Dog Community App
An app designed to support new dog owners in North America by given them the opportunity to connect with other owners through community events.
Figma, Illustrator, Photoshop
UX Designer, Researcher, Copywriter
Getting a new dog is always exciting, whether it's a puppy from a breeder or a rescue from a shelter, but it's a big adjustment and commitment. While most to-be dog parents are aware of this fact, the crucial first weeks of ownership are a tumultuous time for both the owner and dog.
54% of dog owners expressed having regrets about getting a dog,
with 27% of owners feeling strongly about their regret.
Also known as "Puppy Blues", an emotional state that commonly occurs when owning and caring for a new dog. Associated feelings include anxiety, disappointment, gregret, and even depression.
Setting unrealistic expectations
New owners often set themselves up for disappointment when they realize their dog doesn’t meet their expectations, whether it’s with training or their overall personality and behaviour.
Lack of information and preparedness
Sometimes new owners forget to do essential research, such as looking at the temperaments and behaviours associated with their breed of dog.
I believe that by providing support, tools, and additional resources for new dog owners in North America it will help them experience less stress and regret during their first weeks of ownership. I will know this is true when I see a lower percentage of dog owners expressing feelings of ownership regret or “puppy blues”.
Five interviews were conducted virtually over a call using two online platforms, Discord and Messenger.
To ensure that a variety of data was collected, participants were also considered based on how they got their dogs, such as if they had bought their dogs from a breeder, adopted from a shelter or organization, or their dogs were rehomed by the previous owner.
Participants were then chosen with these following criteria:
Must be living in North America
Must currently own a dog
Must have primary or shared ownership of their dog (responsible for most, if not all, caring and/or training aspects)
Key Insights & Themes
After conducting the user interviews, insights were gathered and distilled into three key themes:
Help & Support
It takes a village to raise a dog. As a new dog owner, it’s incredibly helpful to have people to reach out to when things get tough.
Research is vital to raising a dog, owners have to juggle remembering important information pertaining to their dog’s training, behaviour, and overall health.
As a first-time dog owner, training can be a daunting task, and owners may accidentally reinforce bad habits.
I chose the theme of Help & Support, as the information I gathered from both my research and interviews showed that many dog owners appreciated the support they received from friends, family, and other dog owners. From here I crafted this problem statement:
"How might we help new dog owners in North America get support from the dog community so that the stress of care, training, and feelings of regret during the first weeks of ownership are minimized?"
Persona, Experience Map, Stories
Once the persona and experience map were established, I began crafting user stories to help ideate what features would be most important to add in the designed solution.
The three epics created were Connecting, Learning, and Training. I chose the core epic of Connecting as it addressed the problem statement and the persona's pain points the most. By helping new dog owners connect to other owners, new and experienced, they can get support and advice from people who have been in their shoes, and are familiar with the highs and lows of having a dog.
The user stories for this epic were expanded as shown below:
For the chosen task, the user is searching for a puppy-specific event. Dog events, whether casual or focused on training, are a great way for dogs of any age to interact with other dogs in a controlled environment to gain valuable social experience.
These events can also be a great opportunity for new dog owners to connect with other owners in-person to get advice, tips, and bond with others over the shared experience of dog ownership. These connections can help create a support network that a new dog owner can lean on when times with their dog get a little "ruff".
Based on the user task flow, I began sketching potential screens that would be included in the initial prototype. I went through a handful of iterations for each screen before deciding on which would be chosen as the solution sketches.
After exploring different layouts, these sketches were chosen as they were able to visually represent the user task flow in the most seamless manner.
Two rounds of usability tests were conducted both in-person and over three online platforms, Zoom, Discord, and Slack.
Due to the time constraints of this project, there were no specific criteria that participants had to meet, but I tried my best to gather participants that owned dogs, or at least had experience owning a pet.
First Round Testing Results
Users were able to complete tasks with relative ease. If they ran into any issues they were able to overcome their initial confusion to complete the tasks.
One of the major changes implemented into the second prototype was changing the design of the top and bottom navigation bars, as well as adding labels underneath the navigation icons for better accessibility.
Other notable changes included:
Second Round Testing Results
In the second round, users were able to complete the same tasks with lesser issues, but users noted specific issues that testers in the previous round did not notice.
Further cosmetic revisions were made to the Event Details screen to ensure that the information would be displayed in an organized manner that the user could easily scan.
Other notable changes included:
I wanted the name to communicate to users what the app does, without it being too obvious or using an odd combination of existing words to force uniqueness.
I eventually settled on Bowwow as it made it obvious that it was a dog-oriented app, but has a subtle second meaning as it's the sound of a dog's bark, representing how they communicate with each other.
Wordmark and Logo Sketches
After deciding on the app's name, I started ideating what the potential wordmark and logo could look like. There were many iterations of several ideas, but I mostly focused on the idea of representing the app's focus on communication and connection.
Finalized Wordmark & Logo
After the exploratory sketches, I settled on this particular wordmark and logo combination as they worked the best with each other, and also conveyed the purpose of the app in a sible but fun way.
The two W's in the middle were also merged based on feedback that the two W's on their own were a bit visually overwhelming.
Typography & Colour
The type Como and Asap were chosen based on their roundness and legibility, but maintaining a playfulness and energy that accurately represents the overall friendly nature of the app.
As for the colours, a brighter palette was crafted to again, reflect the app's energetic but welcoming tone.
To maintain visual consistency across all the screens, a UI Library was created to keep track of how certain visual elements look.
A responsive marketing website was also created to advertise Bowwow.
Design Takes Time
Working on this project over the course of 8 weeks made me realize just how much work goes into designing an app. It's not just making it look nice, a lot of thought and effort goes into researching and implementing the information into the final solution.
Feedback is Vital
Whether it was feedback from peers or instructors, I truly valued the feedback I received on my project. It's always interesting to see how people interpret what I've designed.
Due to the time constraints of this project, I did not have the time to add illustrations in my final prototype. I feel that simple illustrations could be quite effective in making the app feel more fresh and inviting.
Connectivity to other social media
In the future, the mobile app would be able to connect to a user's existing social media accounts, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit. This would allow dog owners to interact in multiple facets through the app.
Additional features would be added to Bowwow to further enhance the user experience, such as a verification system for both users and information posted with in the app, as well as adding more ways dog owners can connect and interact with one another.