Create a streamlined mobile app to facilitate better and quicker matched pet adoptions (and fosters).
The current process is inefficient and fraught with frustration on both the adopter's side as well as the shelter's side.
Adults 25 - 45 years of age who either want to adopt or foster a pet.
From initial secondary research to high fidelity mock-ups for hand-off, I endeavored to manage all aspects of the UX and UI space.
For the MLP, we wanted to have a feedback system to help set expectations. Maybe having some sort of “adoption progress bar” or a notification indicating how many applications were pending per animal might manage anxieties?
Additionally, having uniform criteria input and messaging processes would help streamline.
On the shelter-side, I want to set our product apart and build an algorithm that filters out applicants that would be problematic. (This, obviously, would require personality input from shelter staff and foster families).
- Match Between System and Real World
- User Control and Freedom
- Consistency and Standards
- Aesthetic and Minimalist Design
After sifting through 4+ hours of footage an affinity map was cobbled together and almost immediately, certain patterns/common pain points emerged.
The Adopter is most concerned with finding a pet that will be a good fit for her family. An animal that can integrate so seamlessly that they’re considered a family member themselves.
The Volunteer wants to be of service and to help the helpless. Her main goal is to find the individual care and shelter that each animal requires.
The Owner wants to find homes for each animal as well, but is also concerned with the business’ bottom line and ability to find homes for as many pets as possible, as efficiently as possible. With the hopes that each animal is well matched to their new home and not surrendered later on.
- Defined parameters for screening process
- Pet specific In-line communication channel
- Single input to upload and disperse information
For the sake of this exercise, I’ll be focusing on the mobile app for the adopters. When time permits, I fully expect to build out the shelter-side dashboard (graphic on right) to round out the experience.
[Note: this step can be skipped, but the will negate the most powerful feature of the platform]
The main user activity will be directed towards top-level reviews of weighted, best-matched pets (based on a criteria sorting algorithm). Then potential matches are further refined to three FAVORITE candidates for application. From there, a face-to-face meeting is scheduled with any/all shelter-approved pets and a final decision is made by the user.
- How do we get from Point A to Point B?
- How can we “fail fast” and get dialed in?
- What did we miss?
After initial guerrilla usability tests I stumbled upon a hiccup. It was pointed out was the “Home” button interface was unclear. It had dual purposes: a way-finder for settings and used as a directional when engaged in other tasks. The idea being make it easy for the user to back out of any decision.
Additionally, some people did not want to sign up and go through the on-boarding process initially, so it was good that the “SKIP” button exists.
Simple, fun line drawings and icons to keep it modern and digestible.
Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge provide a recognizable swipe format that is easily understood by a broad range of users. This level of affordance was built in at the inception of this project.
Gender neutral relying mainly on light shades of grey to stay minimalistic. Highlight colors correspond with gender ambiguity (purple), passion (burgundy) and familiarity (beige).
The second round of tests confirmed that I addressed and solved the previous issues.
Additionally, I tested the app on an individual that was outside of our target audience to see if we had an intuitive design that an older demographic could navigate. I’m happy to report a resounding success!
This first foray into UX / UI has been illuminating to say the least. I learned my assumptions are just that, approximate guesses. They will ultimately be tested either true or false; and yes, sometimes I was proven incorrect. However, that yielded a tool that better suits the users' actual needs and not what I think those needs are. I also discovered that getting "married" to an idea is a waste of time. I spun my wheels early on, extrapolating possible solutions without the full perspective provided by research and interviews. I'm glad I did this. It truly reinforced, firsthand, the idea of "Fail Fast" and the need for maintaining flexibility in all aspects of the process. These were areas in need of drastic improvement on my part and I believe those lessons will pay dividends in my subsequent work.