Paignton Zoo is part of Wild Planet Trust. The Trust was established in 2019; however, our work as a registered education, scientific and conservation charity goes back to 1957, with the formation of the Herbert Whitley Trust (later to become the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust).
Although based in Devon, our work has a truly global impact, as we strive to achieve our vision through our field projects, and by inspiring our guests that visit our zoos and reserves.
With new branding launched, and an old and restrictive content management system (CMS) hampering progress, it was time for The Wild Planet Trust to refresh their Paignton and Newquay Zoo websites. Having worked on The Wild Planet Trust website itself, we knew exactly what was needed.
Their main objective was to generate revenue by selling tickets and special products such as animal adoptions, animal experiences and annual passes. Later, an online gift shop would be introduced, allowing customers to purchase items you would find at the zoos themselves. All of this would need to be achieved by attracting new and existing visitors with engaging content, imagery and updates that could be easily found and navigated by users.
Our first task was to move the websites from their old third-party CMS to WordPress so that we could streamline the three sites (including WPT). From here, we could create a set of websites that would grow with the Trust and would be easy to maintain and update for all involved parties.
Using the brand guidelines, our team designed the new websites to utilise the bright and bold colours, along with distinctive shapes and animations, to create that family-fun feeling you would find at the zoo. For example, we used cut-out images of the animals to make them ‘pop’ out of the screen and gave them movement to add interest. Important links, such as ‘Buy Tickets’, ‘Newsletter Sign Up’, and ‘Online Shop’ were pinned in prominent locations on all device types, to signpost the user no matter where they were on the website.
During the build, we worked with third-party vendors to create a seamless journey to ticket and shop purchases, by providing our design elements so that they could skin their own platforms to look and feel the same as the main websites. Doing this made the journey to ticket purchase less jarring, which can help improve user trust in an increasingly wary online world.
Striking visuals are one thing, but SEO was also very important to the Zoos. Our SEO team fed heavily into the site structure and navigation before the build, making sure the user journeys were simple to follow and content was easy to find. Once the sites were complete, our SEO team conducted their go-live procedures to ensure all value would be carried forward at launch.