FurryTales · Pet Matching App

More than 6.5 Mio. animals end up in US shelters every year according to ASPCA. Only around 3.2 Mio. of shelter animals get adopted each year (Humane Society). FurryTales targets people who want to adopt a shelter pet and make the adoption process as seamless and easy as possible for them to increase adoption rates.

The problem

Giving a pet a new forever home can be a frustrating, confusing and time-consuming process. There are a lot of steps involved, often there is a lack of information about the animal and shelter staff don’t have the resources and/or time to properly introduce potential adopters to available pets. 

The goal

A primary goal was to create an app that matches pets and potential adopters in terms of personality. Further goals are to educate people about existing misconceptions and offer support on all topics around adoption and shelter animals within the app.

My role

UI/UX Design for the app and responsive website (personal project)
Conducting interviews, paper and digital wire framing, low and high-fidelity prototyping, conducting usability studies, accounting for accessibility

View the prototype here

photography by Richard Brutyo

Understanding the user

User research and personas

Primary and secondary research guided the development of personas and questions that I used during the interviews that I conducted. Interview participants reported that most adoption websites they know are overwhelming and not very intuitive. Information are scattered all over the website and resources connected to the adoption process are often not available. I also discovered that some users feel negatively about shelter animals because of their unknown history and personality.

Competitive audit

To identify gaps and opportunities that needed to be addressed in my design, I conducted an audit of the services of several competitors. The analysis revealed supported statements made by the interview participants in terms of available information, usability and design. The websites and apps I compared were visually not very appealing, had a lot of information and imagery that might overwhelm the user or had an unpleasant and confusing user flow.

Ideation and design

Some quick ideation exercises helped me to determine how to layout the necessary screens and what information I needed to include. 

Informed by the ideas from ideation sessions I created initial designs for the pet matching app. The early design includes an onboarding process with questions about user’s preferences about pets and their own personality to find perfect matches. Appealing images and swipe features like in the ‘Tinder’ app make the experience fun and the app easy to use.

Usability testing

To find out if the process of finding, selecting and adopting a pet is easy to complete for the user and gather information on the overall usability of the app, I tested the early designs with 5 participants during an unmoderated usability study. All participants gave mostly positive feedback in terms of usability and visual design.

Refining the design

Based on feedback from the usability testing I changed the location onboarding screen to give users the option to allow location, enter the location information manually or skip the step for the moment. I also adjusted the design to offer a search function.

Responsive design

After finishing the app design I started to create the design for the responsive website. To stay consistent and get as close as possible to the app’s user experience, I decided for a sequential hierarchy. I optimised the user experience for the screen size of mobile, tablet and desktop.

Takeaways

While designing this app I learned that an enjoyable user experience increases user engagement and interest. If this app was to be realised in the future, it might indeed help more shelter animals find their forever homes by matching the personality of the pet with the personality/life style/living situation with the adopter, providing helpful resources and educating the user. Thank you

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