CityPups

A dog adoption website matching city dwellers with their perfect companion
Overview
This was a Google Ventures Design Sprint project for a dog adoption website which aims to match city dwellers with their perfect canine companion. CityPups takes into account the challenges of adopting and owning a dog in a densely-populated city, such as living in small apartments, varying work and commute schedules, and having access to friendly outdoor spaces.
CHALLENGE
Adopting a dog involves more than just love at first sight. For those who live in cities where populations are high, living spaces are limited, access to dog-friendly outdoor spaces are rare, and work schedules are unpredictable, it can be difficult to find a dog they can properly care for. The goal of this sprint was to develop an adoption process for the CityPups website that keeps  in mind the challenges of city-living and provides an easy and fun way for people to find their new best friend.
MY ROLE
I completed this project for my Springboard UX course using a modified version of the Google Ventures Design Sprint method. The CityPups project prompt already included user interview notes, research insights, and personas created by the startup. My role was to analyze the provided data, map out an appropriate user flow, design a minimum viable product (MVP) user interface, and test this design with real users.

Process

Day 01

User Data

Based on a collection of user research and personas that CityPups had on hand, I took a closer look into what users report as important factors during the dog adoption process.

I would never want to adopt a dog that needed more activity or space than I could provide.

The key insight from these data informed me that:

  • Users want to learn a dog’s story. When viewing a dog's adoption profile users want to see not only basic information such as size and age, but also get a sense of the dog’s personality
  • Users want to know each dog’s needs -- are they good around other dogs? Are they well-trained? How much space do they need?
  • Photos are essential, and videos are even better for users to see dogs in action
  • Users want to know whether the dog fits their lifestyle, taking into account work schedule, space, and commitment level to training
  • Asking adoption agency representatives questions about adoptable dogs is helpful but time-consuming for users

User Map

I set out to find a better way for CityPups to connect people with dogs that they not only have an emotional connection with, but also realistically fit their lifestyles. I created a user map to represent the end-to-end dog adoption process that might provide a solution to the problem at hand:

Day 02

Comparative Analysis

Next I conducted a comparative analysis to examine websites that aim to solve similar design problems. I looked at Petfinder.com, a pet adoption website; LinkedIn.com, a job search website; and OKCupid.com, a dating website.

Sketching

I then sketched out eight versions of the CityPups results page using the Crazy8s brainstorming method. This generated rapid design ideas and pushed me to think outside the box. I combined design elements from some of the competitive research I had conducted to decide the best placement for the important elements of the screen such as dog profiles and filter options.

After sketching out some options I decided on a design. The solution sketch (below) demonstrates the primary flow of the CityPups adoption process which provides the user with two options:

  • Search for dogs by location with the option to personalize search filters, or
  • Take a quiz to gauge user’s lifestyle and find their perfect dog match using pre-set filters based on user needs

The results page for either option would be the same, however filters would be pre-selected for users who took the quiz, generating a curated list of dog matches based on user preferences and needs.

Day 03

Finding a Solution

With my sketches from day two in mind, I moved forward with the design. The most critical screen was the results page showing all adoptable dogs, so I created a storyboard with two red routes leading to that page:

  • The user enters their city or zip code to view local dogs for adoption and then uses filters to customize their search
  • The user takes a quiz to match them with their perfect dog based on lifestyle, needs, and personality. This leads to a curated results page showing their recommended dog matches

Day 04

Prototype

I then transformed my sketches into a high-fidelity interactive prototype and tweaked my design to ensure better functionality. The flow takes the user through one of two routes:

  • The user searches local dogs based on their zip code or city and are taken to a results page which presents filtering options
  • The user takes the match quiz which, upon answering a series of multiple-choice questions, leads them to a curated results page with pre-selected filters based off of the user’s quiz answers

From either results page, the user can click on individual dog profiles to view more photos, learn more about them, and obtain important information about behavior, needs, and adoption. 

I designed the UI of this prototype by basing it on the CityPups brand as shown in the project prompt. The bright purple color is utilized throughout as a contrasting pop of color against an otherwise minimalistically white background and draws attention to CTA buttons. See the prototype in action here

Welcome Page
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This is the landing page with two routes to find dogs

Matching Quiz
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Users can take a quiz with their preferences and lifestyle which help to pre-filter the search. Helpful for users who don't exactly know what breeds or sizes would be a good fit

Pre-Filtered Results
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The results page filters for dogs that match the criteria from the quiz

Detailed Profiles
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The profile pages organize information so it's easy to read and learn about each dog

Day 05

Usability Testing

To validate the new CityPups design, I set out to test whether the prototype functions as expected by real users. More specifically I wanted to see how users responded to the proposed user flow as a way to search for adoptable dogs in a city.

I conducted remote, moderated usability tests via Zoom with five participants who live in cities and were either interested in pet adoption or had adopted a pet in the past. The tasks included:

  • Explore the homepage and give first impressions
  • Search for dogs in your city
  • Try the dog match quiz
  • Complete quiz
  • Review matches, filters, and select dog profile
  • Ask about adopting dog

After completing the tasks, I then asked each participant if they would feel confident adopting a dog using this website. I also asked if the participants felt informed about the dog’s needs from viewing their profiles, and whether they would still follow-up with the shelter to ask additional questions.

Findings and Takeaways

The usability test participants successfully completed all tasks and reported only minor errors. 

Some errors reported included:

  • Users expressed confusion as to the location of the “Next” button in the dog match quiz
  • Users noted that they would want to receive some sort of confirmation that the message sent to the rescue organization had been sent

Overall, participants responded positively to the user flow while also providing insightful feedback as to how the site could be improved.

Two different users said the following of their experience using the prototype:

As a young urbanite who is unsure about what kind of dog -- and has definitely not done research into what dog -- she wants, this would be a good place to start!
I feel like I have the information that I would want for going into a conversation with the rescue about this dog

Next Steps

As for my next steps, I would fix the aforementioned errors and would consider adding more detailed questions to the quiz to curate better search results. Furthermore, while users responded positively towards the prototype, identifying it as “a good first step” for adopting a dog, I would take the following steps to ensure higher confidence in potential adopters:

  • Provide a more detailed health history
  • Clarify “special needs”
  • Add a “hypoallergenic” option to the Fur Type filter
  • Provide a more detailed explanation for quiz results, specifically why the list of dogs were chosen based on the user’s answers