Helping dog parents build better health & wellness habits with their doggo.
About this project
Dog-Go! is a responsive web application that empowers & engages dog parents in creating healthier & happier bonds with their dog, through digital health records, activity tracking & community building.
Timeline: 2022 - Completed part-time
Role: Sole UX / Product Designer - Educational Project completed through CareerFoundry.
Tools: Pen & paper, Canva Pro, Figma, Usability Hub, Optimal Workshops & Zoom.
Designing on purpose
During this project, I learned that my curiosity, intuition & empathy drive an explorative design process. I enjoy envisioning the possibilities and allowing data to lead my decision making.
Explore & Observe
Refining the Design
The initial idea was conceived out of an awareness of the challenges dog parents face. Upon doing some quick online research, I was able to observe some gaps in the pet-health market which informed my problem statement.
Defining the problem
Dog parents need a way to feel engaged & in control in their dog’s health & wellness by having easy access to shareable health information because dog parents value their pet's health the same as any other family member.
Dog parents need a process that streamlines caring for their dog's health & wellbeing with easy to access shareable records, a way to track their health, connect with providers, care givers, and a source for reliable dog knowledge.
From reviewing the two top competitors that have proven concepts on the market, PetDesk & Pawprint, I identified the following opportunities:
A dog-parent centered design that empowers users & gives them greater control over their information.
An experience that doesn't rely heavily on Veterinary participation.
Designing a web-responsive app that expands accessibility.
Create more value & reasons for engagement.
Solutions that are easy & fun to use.
I also reviewed Garmin & Fitbit for analogous inspirations, which provided insight on how gamification could play a role in this design.
The global pet market is valued at $180 Billion.
Based on market research, a pet health app would be a viable & lucrative pursuit. Millennials & Younger Generation X (ages 25-48) make up the target demographic. This is based on their spending habits, engagement and data on the average age of dog parents. Below are a handful of the interesting insights gained.
The average pet parent spends $1500 annually on basic pet expenses.
Dogs hold the majority in US households, at 76.2% of pets.
39% of dogs in the US are considered obese.
48.5 million couples face infertility globally.
70% of millienals view their dog as their child.
76% of Millennials are choosing pets over children.
45% of pet owners value their dog's health, the same as their own.
Moderated remote interviews were conducted to create a deeper understanding of user's behaviors, motivations & how they engage with their dog's health. It was important to me to be fully present to listen & observe not only their verbal responses, but also to what wasn't said. The following are the top 4 insights gained through this research.
Currently there are no solutions that bridge the gap between dog parents, pet providers & pet community.
80% desire a streamlined system for appointments & reminders.
The challenge in this task was to keep it natural while asking non-leading objective questions, and being mindful not to insert my own bias. Also, I would've liked to have broadened my scope of participants to include pet providers to determine how they may benefit from Dog-Go!.
80% desire to connect with other dog parents for community & advice.
80% feel their dogs encourage them to engage in mutually beneficial & healthy activities they may not do on their own.
3 personas were created to ground the project going forward, these were synthesized based on data & insights gained from both market research & interviews. The goal with these personas is to keep everyone on the same page so we can better empathize with real people, their motivations, behaviors, needs, goals & frustrations.
To assist in design prioritization, filtering & editing, Each personas was given a likely task to complete, breaking it down into three components, Task Flow, Task Analysis & User Flow.
These are the initial user flows that informed my sketching & wireframing.
Wireframing & Prototyping
I began with pen & paper to brainstorm ideas and create a general flow before moving into Figma.
50% of participants were unable to locate the send button to share their dog's record.
6 participants were recruited from across the country to participate in a virtual study. As this is a MVP product I chose to test the 3 main use cases based on interview feedback (Adding a Pet, Sending a Record & Scheduling an Appointment). The main objective was to determine if my designs hit the mark both in concept & ease of use. I had users verbalize their thoughts out loud so I could observe their full interaction with my initial designs.
Based on my observations I was able to locate 3 top priorities.
67% of participants appeared to be confused by how to schedule an appointment in the app, leading to 16% failure of task completion.
50% of participants appeared distracted and/or confused by button placement & language, this also lead to 50% failure in task completion.
Due to the choice to test a more diverse group of participants, I was also met with a various levels of experience with tools & technology, which was both beneficial and challenging. I learned that the most important part of conducting a study is to be prepared, but to also be flexible and ready to pivot. Being able to communicate effectively was a huge benefit.
When met with challenges during the study I was able to communicate in a way that honored the participant while staying professional & being mindful not to insert too much direction or create bias.
To me testing is an excellent opportunity to take a step back and view your designs through the user's eyes. If we get too personal about our solutions, we run the risk of becoming narrow in our thinking and forget who we're designing for...which in turn is a risk for the product & the business.
Refining the Design
After testing and refining the foundation of my designs, I began working to increase fidelity by adding visual design components, consulting Gestalt Laws, Visual Design Principles, and Accessibility guidelines.
Design Language System
Taking into account the goals of Dog-Go!, I created a Style Guide and Design Language System that would convey Dog-Go’s values and represent the brand’s identity.
Before moving forward with my final MVP, I requested feedback from peers as well as my mentor to gain a different perspective, which led to a few revisions to correct some size & scale concerns and better address accessibility.
Overall, I believe Dog-Go!'s MVP does an excellent job delivering a streamlined solution that users can be excited about.
Dog-Go! offers dog parents...
Pet Profiles: Store, manage & share your doggo’s vital information.
Calendar: Keep track of all your doggo’s important dates.
Community: Connect to your fellow dog-parents for fun, friendship & support
With Dog-Go! users will finally have a health & wellness app for their life on the go with their doggo!
There was a missing element of the pet provider perspective. I missed an opportunity for impromptu interviews a local veterinarian's office as I was unprepared in the moment. In the future, I will be more prepared for encounters with possible research participants and/or do a more effective job in negotiating a time to return.
Size & scale: In challenging myself to design a non-scrolling solution, I added an unintended limitation. In the future I would consider size & scale much earlier on in a project, but you don't know what, you don't know. I look forward to improving my UI knowledge and skillset in an effort to better compliment my other strengths as a designer.
When you are an idea factory, it's a much easier if you prioritize those ideas and shift some to the parking lot for future. There were a number of ideas for Dog-Go! which we're scaled back, the great news is that as this business grows, we will have a bank of solid ideas that could be investigated.
Communication is a skill that is always important and can always be improved.
Mentorship is highly valuable. I find having the perspective of a seasoned UX'er to be highly beneficial in bridging knowledge gaps.
When approaching this project I found that the wisdoms gained from being a health & wellness entrepreneur were a great resource.
As a service driven person, my empathy & curiosity helped establish a deep understanding of my users, which in turn makes delivering a valuable solution more seamless.
Intuition, curiosity & critical thinking helped direct me in gathering data & insights throughout the research phases.
Communication with people to collaboratively solve problems will always be useful & in this case, aided my project when connecting with study participants, peers & mentors alike.
Image & illustration credit: Canva Pro