Task

I was asked to spend roughly 10 hours on an interaction design task and share it discreetly online. I chose to tackle the challenge of decreasing pets awaiting adoption with an experience that helps “connect people looking for a new pet with the right companion for them”.

Activity

I spent a bit of time on researching the subject matter before quickly jotting down some thoughts on the issues. I sketched out some thoughts on screens and features before moving on to wires, increasing fidelity here and there to explore ideas. Finally, I concentrated on one key screen to output a final interface.

Above: I mind mapped issues from desk research along with quotes from published articles. One article by a woman who spoke to a lot of potential owners said the “Number one question” was “Where are they from?” because an unknown past often causes people to assume the worst.

Above: I jotted down some of the key issues from the desk research, alongside thumbnail sketches of potential screens. Feature ideas started popping up, such as a history timeline (top right) to demystify the background of a potential pet, Google Fit integration and a “dog cam”, where potential owners could observe behaviour in the shelter.

Above: I started to think about the UI of a couple of feature ideas: One (left) was a mechanism at the start of the experience allowing potential owners to select a level of risk (or time and effort) they’re comfortable with. But it felt like talking about risk at the start wasn’t a great idea so (right) I explored how I might ease some of the fear of the unknown. I looked at how timelines manifest in other Google products and recorded it in a sketch.

Above left: I started to think about the service as a whole. I wrote, “Knowing the breed cuts out a lot of the risk” because I realised a good chunk of the things people are concerned about (size, coat type, health, temperament, loneliness) can be predicted just by knowing the breed. I also considered that most people tend to have an idea of the breed they want before they start a search for where to buy. And that most ‘new’ pet websites start searches with the breed but shelters do not. I considered this was probably due to scale. I felt that if you were able to pool together all rescued animals from all shelters into a single API, you’d have a good chance of returning animals from a single breed.
Above right: I sketched out a rough journey for someone who might already know the breed but is not set on where to buy from. This includes the ability to set a notification for a breed that returns no results so that people after a more obscure breed could be told as soon as one is rescued.
Below: Below I created mobile wires that brought together my ideas on Google Fit integration, pooling rescued pets from all shelters, how you might present matches and deal with various pet types, and how you could deal with what I have termed “mystery dog” syndrome; the fear of a pet with an unknown past. In the time I had available I concentrated on the core journey through the app.

Ask a question

Connect with a helpful human at the shelter, in a manner natural to a mobile experience, who knows exactly which animal you’re asking about. The shelter-facing part of the app could populate frequently asked questions and answers provide insights.

Pet history

Known history is pulled in from the API, displaying a high-level timeline to counteract “mystery dog” syndrome: The number one question from potential owners is, “where are they from?”. Knowing how the animal found itself there (even if it’s sad) should remove the fear of the unknown.

Awards

Staff at the shelter able to switch on/off attributes from a list of options selected to target other areas of fear: health, character, training. These are displayed as if they were awards in a pet show, to accentuate the positive.