Wildlife Conservation Society

Zoos & Aquarium

  • Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Challenge

    Redesign WCS’s 5 facility sites with a specific strategy for quantitatively improving revenue and other key performance metrics.

  • Solution

    Launch an MVP of the new BronxZoo.com during peak season, test a variety of designs, then apply those proven designs to all 5 sites.

  • Results

    Shortly after launch the 5 sites saw, on-average, a 23% increase in purchases, an 18% increase in revenue, and a 100% increase in revenue driven through mobile devices.

Data-informed design. For the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the websites for the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and NY Aquarium are critical business tools that help millions of visitors a year connect with both wildlife and WCS’s conservation efforts. Designing the sites not only took care, but testing — and lots of it. We worked with WCS to establish an iterative, data-informed approach that resulted in 5 new sites that are optimized to drive key metrics. This included revenue per session, which increased by 52% from the tickets page as a result of A/B testing.

  • Responsive Design Mobile-First Mindset

    More than half of site visitors come from a mobile device, and we know that some are actually visiting a facility when they do. We kept mobile in mind from the start and even conducted testing specifically around the mobile experience to ensure we’re meeting the unique needs of this audience and their environment.

  • Testing Passing the A/B Test

    We vetted design solutions by conducting dozens of A/B tests — pitting one design against another to determine which is more successful — on more than 100,000 unique visitors over the course of eight weeks during peak summer season. These tests covered everything from visual treatments, to messaging, to page layout.

    How Long to Run A/B Tests: the Known and Unknown
    Paul Koch, Former Data & Analytics Director

  • Optimization Built for Speed

    Simply put, speed affects sales. We made sure the five sites were fast — really fast — by streamlining the visual design (e.g., foregoing large vendor files like jQuery) and leveraging a content delivery network, bringing the load time of bronxzoo.com down to 637ms.

  • Content Management System Creating a Centralized CMS

    All five sites run off a central Ruby on Rails-based CMS, tailored specifically to WCS’s publishing needs. The platform allows the five facility sites to share content and assets, and makes creating and managing content incredibly efficient, without having to write a single line of code.

    Beyond Content Management
    Lawson Kurtz, Former Senior Developer

  • 23%

    On average, the five WCS sites saw a 23% increase in purchases made by users.


By thoroughly testing options, we were able to redesign WCS’s five facility sites into a unified, beautiful, and effective new system — informed by data.