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Pet World – A UI/UX Case Study

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This was a design challenge. The exercise took me roughly 2 days to finish, including the documentation of this case study.

Problem Statement📝

Finding a temporary home for your pet isn’t an easy task. People struggle to find a trusting and reliable home when traveling and being away from their pets.

Design a solution that will help people find an appropriate home/people for their pets along with accessibility of pet-specific services/places.

Few pointers to consider:

  • Ability to volunteer to foster pets and find an appropriate home/people for their pets.
  • Collaborative activities within the pet lovers community.
  • Accessibility of pet-specific services/places.
  • Ability to mention special requirements.
  • Verify the authenticity of foster homes/people.
  • Pre, during, and post-experiences along with emergency scenarios.

Understanding the goal (Why)

Pet owners know all too well the hassle of trying to figure out what to do with their pet while we travel.

Whether you’re gone a week or six months there are three main options for your pet when you’re on vacation. You can have someone take care of your pet in your house, have your pet go to someone else’s place or take your pet with you. What you do with them depends on how long you’re traveling, how much money you’re willing to spend and how much you trust others to take care of your extended family.

I believe this product is important because

  1. It will assist pet owners in finding passionate and trusted local pet sitters when they have to go away. It will provide a safe, affordable and efficient way to find the best sitters in local, trusted neighborhoods that will give the pet owners the peace of mind that their pet is having as much fun as they are.
  2. Animal lovers can make a little extra cash. People can offer up their services as a pet sitter. It’s a cool idea because it’s a great way for animal lovers to make a little extra cash with very little output and they get the company of a lovely pet!
  3. A place to promote adoption. The handful of animal NGOs/shelters are not enough to take care of stray cats and dogs. News of animals dying in shelters run by NGOs are also common. Networking with animal lovers online can help. The fraternity of animal lovers do anything and everything possible to find homes for animals.

Defining the audience👨‍👨‍👦‍👦

We can first categorize our users into three high-level audiences-

  1. Pet Owners without a network of animal lovers nearby to rely on.
  2. Animal lovers willing to make extra cash by offering up their services as a sitter.
  3. People reaching out to pet community to notify about the stray animals who needs help.

Considering the limited time, I will be focusing on a single high-level audience, i.e., Pet Owners, from whose perspective I would show the solution.

Common reasons that people seek temporary homes for their pets:-

  • Travelling (business or pleasure) for a short period of time .
  • Unemployment / layoffs
  • Moving temporarily to a no-pets apartment, or currently keeping a dog in a no-pets apartment and the landlord found out
  • Military deployment
  • Medical issues (major surgery, hospitalization)
  • Incarceration
  • Fire or natural disaster
  • Domestic abuse

Exploring existing solutions

After having a better understanding of who I was designing for and their context, I went ahead to explore some existing solutions that our users can access as per their needs.

  1. Social Media

It’s no surprise that social media can be a powerful platform for finding new fosters. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Users can share photos, videos, etc. of a real pet who needs a foster home.
  • Advertising (Facebook/Instagram) with a paid targeting strategy driving traffic to the user profile. Users can deliver ads to individuals by zip codes and based on interests like cats/dogs.

2. Word of mouth

We may be in a digital age, but don’t forget about the easiest way to spread the word: word of mouth! Talking about a pet to people who may not be ready to adopt but want to help will also expedite the process.

3. A normal neighborhood network app/website

An app that helps pet owners find trusted local pet sitters when they have to go away. Users just have to choose a suitable place for their pet, contact the concerned person online, verify authenticity, pay & leave their pet in good hands.
I believe that the 3rd solution will have the most significant impact and can also be easily implemented than the other two.

Now the question is whether to create a mobile app or a website. For this, I came across an informative article that answered my above question.
Studies show that users prefer mobile apps more than mobile websites. This makes for a strong reason to create mobile apps for reaching out to potential (and existing) customers.

Competitor Analysis

I looked for other apps that offer the same/similar services to its users. It seemed to me like a good idea to see how other apps are doing things that I am trying to achieve. It gave me a different perspective on things and helped me to think in multiple directions. Some of the apps that I referred to were, Puppr, PetBacker, Dr. PetsApp and TrustedHouseSitter.

Understanding the users

In order to be able to decide what content to provide the users with, it was important for me to understand what content they need before or while traveling. To find that out, I did some googling and came across a lot of information.

Secondary Research — Clippings of articles and blog posts

Based on my desk research I tried to empathize with my top level audience i.e. the Pet Owner

Pet Owner is

  1. 1. Looking for a temporary home for their pet while they are away.
  2. Unsure whether the pet will be comfortable & loved in a new environment
  3. Skeptical about the foster home/pet sitters authenticity
  4. Worried about their pet’s safety

User Journey

What steps the Pet Owner takes (literally) before, during & after their involvement with the app

  1. 1. User opens the app
  2. Looks for pet sitters nearby
  3. Selects a pet sitters & checks all the relevant information about the pet sitter
  4. Contacts the pet/foster home & gets confirmation.
  5. Drops the pet to the foster/pet home
  6. Off he/she goes leaving the pet with the sitter/boarder
  7. Receives regular updates from the pet sitter
  8. Enjoys the trip/travel/vacation tension free knowing that the pet is in good hands

User Stories

When going away for a while I need to keep my pet with a pet boarder/sitter

  1. As a user (pet owner) I want to find a pet sitter who can provide a homey environment to my pet so that I can worry less while I am travelling
  2. When looking for a pet sitter I need to verify its authenticity so that I know that my pet is in good hands
  3. As a user (pet owner) I want to receive regular updates about my pets when I am away so that I can relax knowing that my pet is in good hands

User Persona

I created a User Persona which turned out to be really useful while listing out the features for Minimum Viable Product.

Solving💁🏻‍♂️

Generating Ideas

Some of the ideas that I explored:-

(Note: Not all ideas were implemented)

  1. Providing testimonials/social proof for authenticity
  2. Contacting breeder, rescue groups, crisis support group for possible foster care services
  3. Provide pet services like boarding, sitting, grooming, doctor consultation, pet taxi, pet training, etc.
  4. Providing home cooked food to pet sitter in case special diet is required
  5. Multiple contact number for emergency
  6. Inform multiple contacts about the pet boarding duration & location
  7. Provide doctor credentials before opting for consultation
  8. Become a pet sitter or foster carer
  9. Attend pet training courses to become certified
  10. Online chat/video call with the foster carer before arranging a meet up
  11. Live update of pet from the foster home
  12. Find pet friendly cafes, restaurants online
  13. Be a part of an online pet community & collaborate in multiple office events
  14. Notify a local shelter about stray animals
  15. In-app shop for pet essentials
  16. Wallet feature to send & receive money

Constraints

The following constraints were introduced for this project to allow focus on one linear flow & achievement of only necessary goals.

  1. User can avail only one pet service at a time
  2. The app is currently offering only pet dog services
  3. Foster carer can only take in dogs
  4. Foster carer can only offer day-care services
  5. Pet owners can’t unsubscribe from alerts/notification

Assumptions

In order to stay focused & prevent from diverging too much from the problem statement I created some assumptions for the app.

  1. User can either be a pet owner or an animal lover offering pet services through the app
  2. Foster homes/pet sitters are available in all locations
  3. Pet owner is not looking for a permanent home for their pet
  4. Payment to the pet sitter will be done post meetup
  5. Pet owners receive daily updates from the foster home
  6. The app doesn’t offer any discounts or vouchers to the user
  7. The location is automatically detected by the app
  8. The app is owned & maintained by an independent organization. ex- Pet World, PETA, etc.

Trade-offs

The user need not log in or create a user account. The top priority is to find a temporary home for pets or provide a pet service which can be achieved without a user login. There shouldn’t be any barrier towards using the app.

Screenshots of rough work (user story, app flow, assumptions, ideas, user tasks, etc.)

Wireframes/sketches

Next, I did some paper sketching, outlining some possible layouts to imagine the interactions our product needs to support visually.

Pet Owner Wire flow:-
Rough sketches

High-Fidelity Design 🌟

It was time to jump onto Figma and start with visual design. Find below the screens I designed along with the design decisions I made.

Prototype

Below are some of the prototypes of the app.

And that’s a wrap. Thank you for reading! Hope you found it insightful and take away what you liked.

You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Behance or drop me a message at sinhaanurat@gmail.com

Did you know?😲 You can hold that clap button for few seconds to give a maximum of 50 Claps, would really appreciate it. See ya!


Pet World – A UI/UX Case Study was originally published in Muzli – Design Inspiration on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.