Designing an app to help users take short breaks during busy days, to improve their energy, motivation, the relationship with their partners - and more importantly, their pets.
Solo, 4 week project (started on February 8th, 2021)
It's been hard to fully take advantage of being home with pets.
Work from Home = More Meetings + Less Exercise
Have you ever been so busy, that you weren’t able to spend enough time with your pets?
At the end of the day, have you felt exhausted and unmotivated while your dogs never got a chance to spend their own energy?
Do you share those responsibilities with a partner or family member, but your schedules are far different, causing one of you to put in uneven amounts of effort dedicated to your pets?
The Solution: Self-care while caring for your pets
Syncing accounts and getting points for completing tasks for each pet will not only encourage partners to help out, but also make sure that pet information is kept up to date in the app, turning it into an effective communication tool.
Setting up reminders to take short breaks
This feature allows users to set up reminders to take breaks, with the option to sync with their work calendar. They can be delayed or stopped as needed, but otherwise, will prompt you to start a timer with 5 minute increments, that will then be converted into points.
Task manager, history and health tracker
Each pet has a profile and set of tasks that you can customize to their unique needs. Tasks can be created as a one time event or to repeat within certain intervals and the health tracker can help you take notes of medicine names, dosage, weight information, enclosure temperature, water parameters… the possibilities are endless.
Understand how people currently take care of their pets and what obstacles they face.
• Survey: 39 people
• Interview: 5 people selected from the survey.
I chose to start with a Survey to get as many points of view as possible because I started with such a broad topic, and then I further explored the more common topics through interviews. This is what I found:
Average Pets per Household = 3
“Working from home allowed me to be a little more on top of pet care. But they see I’m home, and that I still can’t pay attention to them for a very long time.”
“After a long busy day, I feel too exhausted and unmotivated for exercise and play.”
"I like to buy top quality pet food. I want my pets to stay healthy and avoid unexpected vet bills."
"Staying organized and coordinating responsibilities with my partner is important. We would like to share responsibilities more equally."
From all of these findings, I created a Persona: a person that is entirely backed by research. She represented all of my participants, summarized in one. My ideal target audience. Meet Lauren:
To further understand Lauren's current day, I created this Journey Map. I found that this helped me identify where opportunities might lie. I felt that I was slowly getting closer to an idea: maybe we should take advantage of the time Lauren still feels rested enough to take action.
Leading Ideation Sessions
I created a problem statement to help guide the rest of my process, which was used to lead a couple of Ideation Sessions. Those are design activities that help you understand how people would expect a problem to be solved. I conducted two Ideation Sessions with a total of 7 people. The statement I provided the participants with was:
“Lauren and her partner have not been paying enough attention to their pets. They need a flexible way to allocate time to play, care and exercise them while energy levels are up, and efficiently share responsibilities, so they can stay motivated while making sure their pet’s needs are met.”
I've organized all the participant's ideas through a Prioritization Matrix, which helped me identify what kinds of app features would cause the highest impact with the least amount of effort for a team of stakeholders.
With that information, I created this list of features consisting of my MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
• Task management that syncs multiple contributors
• Motivation System with friendly competition
• Reminders to take breaks during work hours
• Animal health/information tracker to help determine other possible tasks
After defining my MVP, I made multiple sketches of what the product's screens could look like. I tested every single sketch to see what was most visually pleasing and intuitive to users like Lauren. The larger version on the top were the winners and the smaller were the other variations.
Houselhold Profile/ Leaderboard
Pet Profile/ Task list
Usability Test Tasks
•You want to sync your tasks with your partner, add him/her to your profile.
•You just finished walking your dog, mark that task as done.
•You want to take a short break from work to play with your dog and get points for it. Create a timer for your dog.
At this time I wasn't so sure how I wanted to create the notification experience, so I settled with allowing the users to create a timer manually if they wanted to. These were the test results:
• The hamburger menu was too distracting and currently served no purpose: participants would often click it to get to their goal but nothing would happen.
• There was no need for a timer to be created from the main screen, especially when you need to assign it to a specific pet for history and point tracking purposes.
Meanwhile, I was also trying to work on the app's branding. I created a Moodboard and a font/button guide to guide the high-fidelity prototype. I wanted it to feel energetic, cute and fun, and I thought that adding a few cartoony characters could help it feel less serious and give people something fun and new to look at.
And so the high-fidelity prototype was created. The usability tasks stayed pretty much the same, with the bonus of it starting out with the notification to see what people's impressions would be. The results were:
• It would help to make the leaderboard look more obviously like one. The ribbons with just a number on them weren't clear enough.
• Rethink the "household profile" button: the house shape is what users expected a "home" button to look like.
• The color of the "To Do" switch should be changed to look a little less like an unfinished task. While most people had no issues identifying it as a switch, I felt this was valid feedback.
Prototype (and Bonus Login Design)
My next steps for this product would consist of:
• Going more in-depth with research on how exercise impacts your levels of energy and motivation
• Designing and testing additional screens, like the health/history tracking information and exploring how to make it as customizable as possible, and the calendar-aware setup process.
Pawse! was a very fun project to work on and learn about UX Design along the way. I am proud to be able to use research to make something that I know would be useful to the people I got to learn from, and that is also pleasing to look at and interact with. In hindsight, there are a lot of things I would have liked to have done differently, especially early on, there turned out to be so many more questions that I'd like to ask. But that's the beauty of UX, the research never ends!
Thank you for following along this project still in progress, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me, I'll be happy to chat!