iOS Native App
Potential Pet Owners
Help people think twice before getting pets
We love our pets, we treat them as friends and family members. After one day of busy work, the furry little creature who always waits near the door is going to heal us. However, there are people who are not prepared and end up abandoning their pets. By designing this app, which allows people to take care of a virtual pet along with tasks and events, I hope people will have a better understanding of whether or not they are ready for their pets.
Did you know...
While many of us staying at home with our pets cuddling next to us, there are a lot more animals suffering from extreme weather and starvation. The number can be heart-broken.
Humane shelters in the US are so overloaded that they have to put down nearly 1/4 of adoptable animals each year.
More Facts about Stray Animals
There are three categories of animals composing stray animals. Wild animals, abandoned pets, and the offspring of non-neutered animals. Having stray animals wandering around the city can have some negative impacts on human society. Currently, humane societies are trying there best to catch stray animals and provide neuter surgery. There are also Animal Protection Laws that punish people who mistreat animals.
What if we can stop Animal Abandonment from the beginning?
User Research & Data Synthesizing
I have conducted the screener survey finding the right people to talk to, From the 42 responses, I have picked 8 people for user interviews, asking their experience with their pets, including happy moments and frustrations. I have also asked the things they should they have known, or the biggest change after having the pets.
Here are some of the quotes I got from the interviews:
After synthesizing the data, I found some insights:
I treat my furry friend as family members and I do things they like.
I need to know medical history and care instructions.
Cat has its temper, I have to get used to it.
Dogs require attention, I need to commit.
I go outside with my dog and I meet people.
Define the Problem
After finding the common characteristics, needs and frustrations. I was able to generate the user persona and problem statements. I have divided the users into two personas. One is a potential dog owner adopting dogs from shelters and the other is a potential cat owner who wants to buy a cat from a breeder.
The app generates a virtual avatar based on the breed the user choose. And it is going to respond to the user's actions. It can wander around if the user has the app open. It will show hearts if the mood rises, will show sadness when the user misses any tasks or actions.
The app provides a pet database that allows the user to select their desired breeds including mutts. Because every breed is different, the chosen dog is going to affect tasks and events within the seven days challenge. For example, in the budget calculation, larger dogs will have a higher average food cost.
Geolocation provides the user access to pet-related places within the neighborhood, including pet supply stores, dog parks, and pet-friendly restaurants. For dog owners, it can also provide suggested dog walking routes with just the amount of time the chosen dog needs.
One of the tasks for dog owners is to walk one time in their neighborhood in person and feel the level of energy requires for this everyday activity.
It is true that using this app is not going to give the user the same amount of joy when facing a real pet, so it is important for the app to provide more rewards to encourage more use. Besides the virtual avatar and the credential providing to shelters, after finishing certain tasks, the user can receive rewards like 10% off on pet supply stores.
Just like a real dog can bark in the middle of the night because he wants to, the virtual pet can also have its needs anytime. The user can choose to fulfill the need or ignore it. The action will also affect the mood or the final report.
After the seven days, the app is going to give the user a final report that evaluates the performances from different perspectives. If the user did a good job, then the app is going to provide credentials to partnered shelters in the city. When the user goes to adopt a pet, the application process will be much easier.
During the process of developing the final design, I have conducted two rounds of usability tests with 10 people, and here are some changes I made based their feedback.
In the first iteration, the major feedback I got was that the app is not for people to self-evaluate, it was more like an onboarding experience for who already have pets. In the second iteration, I get rid of a lot of unnecessary features and just focus on the seven-day challenge. However, people still think it is not enough. In the third iteration, I have introduced a virtual avatar to provide more fun.
The budget has always been one of the most important concerns people have. In the second iteration, the user can only choose if he or she needs to spend the full amount of money or none which does not make sense. In the third iteration, I have changed them into sliders with average cost default. Now the users can decide how much they want to spend while having a reference at the same time.
Suggested Adoption Center
At the end of the final report, the app will suggest some local shelters for pet adoptions. In the second iteration, I only explain it in the small copies which a lot of users would not read. Some interviewees thought the cards are for donations. In the third iteration, I have made the title big and easy to see to avoid confusion.
By doing this project, the most challenging aspect is to find a balance between the commitment requested and the reward provided. My goal is not to encourage nor discourage people to get a pet. I just want people to give a second thought before getting a pet because the commitment is a lifelong period. Lastly, I hope this app can become a standard procedure before adopting a pet and reduce pet abandonment in the future.