I managed RAGOM website content and user experience from 2017 through 2019. Contact me for more samples of my work.
Retrieve a Golden of the Midwest (RAGOM) has rescued and re-homed more than 9,000 Golden Retrievers and Golden mixes since 1985 and is one of the largest Golden Retriever rescues in the United States.
RAGOM is often overwhelmed with applications for desirable dogs (those with no health or behavioral issues). Placement volunteers not only review every application, they contact every applicant to explain why they do or don’t qualify for a dog.
The RAGOM adoption process has many steps and requirements to ensure that dogs are placed in suitable homes. But as presented on the legacy site the content was overwhelming and, based on the number of unqualified applicants, rarely read.
The content was verbose and contained unrelated information and calls to action (CTAs). RAGOM’s placement volunteers know a great deal about dogs and rescue, but they believed these pages should include every detail and possible scenario.
UX writer, content writer
I worked with the placement team to understand their audience as well as the team’s challenges. Armed with this insight, I pared down RAGOM’s adoption content to include only vital information presented in a user-friendly format.
A new landing page visually breaks the adoption content into process, eligibility, and FAQs. (I considered moving eligibility before process but was outvoted.) The site navigation presents this content in the same order for users who skip this page.
My version of these pages reduced the word count by 50%. I explained to the team that people scan web content rather than read it, so the copy needed to be concise and broken into shorter sentences and paragraphs. I also removed rescue jargon.
Only the primary CTA (submit an adoption inquiry) has a button, and this is not presented until the bottom of the second page to encourage applicants to read all eligibility requirements.
I also explained that the Golden Retriever information (formerly lumped into the adoption pages with no other way to find or access it) needed dedicated pages and navigation links. Potential adopters would most likely want to find and read this content before deciding to apply for a dog.
Likewise, the volunteer information and sign-up CTA interrupted an already lengthy and complex flow and needed to be removed. Volunteering is a primary content topic and is now featured at the top navigation level.
When rewriting the content, I followed the newly created RAGOM style guide, which set the tone as “humble, friendly, and engaging” with a “knowledgeable, approachable, and dependable” personality. Language was specified as “simple, direct, and nonjudgmental.”
Using headers, improving readability with shorter sentences and paragraphs, and linking to relevant pages also helped SEO. Although my version of this content is still posted, copy has been added that I would have handled differently. However, these pages are vastly improved over the legacy site content:
After making the adoption process and eligibility requirements concise and clear, more applicants are reading the information. Although RAGOM still receives inquiries they need to deny, these numbers have declined considerably.
I also worked closely with the placement team to improve the consistency of information presented on the dogs’ bio pages. Read more about my work on the RAGOM website relaunch.
See more samples of my work below. In addition to writing/editing, I selected and formatted all images (sourced from RAGOM volunteer photographers).