal shelter by following no-kill principles and working in partnership with the community to find creative solutions and improve outcomes for all animals.
Audience: animal lovers or aspiring pet-owners who want to shelter a pet, adopt a pet, take care of their pet, train their pet, or engage with the community through volunteer work.

Content Audit

We conducted a content audit using OnPointSuite to determine current issues within the information architecture.


The average reading time was 5 minutes, indicating the majority of material found on the website is easily digestible, while also being easy to read. The reading grade for the website was a 8.9, with a reading easer score of 66.6. These assessments were graded against the Flesch-Kincaid.


The reading level (grade 6) is at an appropriate level and falls within the recommended reading range (60-70), the team noticed the websites made use of unfamiliar jargon and terminology. This could leave the user feeling confused with the content they are reading, further supporting the need of an IA redesign.

Current Sitemap


User Research

Online Survey & Tree-testing
We decided to use a survey to focus on exploring who our users are, what content they use and find valuable, how they believe the IA could be improved, and what about the IA frustrates users.
Tree-testing helped us gain a baseline understanding of how users navigate the current IA with the tasks that we have created. It also highlighted the inefficiency of the THS website, and what aspects of it are confusing to the user.
Through our user research, we have found that the THS’s IA is flawed in a variety of ways that hinders users’ attempts to utilize its online programs and services. THS’s mission statement is to promote humane care and protection of all animals and to prevent cruelty and suffering towards animals; however, architectural issues with the website impedes on these goals.
Through our online survey and tree-testing, we found:

3/4 of participants did not believe that the Toronto Humane Society did not meet their expectations in providing pertinent information and resources.

Participants took an average of 2 minutes and 46 seconds to navigate a tree-test of the website, yielding an average success rate of 54% 

Participants found themselves needing to backtrack 44% of the time when navigating a tree-test

Card Sort Study
The card sort study was used to assess the mental models of our animal-loving participants with regard to how they associate certain subpages with their corresponding global navigation buckets.
The study reaffirmed our findings in our user research analysis, highlighting how difficult it is to navigate the Toronto Humane Society (THS) website.
The study also indicated that THS' representative users were neither able to differentiate or understand the rationale behind identified redundant categories, expressing frustration when seeing the same category in multiple locations under the same navigation.
Through our card sort study, we found:
Outdated and Irrelevant Content
Users who consistently run into outdated information and irrelevant content could potentially be misinformed about the website's services, such as finding information about pets who have already been adopted
Redundant Information
Users who are looking for specific information (e.g., ‘Adopting a Pet’) may find redundancy throughout their investigation, which could potentially mislead individuals as they browse the website’s content
Disorganized Categorization
Users find it difficult to find certain services embedded within the website as they are often categorized within irrelevant content. For example, the ‘Build Your Will’ resource is categorized under ‘Support Us’ tab
Inconsistent Readability
Readability is not consistent throughout the website, which could impact users and their ability to find and understand information they find. For example, the web page ‘Pet Parent Support’ uses terminology that lacks context, such as ‘the Five Freedoms’, and profession-related jargon (e.g., ‘Certified Animal Welfare Administrators’)

New Information Architecture

Taking into consideration our user research, we proposed the following changes:
Removal of Irrelevant Content Categories - by removing irrelevant content categories that do not align with the organization’s goals from the navigation, users can easily identify key  services the organization offers
Removal of Redundant Categories - by removing redundant categories from the navigation, users won't be mislead when browsing the website’s content
Recategorize the Navigation - by recategorizing the navigation, users can easily navigate to specific services easily
Rename the Current Labelling to Improve Readability - by renaming some of the current labels in the navigation, users can easily identify where they are located and how to get to their final destination

Redesigned Sitemap

We designed a clickable medium-fidelity prototype of our envisioned Toronto Humane Society website on Figma.


It includes changes to the global navigation, categorization of content, and removing redundant categories to improve the user experience. 


What I Learned:

  • The importance of having efficient and effective meetings. Sometimes the team would discuss unrelated topics or would meet up for less than an hour, which led to longer meetings down the road as we attempted to make up for lost ground. The team would have been more effective if we reiterated on our priorities and stayed consistent.


  • To give everyone an opportunity to voice their opinions when making a decision. Some people are extroverted while others are introverted; regardless of personality type, it is important to include everyone in a hot discussion/debate, even if it means acknowledging them directly to get them engaged. 

bottom of page