2 week design challenge 2017: User Research, UX Design, Visual Design
Millions of animals are currently in shelters and foster homes awaiting adoption. How can design help connect people who looking for a new pet with the right companion for them? How can an adopter find a pet that matches their lifestyle, their wants and the needs of the pet? Choosing to rescue a pet is a reflective experience. It requires potential adopters to think about their lifestyle to see what pet is best for them and use those insights to choose a lifelong companion from the shelter.Considering the scope and scale of this 2 week challenge, I developed design principles after the research stage to better focus the points of this product.
Maintain the magic of discovery. Design the digital experience to enhance the physical one by allowing the connections between the adopter and the pet to be made in person.
Good things take time. Patience is required for the process to work, but cut off unnecessary trips and interactions. Save time where it can be saved.
Help users make more informed decisions through questions presented. Relationships can’t be forced but aim to create opportunities where they can be fostered.
How to find the "right" Pet?
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals suggests a simple framework to help you choose the right pet for you, and understand the needs of the pet you're thinking about getting. Think P.E.T.S. – Place, Exercise, Time and Spend. The PETS quiz is an essential part of the experience focusing on education the users and priming them for the harder questions they may need to answer down the timeline. For further research beyond the cope of the challenge, key point of communication design would be finding out the best way to phrase questions through tone and copy. Although I had taken the information from the PDSA site, it should be translated further for a clearer digital experience.The most difficult part of adoption is finding the pet that best matches the user’s wants and needs. The relationship has to be a mutually beneficial. With this in mind, a simple series of profile settings were mocked up to make the adoption process smoother. These along with the answers from the PETS quiz can narrow down the pets that may match the user’s lifestyle.
The most difficult part of adoption is finding the pet that best matches the user’s wants and needs. The relationship has to be a mutually beneficial. With this in mind, a simple series of profile settings were mocked up to make the adoption process smoother. These along with the answers from the PETS quiz can narrow down the pets that may match the user’s lifestyle. Despite its popularity, a dog or cat may not always be appropriate for the adopter. The list of compatible pets can direct the user to smaller animals like turtles and hamsters without discouraging the user from all forms of adoption. This also leaves opportunity for the user to find out more about different pets they hadn’t considered. Once the list of matches are made, pets are shown in order from those that are most closely matched to the least. By showing all of the options available, it allows the users to maintain a sense of discovery and not limit the connections to a digital experience. Shelters operate in different ways. Potential adopters may not always be able to leave with a pet on the day they come in. Shelters can require introduction of potential pets to current family members and existing pets, or ask for specific documents. To streamline the process and set proper expectations, this part of the flow aims to provide information through scaffolded planning.
Research & Synthesis
Approaching this challenge without personal experience, I dedicated time to research to understand how these connections were made. Along with learning more about the adoption process through online resources, I wanted to talk to people who have had exposure to this problem space through adoption or volunteering efforts. I reached out to people who were in the process of adopting, had experience adopting, or were looking to adopt to get a better sense of the experience and used these five interview questions to guide our conversation :
- Prior your experience with rescue, have you owned a pet?
- How much and what kind of research was done before going to the shelter?
- Were you looking to find a pet with specific characteristics or going more by feel?
- Describe your overall experience. What surprised you the most about the process?
- If you have already adopted, what do you wish you knew?
As I was interviewing, I began to see a pattern of topics that came up in the adoption process. Every experience was incredibly unique depending on the person and the shelter. Process documentation below maps the thought process behind this challenge. The scale of the research is according to the time limits of this challenge.
Key Take Aways
Through my research, I was able to identify key pain points I wanted to address in my design.
- Research was part of the process. Unprepared adopters relied heavily on more knowledgeable peers and shelter volunteers to best match them to a pet. This relay lead to miscommunication of expectations and unexpected challenges during the process.
- Pre Adoption: Making sure you are emotionally, physically and financially ready for a pet can take lots of preparation
- Process of Adoption: Visiting shelters to find the right match, collecting documents and going through with the adoption process can take anywhere between one day to multiple months.
- Post Adoption: Adopting a pet is a lifelong commitment. Newly adopted pets can require extra time for training and for health and grooming appointments.