PetParent

Individual project. New app idea.

PetParent helps organize pet owners. With both shared and individual tasks/reminders as well as a place to keep vet records and other notes, PetParent helps ease your mind when it comes to the responsibilities tied to your beloved pet(s).

Case Study

Table of Contents

 

1. PROCESS

The Problem

The Idea Research

  • The survey

  • Quotes

  • Personas

  • User journeys

  • Flow chart

The Visual Research

  • Inspiration board

  • Sketches

  • Wireframes

2. SOLUTION

Branding

The Style Tile

  • Naming & logo

  • Typography

  • Color palette

  • Iconography

The App Walkthrough

  • Prototype

  • Home page

  • Tasks

  • Records

3. REFLECTION

What I Learned

Next Steps

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Final Thoughts

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01. Process

Identify the problem and do the research.

PROCESS

the problem

Amidst the chaos of everyday life, it's easy to lose track of a few things. After all, we are only human! Our pets, however, rely on us to take care of them. But sometimes we forget to feed them, or when they last got their medication, or where their vet records are. It only gets more confusing when there are multiple people in the house (shh, don't tell, but sometimes Fido cons us into getting more than one serving of dinner).

PROCESS

idea research

I began the process of coming up with a solution to this problem by creating a survey for multiple pet owners, pulling quotes along the way. I realized that different pet owners have different needs, so I created three personas to help me, well, personify the results from the survey. After identifying that it was an app that was needed here, I created a user journey for each to help figure out how the app can best help the user (where/how it can be most effective). Finally, I created the first flowchart for it.

survey

The first step to solving any problem is gathering data to best understand the problem. Being a pet-parent all my life, I know a lot of the common struggles with this crowd. But, of course, I don't know everything. For example, until we brought home our Golden Retriever, I had no idea people actually brought their dogs in regularly for professional grooming sessions (so... much... hair...). So, I created a survey to gather some thoughts and regular practices of pet-parents. Between my sister, the pet life president at her college, and my mother, who is supposedly Twitter-famous-ish, I was able to get a variety of folks from different ages and backgrounds to respond to the survey.

 
 
 

quotes from survey

"...we all share in remembering, and when someone does it in the family, we let the others know."

"It can be easy to lose track of when the dogs were taken out/fed. We tried the sign above the dog bowls thing but no one really wanted to do it, it was sort of just an extra thing on top of feeding the dogs."

"I had to bring my dog to the emergency vet in the middle of the night because she started vomiting blood and I didn't have her records on me and it's not like I can call my normal vet for that, you know? And I was a mess, so it would have been much better if I could just hand them the information and comfort my poor girl instead of filling out all the paperwork."

I learned a lot from this survey, but the highlights were the following: 

  • I needed to focus only on the most popular pets (cats and dogs) for now with this app, or the scope of the project would be far too large to be realistic for what it is.

  • ​​​Most people share the responsibilities of pet ownership with others in the household. A few people talked about what this means;

    • positively, it does allow for more heads to remember something,

    • but negatively, this fails without proper communication.

  • Alerts are a huge part of what would make this app successful. But I need to figure out how to make it more useful than a native app such as Calendar or Reminders on iOS. 

  • Storing vet records and the possibility of having vets connect with the app is a promising idea to pursue further.

personas

The survey helped me understand how different each pet-parent's life is. To help organize all the bouncing ideas in my ping-pong brain, I created three different fictitious personas to help me organize three different cases. Each personifies a different set of needs, responsibilities, and situations inspired by the survey results. Together, they help me cover the most important points as I develop the idea further.

user journeys (before PetParent)

At this point, my suspicion that an app would be an appropriate solution to this problem was confirmed. Most folks have smartphones and use it to help organize our lives already. But, I needed to know specifically what these folks needed in an app. So, I created user journeys.

 

Once I had the personas set, I needed to figure out which task would best represent each of them and their needs. User journeys identify the pain points that can occur for each of them during the completing of their tasks. Using that information, I can determine where and how the app would best fit within their lives as a solution. 

The most valuable pieces of information I gathered from these user journeys:

What

  • Super-Mom Sally

    • Needs a way to assign tasks, pass them on, and send/give reminders, preferably without much thought (or that kind of defeats the purpose...)

  • Teenage Tina

    • Needs a way to record tasks as they are done and have a record of who has done which chore, and could also benefit from what Super-Mom Sally needs

  • Solo Saul

    • Needs a digital way to keep records as well as receive reminders (again, could benefit from the kind of reminder system that Super-Mom Sally needs)

flow chart

Laying out the flow chart was vital at this stage. Now that I understood the specific directions this app needed to take, I needed to map out how it was going to function. After some trial and error, I landed on a basic four-page app. Home screen, profile screen, add screen (for reminders, appointments, vet records, anything), and a dedicated reminders screen. I also started brainstorming what specifically I wanted on each of those pages.

 

Something I came up with to help solve the familial problems with both Super-Mom Sally and Teenage Tina was to set up a family within the app. Parental roles (as of this point, called "mama and papa bear") can do many things, one of which is assign "tasks," which can be anything from feeding the dog to a vet appointment to booking said vet appointment. Tasks and reminders (notifications) would be sent out to those assigned to the task by the parental roles. If there are multiple people assigned, each may pass on the task. If there is only one person assigned to the task, they are not allowed to pass on the task without parental approval. If everyone passes on the task, it will keep popping up until someone does complete it.

 

Another aspect, this one for the home page, a leaderboard, which should make people like Teenager Tina happy, not only inviting healthy competition (and thus, motivation) but also silencing cries about who has done what and when.

 

Single folks, such as Solo Saul, will benefit greatly from the records section as well as the reminders of tasks. He can create a profile (with a picture!) for each of his kitties.

PROCESS

visual research

 

inspiration board

Having never created anything like this before, I was pretty far out of my design depth. Even more than usual, the inspiration board I put together for this project was vital. I looked at productivity apps on dribbble, behance, designspiration, pinterest, even instagram. I wanted not only to see specifically how they treated elements within a productivity app flow, but in an app flow, period. 

sketches (lo-fi)

Referencing the inspiration board heavily, I began sketching. I struggled a bit at first, as again I am very new to designing for this interface. At the end, I started to confuse myself a bit, but somewhere around the middle, the magic happened. I started seeing the app coming to life in my head faster than my hands could sketch it. So, when it started to become counter-productive, I quit while I was ahead.

wireframes (mid-fi) & testing

Taking the best of the idea generation from the sketches, I began creating the wireframes and placing them in a prototype using proto.io. Visual design/decoration was less important here as the experience took front stage. With this wireframe prototype, I wanted to test if I scratched all the right itches. Would the family idea work? Do the elements you want on th home page exist there? Do you feel you'd use this app, do you feel comfortable in your understanding of it? I would use this information for the further digital development.