PETalk is an app that helps pet owners solve their problems by connecting them with other pet owners and pet experts. It allows users to search or post their questions and get answers from experienced pet owners, have consultations with pet experts, and post their favourite pet moments.
Academic Capstone Project
10 weeks (April - July 2022)
UX Researcher, Design Strategy, UX/UI Designer
My Design Process
Pets are a joy to have. However, after the immediate euphoria of the fluffy bundle of fun wears off, many pet owners (and particularly first-time pet owners) are left feeling overwhelmed and without support. As a pet owner myself, this is something I used to struggle with. That's why I want to find a solution for pet owners experiencing post-adoption stress.
Pet ownership is on the rise in both U.S. and Canada.
Some causes of post-adoption stress
To better understand my users, I interviewed nine pet owners who have experienced or are experiencing post-adoption anxiety via Zoom. I explored questions including:
I analyzed my research data and categorized them into different themes.
Lack of Knowledge
Lacking knowledge of raising a pet led to anxiety and poor decision makings in pet owners. First-time pet owners are more likely to believe misinformation on the internet.
Many pet owners' anxieties come from the behaviour issues of their pets.
It's stressful for pet owners to travel with pets. However, leaving pets at home or at pet hotels will put the same amount of pressure on them.
Taking care of sick pets (especially the ones with chronic diseases or uncurable illnesses) is challenging for pet owners.
How might we better inform new pet owners on how to take care of their pets so that they feel more prepared and less anxious post-adoption?
User Stories & Task Selection
Using the HMW statement and considering the needs of Alicia, the persona, I created a set of 30 user stories under 7 epics to help me define the function of my product. Considering my interview findings and pain points of the persona, I chose the following epic and task to create my minimum viable product (MVP).
Build a community for pet owners and pet experts
Initiate a paid text consultation with a pet expert the user trusts and get answers to their questions.
To complete this task, the user needs to accomplish following subtasks:
After determining my task flows, I used paper and pen to sketch out possible solutions. Below are my top sketches that were translated into wireframes.
Example of rapid sketching to ideate for the first prototype
Based on the main features and task flow, I created initial low-fidelity wireframes to prototype and test in rapid iterations. The goal was to quickly test out different design components and receive ongoing user feedback early.
Initial Low-Fidelity Wireframes
I conducted 2 rounds of usability testing, with 5 new participants per round. I asked users how they would find a pet expert, send a request for text consultation, and converse with the expert. I closely monitored their behaviours and expectations around the app’s design and features.
Here’s how I incorporated user feedback to arrive at my final results:
Final Greyscale Wireframes
After incorporating all of the feedback from the user testing and resolving the most pressing usability issues, I landed on my final grayscale prototype.
Colours & Typography
With the final flow of screens established, I started thinking about the brand's visual identity before creating the high-fidelity prototype. Here is the list of adjectives the brand embodies:
Using these adjectives, I searched for inspiration and created a colour palette which reflected these words. For typography, I used a font that evoked the same feeling and was also legible at a small size.
Typography and Colors Used for Hi-Fidelity Prototype
When exploring an app name and icon, I wanted to create something unique and memorable to encourage easier word-of-mouth. My top choices included: Weave, PetPlus, PETalk, and Petology. I chose PETalk because it resonated the best with users and signified the app's purpose. After numerous iterations, I landed on the final wordmark below.
High Fidelity Prototype
After injecting colours and experimenting with typograpograhy, I created my final high-fidelity prototype.
To promote PETalk to my target audience, I designed a responsive marketing website that provides them with information that aids their decision-making and pushes them to convert.
A Responsive Marketing Website in Macbook Pro and iPhone 13
As another means of concept exploration, I envisioned what PETalk would look like on a tablet device. Given that the Questions & Answers section is text-heavy, the most logical platform expansion would be a larger viewport such as a desktop or a tablet. As the foundations for an IOS mobile app are already in place, designing and developing an iPad app would be more efficient than creating a desktop/mobile web app.
PETalk APP in iPad Pro and iPhone 13
Although there were many positive feedback after rounds of user testing, more improvements can still be made to this project:
My biggest takeaway from the process of human-centered design is to let the users inform the design. I needed to keep an open mind during user testing and feedback, as there will always be hard moments which can lead to pivotal changes.
Other key learnings: