This challenge was mainly focused on the UI, but I tried to concentrate as much as possible on the UX process first, as a way to improve the app’s usability and think of the final user first.
I also made this choice to test my capability of handling a situation in which a client requires to design the UX and UI of a product in a short amount of time.
I decided to follow a “simplified” UX design process to better understand the problem, how to solve it, the app’s end users and the right look-and-feel to give to the product.
Step 1: Brief Analysis
The first step was of course analysing the brief to get an overall understanding of the problem and how to solve it.
Problem: Newbie and aficionados to the pet world want to get to know more about domestic animals and how to take care of them. They can’t find a platform that can provide them reliable content and help them reach their goals.
Solution: An app that provides interesting news, podcasts, small courses and tests, curated by experts in the pets field, for pet lovers.
Step 2: Generic Benchmark
Next, it was time for a short competitor analysis.
In situations like this, with limited available time, it is important to find some competitors and study their choices in terms of information architecture, functionalities and UX/UI, to find out what works best and what can be improved.
I could not find any app or website that had the same purpose as the app I was designing, but I found some good competitors for the “Discover” section of the app:
- “Pets” category on Medium
- News websites with a section about Pets (e.g. BBC News, The Guardian, HuffPost)
- Podcasts about pets on Spotify.
Medium and the news websites offered interesting articles with captivating titles and pictures, but they mostly concerned fun facts about pets. Furthermore, the authors of the articles were, most of the time, not animal experts.
These aspects represented an opportunity for the app to be a step ahead of its competitors, offering only content (related to both scientific and curious topics) curated by professionals in the field.
Spotify podcasts were, instead, most of the time held by experts (biologists, veterinaries…) but there were not many, and most were focusing on one specific pet.
With this app, I could provide a place where users could find specific and reliable content about any domestic animal.
A competitor for the Maps section was of course Google Maps. I could offer a similar search functionality as Google’s, but specific to the field of pets, providing tags to easily filter the map, helping the user find what he needed. As Google Maps, the map could show some details about a selected location in the map (opening hours, pictures, reviews and more).
Step 3: Building User Personas
As there was no time to conduct surveys or interviews, I decided to build two User Personas based on the information given by Bending Spoons on the target users for the app and my personal knowledge on the topic.
Bending Spoons identified two categories of users, the aficionado and the newbie: these were my two main personas, Martha and Carlos.
Step 4: User Stories
To obtain details about the functionalities to design in the app, I defined some user stories based on Martha and Carlos’ wishes.
As an aficionado, I want to…
- Discover new things about my pets and pets I don’t know about
- Learn specific information on how to take care of my pets
- Read fun facts about pets
- Learn about pets first aid
- Quickly find pet shops, vets and shelters near me
- Test my knowledge on pets
- View my achievements and activities.
As a newbie, I want to…
- Discover things about my favourite pet
- Learn how to adopt and take care of a pet
- Follow courses and test my knowledge on pets
- Find pet shelters to go visit and help
- View my achievements and activities.
User stories given, the key features for the app were outlined:
- News and podcasts about pets, curated by professionals
- Map of pet places, to find the nearest pet shops, veterinary, shelters etc.
- Courses and tests to let the users learn about specific topics and test their knowledge
- List of activities and achievements, to be able to view a recap of the news, podcasts and lessons followed and the level of achievements obtained.
Step 5: User Flows
User flows were very useful to define the actions the users could perform within the app. I focused on the following use cases:
- Reading an article and paying for the service
- Finding a pet shop nearby.