Adopt a Pet, Case Study
Anestis Goudas
UI, UX Designer

Adopt a Pet, Case Study

An application that helps adoptable pets find a new home.

Adopt a Pet, Case Study

I've been asked to present a case study and design an experience, where people can find and adopt pets, from appropriate shelters & foster homes.

My principle is “Start design with a Why” to clearly understand why users need this app. I should research what the users’ goals are and how they achieve them. 

Reading and processing the given brief, I concluded to a thought: this imaginary case study, would be a combination of e-commerce and a matchmaking profile application. I divided my research based on these two major factors:

  1. People who would like to adopt a new pet via an app or site, that divided into two sub-categories:
    • Users who already have a pet and need a second one
    • Those users who will adopt for their first time
  2. The various shelters who provide this service and need to give the opportunity to people to adopt a pet, but to the right ones, through an evaluation process.

Basically, we speak about two sides, when we think the e-commerce similarities: 

  • Buyers: Users who want to adopt,
  • Sellers: Shelter & Foster home, who want their pets to be adopted.

Adopt a Pet, Case Study

Research

  • Users-Fosters
    1. On my research, I found out, that are many shelters around an area or a country. That means that users and possible fosters parents have to search online by keywords on search engines, to find a shelter that fits their needs and their location of adopting a pet. 
    2. Moreover, many shelters provide limited, basic or not organized information and process, for adopting a pet.
    3. All users provide basic information in most adoption sites, which ends up to Shelters homes not having clear data and information about the future foster-parent and if they are capable to adopt.
  • Shelter & Foster Homes:
    1. Most sites miss the ability of reviews & ratings from previous users-fosters where they would the chance to share their experience interacting with the shelter or even the pet they adopted.
    2. There is not an organized directory list of the available Shelters per area or per country, that provide information &  services to future users-fosters people.
    3. A specific Library full of articles, posts, experiences and videos of "How to", when we refer to adopted animals.
    4. Specific persons (mostly vets) behind each Shelter who can provide their online help via a chat messaging system made on the application.

Main Objectives

A fully functional, informative and totally updated application that enlists all the available shelters per area or per country, who gives attention to its users and provides detailed process and information of how someone can be a pet-foster. 

Users are requested to provide valuable information on the start, so to find what they are looking easier. At the end of the process, the user has to fill up a quick form so to book an appointment with the shelter.

It's an application that brings together those who want to adopt and those who are responsible for their pets to be adopted. A connection must be made, equally. 

Below I explain my research steps, design process, and outcome application.

Adopt a Pet, Case Study

1. Location of Shelters & Fosters Homes.

In order for a user-foster to find an adoption shelter and to be able to adopt a pet, I wanted to direct the application to help the user find valuable information about the shelter. Preferably a user will visit a shelter that belongs to his area of living, but based on my own experience and the conducted interviews, someone could travel across his country to adopt a pet that seen online and he really needs to adopt. 

Also, the Location feature gives the application the opportunity to have a global scalability, like a huge list of available adoption sites for each country eg. Greek adoption sites, Polish adoptions sites and so on.

Questions that asked during the users' interviews:

  1. Assuming you want to adopt a pet, would you look on adoption shelters only in your area of living or in more areas across a country?
    Depending on the users' answers, will direct me to build up a map of available and active adoption shelters in a country, but filtered to the user's current location, if the user has enabled the Location feature on his mobile device.
    ANSWERS: 80% In my area, 20% Across my country

  2.  It would be convenient for you to have a list of the available adoption shelters in your country?
    Based on replies, I can propose to build a list-table with filters showing the available adoption shelters across a country.

    ANSWERS: 90% Definitely, 10% I don't mind

  3. Would you consider previously fosters opinions of a specific adoption shelter, before you chose to continue on the adoption?

    I asked this question, to value the opinions, reviews, and ratings of an adoption shelter, from users who have already adopted a pet from that specific shelter. I wanted to value the factors like the shelter's service, adoption process, shelter's conditions, pets health condition etc.

    ANSWERS100% It's necessary for me, 0% I never thought of this.

Adopt a Pet, Case Study

2. Users Interviews

At this particular phase of the case study, I conducted face to face or phone calls user interviews in order to get a better understanding of how they think about a possible pet adoption: What they value in an adoption pet phase and in what characteristics are most interested. 

With all these in mind, I will be able to create filters for users' search options.

So, I came up with a set of questions to be able to gather valuable information but also analytic stats. (The number of questions can be expanded, to more detailed of course)

Conducted Questions:

  • Do you prefer to adopt or buy a pet?
  • If your answer was to adopt a pet, why's that?
  • What kind of pet do you prefer? A cat or a dog?
  • Why you choose this kind of pet?
  • Are you interested in a specific breed?
  • Is the pet's age matters to you?
  • What about the gender? Is it matters to you?
  • Is the pet's size something to consider of?
  • Do you have a preferred color that you like on a pet?
  • Would you like to have access to its medical history status?
  • Would you prefer a sterilized pet?

I conducted the interviews and asked the above questions to randomly chosen people of various backgrounds, gender, and style of living. The replies gave me short but clear answers of how possible foster-users think of when they want to adopt a pet and all these facts will guide me to create a better filtering system.

3. Generic, extra questions

I also asked users to answer some basic questions to try figuring how they use their mobile device, their apps, which are those apps etc. My thoughts behind these questions were to conclude users preferable use of applications and how.

  1. In case you would like to have a new pet in your house, would you be interested in having an application that would help you see detailed information for adopting a pet, provide information how to care and grow a pet, etc..?
    Scale your answer (0-5)
    ANSWERS
    Most replied "I would love to have such an app" 5/5

  2. What other popular applications do you use?
    Please, put it in order of daily usage.
    ANSWERS
    1. Instagram, 2. Facebook, 3. Tinder, 4. Snapchat

  3. When you use an online e-shop, do you know how to handle the filtering system? Is it something that you value a lot?
    Scale your answer (0-5)
    ANSWERS
    Most replied "It's necessary for me" 4/5

Personas

I concentrated on 2 main types of target users: 

  • People who already have a pet in their home and they would like to adopt another one, 
  • and those who would like to adopt for their first time a pet. 

Based on my research, I created primary and secondary personas to define who may be and may not be my target user. I referred to them throughout the entire product development process. My goal was to persuade a new user to use the app and turn him into a regular user, but how's that would be possible? 

  1. An already pet-foster user can adopt one more or two pets (based on our experience), so we have to keep him using the app by developing a Library of articles, posts informative of how to raise, take care and develop a relationship with his pet/s.
  2. The second user is a new user that will register and interact with the app, so to learn more about how to adopt his first pet, by also using the Library to enter the world of pet fosters for the first time and learn from guides, posts & articles.

My aim was to create an impact on users by using the app so to be a trustworthy app. Eventually, a happy user foster will auto-promotes the app to his circle, because what I've experienced as a person in the latest years, more people are keen to adopt a pet.

I got also into consideration things like what triggers them to complete the steps, until reaching the final one.

Adopt a Pet, Case Study
Adopt a Pet, Case Study

User Journey Diagram & Flow map

In order to get to know our users' behavior better, I created a User Journey Diagram.

  • The app, guides and informs the user how to interact with it from the very first screen.
  • Creating shortcuts in the whole application, the user can go from one screen to another and interact, by giving him all available options to reach the final step.
  • The adoption steps made by using an e-commerce guide style:
    Register/Sign in - View available pets - Favorite or Proceed to the Interest page - Fillup his details that the Shelter requires - Book an appointment.

Adopt a Pet, Case Study


Adopt a Pet, Case Study

Creation of Users Profiles

Having all this user data, I thought of a way to pre-apply all these users' information, after registration. 

When a new user registers to the application and he's about to access the main application interface, we prompt the user to answer some of the questions mentioned above. 

In my opinion, this will create unique users profiles and whenever using the app, they will have automated proposals based on their profile, which they created previously. Pre-applied filters in short. Of course, the user will have still the opportunity to adjust the app's filters according to his needs each time or he can edit and re-reply to those questions if something changed and wants something different, via his profile settings.

But this works and vice-versa for the Shelters & Fosters home: If a user replies to these questions, they have a data user profile which along with the final form a possible foster completes at the end of the process, they create a full user profile for possible adoption. That means that they will have pre-access stats & analytics for a possible future pet-foster, so they will be in a better position to evaluate his request.

Except for the users who want to adopt or to learn more about pet care etc, I created a 3rd type of user: The Vet. It would be a good feature to the app, people who work to the shelters or are pet doctors to contribute to the app, by providing info and guidance to every user questions.

We talk about 3 types of user:

  • The user who wants to adopt 
  • The user who wants to get information & possible adopt again
  • The user (Vet) who wants to provide help

Adopt a Pet, Case Study

Short online surveys about Shelters.

I quickly researched and analyzed various competitors. The report helped me to understand their standards, missing points and identify opportunities to innovate my imaginary app case study.

  • From what I've seen online, most of the sites were having trouble to apply detailed search filters when a user searches based on his own criteria:
    Shelter area, Breed, Sex, Age were the most used filter criteria.

  • In some sites, the Sorting option was missing.

  • The non-existence of a user form: It's a form the user has to fill up with his background, answer various psychological questions, in order to get the required appointment in the shelter. This is essential for creating a user profile to help the shelter gather information about the possible future foster.


Shelters: Evaluation part

Finishing researching & interviewing the users, that was the first step of my research, I start looking for the second part:

How the Shelters & Fosters homes evaluate a user to be a possible foster and adopt a pet.

Shelter & foster homes, cannot give permission to anyone to adopt a pet. They have to create a process or a form of interest, based on questions to examine who the possible user-foster is and if he's able to adopt and take care of his new pet. In other words, to create the whole background, psychological info of the future foster user.

Made a research online and I gathered some of the best questions for Shelters to ask each possible foster. It will be the very last step where the user has to fill up the form so to book an appointment with the Shelter, in order to see the pet from close and eventually get interviewed in person by the people of the Shelter, before he finally adopts the pet.

Adopt a Pet, Case Study

Library

A library with important information is available to all kind of users. Structured, easy to go through and constantly updated to meet user needs. A necessary feature to be added to the application.

It will create a virality for users who want to learn more about how they can adopt, how they can raise and take care of their pets in the long run. It enriches the content and builds relations between users and the app because even if a user has already adopted a pet can return to the app to learn and read valuable topics, posts, videos etc.

It may include guides on how to adopt, pros & cons of each breed, how to help you chose the desired pet, what are their needs etc.


Messaging System: Ask a Vet

My idea behind the Messaging system is simple: Every shelter should have a representative inside the app. He may be a vet, a volunteer...

Every user that has a specific question can contact directly the person responsible from a specific shelter, so to learn more about how to etc. Building a connection between users, representatives/vets and the app will help all sides to build a relationship and have returning users to via the application.

So, as mentioned above we have another 3rd type of user: the Vet. He can signup through the same Registration screen, but he has to complete a different registration process, which I don't show it in this case study, due to my given time to deliver an MVP product.

Main Wireframes

The wireframing process was where things began to fall into place. Initial paper sketches were a nice start, but really not ideal given my short timeline, so I used them only to give me a basic direction of the app's screens.

I quickly transitioned into the Sketch app and got busy framing. This helped me identify gaps and issues like missing steps, useless steps, and unclear call-to-action buttons. 

Adopt a Pet, Case Study

Branding & Colors

Now that my wireframing phase was completed, I was ready to begin my UI Design of the app, but first I had to bring up ideas regarding the Branding & general aesthetic appearance of the app. 

Based on research and inspiration and the given available time, I came up with the idea:

  • Regarding the logotype, since we talk about a Case Study, I didn't pay much attention at this stage, so I choose a more generic, related to the brief idea. It's playful, not so corporate and I think it reveals the app's subject.

  • Using a palette of colours that reflect the application's main subject: the PETS.

  • So, I conclude to the idea of using colors taken actually from most common pets colors: Brownish colors, Black, White & Gray

  • I searched for various pet photos online to conclude to the above ideas.
Adopt a Pet, Case Study

UI Design: the Visual part

After creating my wireframes & the general branding of the app, I started working on the visual part of this app. I put in mind all of my research to create a light and clean UI that will not distract users from their goals. 

In the given time to complete my UX/UI Case Study, I try to deliver something usable, engaging for the users and build an app that applies all requests and needs! 

In other words, I tried to create an MVP application, to which we can build later with better UI (and UX) structure and styling.

Using the app

Below you can test via Marvel app, the basic parts of the application.

Conclusion

I found this project to be a sprint case study for learning more about the UX Design in less a week and moreover it helped me to understand and divide users and their needs in separate categories, that eventually end up to the same purpose. How & why someone wants to adopt a pet, to learn more about it and every part, adopters & shelters, do the work for adopted happier pets.

My biggest challenge was to take care time with user research, as it’s vital to the integrity of a useful app. Also, really understanding users’ needs, tendencies, human behaviour, universal UI graphics and layouts along with current technologies and practices all play significant roles in the success of a stable UX/UI design.For every type of user of the app, I thought why & how they can use the app, in order to end up with something valuable in the end. 

In the whole process I had in mind the quote "Don't make me think", so I tried to create smooth, easy to proceed steps, until every user gets the desired result, either adopting, either learning or experience the app.

Dear Anestis Goudas,

Best,