Jett and Monkeys

With their new, upgraded location comes a website that better organizes information.

Case Study

Chances are you don't know that Jett and Monkey's is a local pet supplies shop in the East Village neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa unless you live in or have visited the neighborhood. When some of my friends asked where I get my dog food and then didn't recognize Jett and Monkey's, even though they lived in the Des Moines metro, I checked the shop's website.

That's when I realized they should tighten up their brand to be seen as a serious choice for pet supplies while keeping with their fun personality.

I wondered, what would a local pet supplies shop's website could be with a cleaner layout. And I thought, what better way to take advantage of their new, bigger store than a new, fresher website?!

The current website

First reaction was, "oh, this has some personality to be quirky." The current website feels outdated because of elements not properly sized so it all feels thrown together and clunky. Like with many local stores the important things are for people to know about any store changes, what makes them different, store info, and some specific information.

While the current website has these things I didn't feel they were accomplished well. For example, the "weight" of the store changes compared to store info seemed backwards. As a returning customer, yes it's important to know about store changes, but as a new customer it's more important to know what you are.

Overall, I felt the website could better use the same amount of space if not less while also adding clarity and functionality.

As of June 2021

The new website

Again, the goal was to clean things up and better use the same if not less space. The digital space is practically endless, but the less scrolling and browsing a customer needs to do the better their experience will be. So here are the changes I made.

Replacing background image with color

While a background image immediately makes your website feel more unique, when it's used more as wallpaper it looses the goal of a good image—captivate emotion or familiarity. By using the lighter blue it's now set an expectation to see more of this blue in combination of the orange found in the branding. Having a background color and an image also allows for flexibility so the image could be changed. Changing a picture on a wall is less noticeable than changing a room's wallpaper.

Bye bye giant notification and hello order & pickup button

Especially on mobile, the notification section (where it currently talks about the new location) is taking up the entire screen with no additional content. And no it's not just a pop up that can be dismissed. It's there permanently. I shrunk it down tremendously and placed it at the very top where our eyes are trained to see notifications. Think about your mobile device getting notifications. It just makes sense.And no need for an image to add content. Notifications are there to provide specific information. Nothing more. Nothing less. And when there's no notification, the website shifts up. No blank, unused space.

Did you see the info in the notification that may have been missed? The giant notification not only talks about the new location, but talks about curbside delivery options. Rather than doing this, this should be an expectation in our world today. The store doesn't need to support shipping, just ordering and coordinating a pickup. This feature is also at the top and noticeable as it will be used my many returning customers who want to continue to support during these changing times.

Changing the copy and location of info

Rather than saying "Welcome to Jett and Monkey's with the tagline: "Fun. Fresh. Local" it now reads "Fun, fresh, fantastic pet supplies & gifts." No need to say welcome to your store name when your logo and or page name at the top in the browser have already graciously done so.

The tagline felt like it could better represent why them but also what about them. Again, here the word "local" isn't needed when keeping with the three established points of: "Est. 2009, East Village, Des Moines, IA" So, I went the alliteration route and made it very clear that Jett & Monkey's is a pet supplies and gift shop.

Then came the store info. Okay, thus far I know your a local store for my pet in East Village. I have to scroll almost to the bottom to know where exactly, when you're opened, and how can I reach you if I have questions. This is now pushed much further up the page that now acts as a nice separation from the emotional image and specifics about what the store offers. Many businesses put their address and contact information at the bottom of the page. I personally, think that for a local shop it's more important closer to the top to show that shopping local is more about community. At a local store you don't put your store hours in the breakroom. You put them on your front door.

Removing content for a friendler newsletter

Two big things that don't add any value to the front page are the pet guide and slideshow of Instagram posts. These are two ways of marketing that can be looped together into the newsletter. The goal here is to not send people elsewhere before at least giving them a chance to be on your newsletter. So by removing content, I was able to make the newsletter area bigger and bolder to catch more eyes.

Oh, and "updates from..." isn't appealing. No one wants to receive updates. But, many want to feel connect to the brand to stay in the know... just in case. Similar, but a different approach. The new "Woof woof! Let's keep in touch." feels friendlier.

The typography

Okay, let's talk about the current fonts and the ones I chose instead. They've chosen to use what I like to call the "opening credits of Men and Black" font for their headings. This is the handwritten tall and narrow font. While it fits with being "fun" it's a font that should add personality in places, not be everywhere a heading is needed. Instead, I chose Paytone One by Vernon Adams with a few ranges in size. I may have went crazy with its use being more than 80% of the website, but I loved how it all just worked together with just varying the size. But, when it came to the paragraphs of text I needed a comfortable sans-serif. Comfortable to compliment and I went with the popular Open Sans by Steve Matteson.

My proposed redesign

One more thing. The logo.

For those that really know me, know that I can't help but think about the logo. It's the centerpiece of a brand. And to me, with the bolder, refocused direction in the new website I explored a possible updated logo.

Now, I believe there are only two reasons one should redesign or update an existing logo: there's a design flaw or that brand is transforming.

While I believe both are true for Jett and Monkey's I don't know entirely what the shop owners think just yet. So what's the design flaw? Readability. The icon AKA the paw has the toes just big enough to fit between the sole and the outer circle. The wordmark is very quirky and fun, but difficult to fully read at times.

In keeping the flaw of readability in mind I made the toes smaller and chose a different font called Zubilo from Paratype for the wordmark. It's fun, quirky, and now bold.

From top to bottom: current vs my proposal

Final thoughts

This was a lot of fun! I set out to turn a local pet shop into something that could be seen as a respectable brand like Chewy while making it both familiar to current customers and bolder for everyone.

As a loyal customer of Jett & Monkey's I'd love to redesign this for them and selfishly me.