UX/UI, Research, Web Design

Wild House

Changes the way you understand reptiles


Wild House is an online pet reptile website focused on educating potential and current pet owners about pet reptiles' behaviour and needs before they get one.

This was the capstone project for my graduate program in Interactive Media Management at Centennial College. This involved research, content strategy, user testing and multiple design iterations. I had three collaborators to provide support and offer valuable feedback.


Student Project



My Role

UX designer
(User Research, Prototyping & Testing, UX/UI Design, Information Architecture, Pitching)

Project Time

3 months
(May 2022 – Aug 2022)


Why was this website made?

I worked in a reptile store as a part-time worker for almost two years. I enjoy giving care to small animals, especially reptiles. While working in a reptile store, I always see people struggling with how to take care of their new pets, not to mention some of the pet parents were taking care of their reptiles wrong. This sparked the inspiration to dig into the problem and find out a way to be a part of promoting education about having reptiles as pets.


Understanding the problem

Initially, I did some research about the reptile industry. My goal is to understand the problem and get insight from the literature. It was revealed that:

  • This statistic shows the number of reptiles owned as pets in Canada from 2006 to 2020 is increasing (Emma & 28, 2021).
  • In the study, 220 pet reptile owners in Portugal reported over 85% of participants failed to provide at least one of the four husbandry needs(lighting, temperature, diet and refuge) (Azevedo et al., 2021).
  • The number of pet reptiles rescued by the charity RSPCA has risen (Coleman-Phillips, 2017).
The pet shops are often sold to buyers with very little or no information about how to care for them or the commitment that is involved in keeping them healthy.
NicolaWhite, a senior RSPCA officer in exotic animal welfare

User research

As a pet reptile parent, I understand the pains of finding and researching the acquired information. To validate these problems, I conducted the concept validation survey with 18 random pet owners, animal lovers and other potential users. The survey focused on assessing the need and the respondents’ views on these problems.
From the survey, I discovered:

  • Nearly 90% of respondents feel positive about solving the project’s problem
  • Some of them search online and ask someone who has the experience, but it takes a long time to have the answer
  • They feel frustrated with scanning tons of information and find it difficult to verify whether the information is adaptable or not
My husband and I have ever raised two turtles. Unfortunately, One day, we found one of the two had lost its balance in the water. We did not pay much attention until he ate nothing, and we realized this poor turtle was sick. However, we did not know how to cure them. And I search on the internet for tons of information. I finally found a community where many turtle owners discuss how to raise them and get valuable information, but it is really frustrating to scan tons of useless information.
One of the respondents
I need to find all the information about its habitat, how to take care of them, where the vet can cure them etc. The information is fragmented and confusing among different sources. Another thing is I don't really know how much effort is required before choosing a reptile.
One of the respondents

Comparative analyses

In addition to conducting the survey, I conducted comparative analyses of three potential competitors to broaden my research and identify the opportunity gaps between users’ needs and the existing product. I researched three reptile industry products and compared them in four sections: product description, promotion, internationalization and opportunities. The findings are:

  • Insufficient information for the pet owners

    Some of the products provide users with descriptions of the type of reptile. However, they do not mention the husbandry needs for the reptile, such as the lighting, refuge, temperature and diet. It does not give a complete picture to users about keeping their pet healthy, the challenge and accountability.

  • Lack of a clear care guide for beginner owners

    There is no care guide or advice for first-time pet owners. Some of them have no idea how to start, from choosing the type of pet to keeping the pet healthy. It gave a challenging experience to users for having proper preparation for the first time.


Defining the problem statement

After gathering the findings from the initial research, I define the problem statement:

Many pet owners are interested in reptile hobbies but without sufficient knowledge on how to pet them. Even if they want to acquire that knowledge, it takes time to research and ask for advice. It frustrates the owners and even puts their pet reptiles at risk if they find the wrong information.

Product vision and solution

From these findings, I decided as a product to identify key business goals:

  • Focus on educating potential and current pet owners about pet reptiles' behaviour and needs in order to allow users to better understand keeping reptiles as pets, such as the species, care, budget, challenge, and responsibility before taking care of them
  • Help the first time owner to start their pet parent journey by providing advice on what they need to consider and prepare
  • Provide users with thorough guidance on keeping the reptile healthy and ignite a passion for giving the best care to the pets

Target User

  1. New pet reptile owners
  2. Current pet reptile owners, breeders, or collectors

User personas

Based on the user research and survey, two key user types were recognized for which the project tried to solve problems.

Persona 1: Darla Wood

Darla is an elementary teacher. She suggests the faculty have a class pet. She is excited to bring the class pet into her class, but she is concerned about how to take care of it and how to start as she is no experience having reptiles.

Persona 2: William Coleman

William is a freelancer, and he has one pet reptile bearded dragon. He is looking for the best supplies for his pet. William wants to build the terrarium on his own for his pet. However, he finds it difficult to imagine the finished terrarium while choosing the component for his pet.

Journey maps

To understand user needs and better empathize with their pain points, the journey maps were identified to find out frustrating or confusing situations and uncover gaps in their reptile journey so that I could take action to optimize the experience.



My goal is to develop solutions to help first pet owners clearly understand the considerations before making a big commitment. Therefore, I decided to conduct a workshop with my collaborators to brainstorm ideas.

The workshop topic: How to guide first pet reptile owners to learn essential knowledge before getting one

Insights from the workshop:

  • Step-by-step instruction or what-to-so list

    It is a straightforward way to allow users to learn new things and makes it easy to know how to start getting a pet reptile

  • A pet handbook and product quiz

    The features of the pet reptile handbook and product quiz were brought up during the ideation session and got the most votes when considering the priorities by the feasibility and validation to solve the problem.

Defining the key features

Based on the ideation session and user research, I then identified the following key user moments:

  • The reptile care guide

    Provide comprehensive information about the reptile's needs and habitats

  • Recommendation Quiz

    Help the first-time reptile owner or beginner to discover what reptile best fits based on their preference, lifestyle, and so on

  • Personalized Recommendation Supplies List

    Users can easily know what they need to prepare to purchase for their new pet or edit the list for their pet

  • Customize the Terrarium

    Users can view the supplies visually and customize the tank for their pets

  • Keep the Reptile Healthy

    Users can review their order or pet anytime, and it provides additional resources for all things keeping the reptile healthy

User experience theme

After brainstorming the ideas, I created a user experience theme that captures the value my project will bring to users.


Quick prototype and user test

Before developing the complete user flow, I started by sketching out ideas as a draft prototype, bringing it to potential users, and interviewing them to gather insights for future iterations.

The draft prototype is developed to test if the user can choose a pet reptile and add it to the cart. It provides two flows to achieve the outcome. The user test focuses on how the tester will react, behave, and reflect. I found 6 testers, including 3 peers with no knowledge about reptiles and 3 friends who are my target users with experience with reptiles. The insights from the user interview:

  • The product quiz should provide more than one recommendation to users
  • Allow users to redo the quiz and check the quiz result on other pages
  • Users feel tired doing the quiz, so it should keep it simple and concise
  • Suggest adding some interesting facts about the pet


Some testers suggest alternative ways to present the tone of voice that show a sense of empathy with the reptile. It reminds me of the importance of having a clear brand message and establishing trust with my audience.


Based on the user feedback, I began determining the user flow and developing low-fidelity wireframes.

Receiving feedback from my tutors, peers, and potential users, I designed multiple iterations, starting from one version focused on e-commerce to another, that helped users start their reptile journey. I was focused on the look of the design and did not keep in mind the user's pain.

I reviewed the user journeys and users' pain and made changes to the flow.

User Flow - Before
User Flow - After
  1. After providing the quiz result, it links to the pet's care guide rather than the product page. It walks through the instruction step by step.
  2. After the care guide, users can view the pet's supplies list. It selected the recommended item in default, giving a starter a concept of the essential supplies and easy to order.
  3. Also, It allows users to save the care guide and supplied list.

High-fidelity Prototype

After the process, I switched to creating high-fidelity screens. User testing is involved at every milestone of the project to identify the biggest pain points in the current version. These are the changes after gathering the feedback.

Care Guide
Supplies List
Account Page
Reptiles List
Reptile Page

Results and takeaways

This was my first time taking a UX project from scratch to a working prototype in a short period. It was an enjoyable learning experience that allowed me to exercise solid design thinking and deliver the design strategy to my audience. Also, I was fortunate to have some incredible collaborators to support and provide valuable feedback.

Some key takeaways from this project are:

  • Do not focus too much on the UI design

    I was focused on being creative with the look of the UI. So, I keep in mind that it is more important to think beyond the edge of the screen rather than focusing on the website's design.

  • Make sure to focus on the issue

    Earlier in my journey, I made the mistake of losing sight of the user pains when I was working it on the day-to-day. Fortunately, my professor reminded me and helped me reset my direction. I took a step back and considered the big picture to reevaluate the solutions.

  • Prioritize features

    There is only limited time for the project, so I need to focus on the features that can deliver the highest value for my users.

Thanks for reading!

Tools used:

  • Figma and InVision
  • Adobe CC Illustrator and Photoshop