Buddy

For healthier adoptions and fewer returned pets, shelters need a more efficient way to connect with potential adopters and prepare them for proper care.

My Role

User Experience
User Interface

My Team

Hannah Untarya

Deliverables

Research
Analytics
User Experience
User Interface
Challenges
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”

Interested pet adopters do not realize the importance of pets in shelters. A certain standards of their needs and lifestyle should meet theirs. And most animal shelter do not have the resources to let the interested adopters know how to ensure and prepare a pet's individual needs.

Research

UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM

My research began with the goal of better understanding what people go through when they adopt a pet, particularly what factors contribute to unsuccessful adoptions and returned pets.

We conducted user interviews through story telling with a first time adoptee, her name is Hannah Un.

We also did a contextual inquiry with an adoption counselor and volunteer. In addition to that, I conducted guerrilla research by talking to interested adopters about their experiences with with adoption, and other volunteers  about their experiences with people adopting pets at Underdog Alliance, Best Friends and more.

Melissa Soriano, a volunteer at Underdog Alliance & Best Friends in Los Angeles, taking hike trips and hanging out with sheltered dogs.

Research

KEY FINDINGS

The most valuable outcome of our research was learning to see pet adoption as less of a transaction and more of a matchmaking process. Although aspects of adoption strongly resemble a traditional purchasing experience, healthy adoptions treat the pet as an independent party with needs and interests — rather than an object of transaction — and strive to form a healthy, mutually nurturing partnership between pet and owner.

The key to healthy, lasting adoptions is a good match between the animal’s needs and owner’s lifestyle.

Owners who have a lifestyle that fits the needs of the animal they’re adopting (housing, activity level, children / other pets) tend to be much happier and less likely to be returned from the shelter.

Adopters don't realize the importance of lifestyle fit, so counselors have to advocate for pets' needs.

Most adopters come in with an idea of their "perfect" pet, but fail to consider if the needs of a particular breed align with their lifestyle. Advocating for the needs of each pet and helping adopters understand the necessary conditions for proper care (e.g. behavior, medical necessities, nutrition, space, etc..) is a huge part of the job.

Synthesis & Ideation

Journey Maps

Realizing that healthy adoptions were about aligning the interests of pets and adopters, we felt it was important to capture the journeys of each stakeholder involved in the pet adoption process:

Discovery
Pre-Adoption
Adoption
Post-Adoption
Feelings
Goals
  • Find new home
  • Get trained for new home
  • Cont. to be a good boy
  • Feel secured with new family
  • Be patient till humans take me home to my new family
  • Security with new family
  • Avoid being sent back to shelter
Activities
  • Grab visitors’ attention
  • Be playful and patient
  • Meet and play with potential family
  • Get all shots needed
  • Wait for new family
  • Go to new home
  • Settle into new home
  • Get used to new rules & routines
Pain Points
  • Lonely and hopeless from waiting
  • Not used to meeting a lot of humans visiting
  • Separation anxiety with the shelter
  • Unaware from misbehaving and humans gets frustrated
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Find new home
  • Grab visitors’ attention
  • Be playful and patient
  • Lonely and hopeless from waiting
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Get trained for new home
  • Cont. to be a good boy
  • Meet and play with potential family
  • Not used to meeting a lot of humans visiting
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Feel secured with new family
  • Be patient till humans take me home to my new family
  • Get all shots needed
  • Wait for new family
  • Go to new home
  • Separation anxiety with the shelter
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Security with new family
  • Avoid being sent back to shelter
  • Settle into new home
  • Get used to new rules & routines
  • Unaware from misbehaving and humans gets frustrated
Discovery
Pre-Adoption
Adoption
Post-Adoption
Feelings
Goals
  • To help an animal in need
  • Call shelter for avaiable pets
  • Ask shelter for advice on specofoc dogs that are fit for our household
  • Make sure Phoebe feels
    at home
  • Prepare current pets’ behavior for Phoebe arrival
  • Make sure Phoebe gets along with others and would feel at home
Activities
  • Visit shelters
  • Do research
  • Background check
  • Find pet that fits for my household
  • Meet and bring Phoebe
    home
  • Sign paperwork and pay fees
  • Introduce Phoebe to new family
  • Train Phoebe
Pain Points
  • Not sure if other pets will get along with new pet
  • Emotional after seeing pets in shelters
  • Scared for Phoebe’s state with new environment
  • Unaware and confused of Phoebes behavior
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • To help an animal in need
  • Visit shelters
  • Do research
  • Not sure if other pets will get along with new pet
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Call shelter for avaiable pets
  • Ask shelter for advice on specofoc dogs that are fit for our household
  • Background check
  • Find pet that fits for my household
  • Emotional after seeing pets in shelters
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Make sure Phoebe feels
    at home
  • Prepare current pets’ behavior for Phoebe arrival
  • Meet and bring Phoebe
    home
  • Sign paperwork and pay fees
  • Scared for Phoebe’s state with new environment
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Make sure Phoebe gets along with others and would feel at home
  • Introduce Phoebe to new family
  • Train Phoebe
  • Unaware and confused of Phoebes behavior
Discovery
Pre-Adoption
Adoption
Post-Adoption
Feelings
Goals
  • Help as many animals in need and find them new homes
  • Make sure future owners and pets are good fit
  • Make sure pets are healthy and safe
  • Prepare pets for new owner
  • Give instructions and advice to new owners
  • Help new owners prepare for pet’s mental and physically situation at new environment
Activities
  • Care for the shelter
  • Do outreach to help animals in need
  • Screen potential adopters
  • Match adopters with pets
  • Provide new owners documents of pet
  • Educate new owners for proper pet care
  • Call for follow-up
Pain Points
  • Limited budget
  • Too many animals in shelter
  • Interested adopters have unrealistic expectations
  • Hopes new pet owners fit the needs of new pet
  • Worried that the new owner provides little to no update on Buddy
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Help as many animals in need and find them new homes
  • Care for the shelter
  • Do outreach to help animals in need
  • Limited budget
  • Too many animals in shelter
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Make sure future owners and pets are good fit
  • Make sure pets are healthy and safe
  • Screen potential adopters
  • Match adopters with pets
  • Interested adopters have unrealistic expectations
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Prepare pets for new owner
  • Give instructions and advice to new owners
  • Provide new owners documents of pet
  • Educate new owners for proper pet care
  • Hopes new pet owners fit the needs of new pet
Feelings
Goals
Activities
Pain Points
  • Help new owners prepare for pet’s mental and physically situation at new environment
  • Call for follow-up
  • Worried that the new owner provides little to no update on Buddy

Story Board

After journey mapping, I have developing ideas to find solutions through storyboarding.

Today is Phoebe’s first day with Jenny. Everything went great during the day but Phoebe started acting peculiar.

Jenny Googles Phoebe’s behavior but can’t seem to find answers related to her behavior.

She remebers that she can access Phoebe’s personalized care plan online, which was created by the shelter employees prior to adoption.

Jenny now has a better idea of Phoebe’s behaviors and feels confident of the situation.

Prototype

User Flow and Site Map

Sketches

Design

Style Guide

Filson Pro
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Primary
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Secondary
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Design

Functionality

Home Screen

Easy access to your pet list and other features such as making appointments, donating, events and locating lost pets.

Dog Training and Tricks

Step-by-step video and photo instructions to help teach your dog tricks from basic obedience like “sit” and “stay” to advanced tricks like “fetch leash” and “play dead”.

Pet Profile - Care Plan

Every pet comes with unique needs and instructions for care. On the pet profile, you can access the care plan and review their responsibilities and reference to ensure proper pet care.

Reflection

What I Learned

Challenging attitudes is easy, changing behaviors is hard.

Buddy is as a concept for challenging attitudes about adoption, some interested adopters prefer their own interest in a specific type/character of dogs they prefer, not the wellbeing of animals. But to change that behavior through design will require a deeper dive into motivations and system-level considerations.

Understanding motivations & context of use

Preferably, I would have spent more time conducting contextual inquiry with adoption counselors and shelter workers, to better understand how resource constraints manifested in their work caring for the animals and facilitating adoptions. This would allow me to create a tool that reflects more of the realities in their daily operations.

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