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).
Table of Contents
Identify the problem and do the research.
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).
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.
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.
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:
Needs a way to assign tasks, pass them on, and send/give reminders, preferably without much thought (or that kind of defeats the purpose...)
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
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)