Prepare for your pets like they are new children. Chilipet is a convenient digital solution to reduce the number of abandoned pets from the roots of pet owners. It can support them before and during their journey with their pets. Especially for first-time pet owners, the goal is to help them understand their pets better, consider their decisions more carefully and prepare to be a qualified parent.
* Project Type Capstone Project
* Duration Oct. 2021 - Dec. 2021
* My Role UX/ UI Designer
* Platform IOS
* Tools Figma, Invision
First, to prepare to start this capstone project, I began to find problems that would make people feel overwhelmed. I care about pets, and the topic of abandoned pets hurt me so much.
During the coronavirus pandemic, there are a bunch of people becoming first-time pet owners. People suddenly felt lonely and were not used to it, so it was a popular trend to keep a new pet to accompany them to make them less overwhelmed.
As an animal welfare organization in the U.S., Best Friends Animal Society had indicated that there was 70% increase of adapting animals compared to 2019. the number of people had increased to sign up to foster animals when the pandemic first came. The prices were also raised by some irresponsible breeders due to the high demand for pets appearing.
However, in the later time, which was in the middle of the pandemic, there was an increasing number of abandoned pets. The amount of people searching ''buy a puppy''quadrupled in the middle of March in 2020 and doubled again in early May, and then a rising number of searching for ''sell a dog'' has discovered in November.
I found a few data online to support my problem space as a real social problem, and also for me to understand the topic better and why is it important?
of new dog owners are first-time pet owners during pandemic
(Compared to 10% in 2016)
But how did they do? What was the situation pets have faced during the pandemic?
2 Times Higher
* of inquires per month for people who couldn't care for their dogs anymore to adoption center /* of calls to animal rescue center asking to rescue abandoned pets /* of leaving bags of kittens and their mother on doorsteps
(Compared to the situation before COVID-19)
I guess someone would say "shelters can also be their new home", but the fact was...
of dogs and cats are enthanized in animal shelter in U.S. each year
(Overcrowding as the main reason and health issues as the second reason)
Because of the sudden trend to keep a new pet, some first-time pet owners were unprepared or found their pets not a good fit as their reasons for wanting to abandon their pets. There were many things they didn't understand about their new pets which would make them feel anxious and annoyed. There should be lots of information they need to learn before keeping them, and they have to understand settling a pet is not as easy as they think.
I conducted a few interviews to better understanding target groups' experience of preparing and keeping a pets.
So...here comes a question...
How might we better prepare and educate first-time pet owners about pet behaviours and proper care in order to reduce the number of abandoned pets?
After researching the problem, the persona was created to understand one of the users' pain points and goals, to help me create and prioritize features to support her.
This task flow in the app is created based on the primary and secondary user stories.
Primary Task As a first-time pet owner, I want to be informed what pet-related problems I might face in the future, so that I can think twice according to my ability before adopting or buying my pet, or mentally be better prepared in advance.
Secondary Task As a first-time pet owner, I want to be informed what products I have to buy before my pet coming, so that I won't waste my money on buying otiose items that I won't use at all.
I found some user interface inspirations from competitors' apps and other relevant apps, to understand why they are doing great and organize my ideas.
According to the UI inspirations boards, I have made sketches on paper to brainstorm multiple layout ideas for each main feature/ page. This step helped me develop my mid-fi prototype by understanding which layout worked well with the concept of the app and what style I would like to focus on. Therefore I didn't need to go back and forth later on deciding the style and layout of my app.
UI Design Decision
I have decided to involve mainly individual round-like geometric shapes in my app as every pet is unique with an individual personality. The cards and boxes in my app were designed with soft and round edges, to match the tone of fluffy pets.
Mid-fi prototypes were made to help me focus on useability instead of the colors. Usability is always the primary key point in UX/UI design. Therefore, based on two rounds of user testings, I have made many adjustments to improve the app's usability. Here you can find a few prominent examples of adjustments.
After mid-fi prototypes and before diving deeply into the branding design of the app, I took some time to brainstorm some words to organize my ideas. Those words helped me to understand the tone of branding. They kept reminding me of the purpose of the app to keep a visual consistency through the whole branding.
Adjectives for values Empathetic, Energetic, Cute, Confident, Expecting, Healing, Vibrant, Friendly, Sweet, Approachable, Responsible, Caring, Tolerant, Passion, Love
I found some visual identity/ branding inspirations on my mood board to better understand the tone of my app and decide on a style of colors, logos and illustrations.
According to research for the mood board, values and tones, I have decided to choose those branding colors to match the app's purpose.
Based on the color psychology, I categorized branding's values which I mentioned before, in different colors and found out blue, pink, and red best fit the brand's values. Moreover, I have explored many colors from my mood boards onto the mid-fi prototypes. However, many of them couldn't work well together as they failed to pass the color accessibility checks. The blue, pink, and red I chose successfully passed the accessibility check, meanwhile matched the brand's values.
Blue Confident, Healing, Responsible, Tolerant Pink Empathetic, Cute, Friendly, Sweet, Approachable, Caring Red Energetic, Vibrant, Passion, Love
As you saw in my VI mood board, I didn't aim to design my logo with only typography but also with an icon to better convey the brand's values and ideas and be more attractive and unique.
After a few sketches of paws, I realized the idea was too ordinary and basic, I remembered seeing a lot of paws as logos for pet supply stores. I started to find a way to make it more unique. In my inspiration board, many pet-related logos were designed with a cat and a dog beside each other, and I felt like it was one of the trends for designing logos for pets. However, I was thinking, what if we merged cats and dogs as one type of pet, a catish dog, a dogish cat, or something that looked like a pet but not an actual pet. (Meanwhile still keeping Childipet's values )
After sketches and explorations on logo icons and typographies, here you could find the result of the final logo I designed and its variations.
Typography In the end, I chose the typeface, "Orkney," to work with slight modifications for a unique logo. I chose the typeface as my based font because this typeface had the small individual feature of curving lines at the buttons of "i" and "t." They looked like tails that matched my pet-related concept.
Logo Icon It was the final decided result of a dogish cat or something that looked like a pet but not an actual pet. The ears were intentionally combined with a heart and included the letter "P" from "Pets." I tried to build some bridges in the corners of the pet's face to make the corners softer so they could be more friendly and fit the UI I created before for my mid-fi prototypes. It was also like building delicate bridges between pets and pet owners on information and cognition gaps, to make their life with pets easier. The app provided a softer, more empathetic, and acceptable way to educate users about pet behaviors, such as a pet's point of view directly talking to you in onboarding pages. The "bridge" idea was also involved in the logo's typography tweaks.
Those are customized illustrations I made for the app. As I wanted my app to be cute, playful, attractive, healing, and relaxed, I would love my app to be illustrative, mainly illustrations, not actual images. My branding concept was from the idea of pets being children and childish, so the decision was made for innocent and playful illustrations.
Illustration Style Keywords Pets, Simple, Flat, Cute, Direct, Childish, Relaxed, Alive, Fun
Based on the primary and secondary user tasks, those were main highlights of features were added to solve the problem conveniently.
How can users understand or evaluate if you are ready to keep a pet? Keeping a pet is not as easy as they think. We will help them to evaluate if they are fit or ready to keep a pet with 5 steps of informing benefits of keeping a cat and future challenges, in order to suggest them to think twice and more carefully.
How can first-time pet owners be informed about all possible future challenges of living with a pet? It will be good for them to understand those challenges they might face later in advance, be better mentally prepared, or re-consider the decision to keep a pet.
How can first-time pet owners clearly and quickly check what they have to buy? The checklists help them review what they need to buy, what they have already bought, or forgot to buy. The purpose is also to help them avoid purchasing otiose products.
After two rounds of adjustments from user testings, and brand development, I have developed my hi-fi prototype.
Users could quickly understand what Childipet is about on this marketing site and find download links for different systems.
It was another convenient platform option for users who didn't want to take out their phones, and they could directly use the checklist and check things through their iwatch.
More first-time pet owners understand better about pets before they make the informed decision of keep a pet and are suggested to think more carefully. Therefore there will be less and less pets abandoned, cause their owners are mentally prepared in advance.
Childipet is a digital solution for reducing the number of abandoned pets from the roots of pet owners.
I have learned a lot through this project's whole UX/UI process. Every step had its reason and helped me develop this project step by step.
Good things happen when you connect
© 2022 Gabby (Lieyijia) Du