Published on February 13, 2014
A simple, personal way to rehome your pet or ﬁnd an adoptable pet Forever Home
Project inspiration: identifying a need Forever Home was inspired by a little lost cat named Marlowe, who showed up scratched and ravenously hungry at my door, without an ID tag. The person whose contact information was linked to Marlowe’s microchip was no longer her guardian; that person had surrendered her to a neighbor, who I eventually located. For many reasons – whether due to changes in living accommodations, ﬁnancial hardship, illness, etc., dogs, cats and other animals sometimes need to ﬁnd new homes even when their current guardian is deeply attached to them. Others in a similar situation may seek out friends, neighbors, and post on social media in an attempt to ﬁnd a new guardian for their pet – someone they can trust.
Forever Home WHO: A person needing to WHAT: Forever Home is an rehome his or her pet can take comfort in choosing that pet’s new “Forever Home,” while the new pet adopter ﬁnds value in knowing the pet’s history. iPhone app that facilitates pet adoption by directly connecting those who need to rehome their pets with those looking to adopt. crowded animal shelter Forever Home WHY: Unlike a typical pet adoption from an animal shelter, Forever Home creates a very personal interaction between the new adopter of the pet and the person surrendering his or her pet, while overburdened animal shelters are removed from the pet adoption equation. Additionally, stress on the animal is greatly reduced by bypassing a stay at a shelter.
Business Model Canvas • WHO WILL PAY FOR THIS? Forever Home partners with Petﬁnder.com, leveraging the resources of a well-respected organization with a broad national reach, while bridging a gap in Petﬁnder’s current services. Apply for a grant from Maddie’s Fund • HOW DO YOU GET THE WORD OUT? Local organizations, such as San Francisco’s P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Wonderful Support) – volunteers may create proﬁles for animals on behalf of those who need assistance or do not have smartphones Promotional materials at the SPCA and other shelters Public service announcement (as in the case of the Lost Petz app) Billboards • HOW WILL REVENUE BE GENERATED SO THAT THE APP AND WEBSITE CAN BE MAINTAINED? There is a fee for posting a proﬁle on Forever Home (amount TBD). There might also be a fee paid by the adopter after creating an account and beginning the process of contacting current pet guardians.
Competitive Analysis • RELATED EXISTING PRODUCTS AND SERVICES There are no direct competitors of Forever Home, so I investigated related products in searching for shelter pets, such as Petﬁnder, and identifying lost pets and returning them home, such as Lost Petz. The user interfaces of these apps are cluttered, sometimes confusing, and generally not very visually appealing. Lost Petz has the visual style of a children’s book, while a majority of their users are most likely adults. Petﬁnder features only shelter animals and is a bit dated, visually.
Personas “I don’t know what I’ll do without my Beatrice. She’s my constant companion.” Beverly • Age: 83 • Lives alone in San Francisco with her beloved cat • Her daughter lives 2 hours away and visits about once a month • Retired, living on a ﬁxed income • No cell phone, land line only • Has a no-frills Dell desktop computer with internet access • For the past 2 years, a volunteer from P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Wonderful Support) has been coming to Beverly’s home once a week to assist Beverly with Beatrice’s care and veterinarian visits. Beatrice aka “Purr Bucket” • Age: 9 • Adopted by Beverly 7 years ago from the SPCA for daily companionship • Sweet and aﬀectionate, but takes time to feel comfortable around strangers • Lap cat • FIV positive. Indoor-only cat.
Personas “My job is often really mentally and physically stressful. When I come home, I just want to mellow out with some quiet company... and the apartment is feeling really empty since my girlfriend and I broke up.” Cameron Lifestyle • Age: 35 • Single • Lives in a one bedroom apartment in Berkeley • Has a small circle of local friends, but ﬁnds socializing a bit more challenging with his current work schedule. Pets • Hasn’t had a pet since his dog died 3 years ago, but thinks he’s ready for a pet again. Would like a dog, but his landlord only allows cats.
Interviewing users: findings Participatory design using card-sorting with 7 people, all current or former pet owners, and some open-ended questions • I used card-sorting as a method for assessing which pieces of proﬁle information about a pet they valued most while 1) creating a proﬁle, and 2) searching proﬁles for an adoptable pet. People were asked to sort traits in three categories: essential, nice-to-have, and unnecessary. • The trend in most valued information was type, age, sex, and medical conditions/special needs. To my surprise, most did not select breed as a top priority. • A majority of people interviewed expressed an interest in stating special needs/medical issues up front in a pet proﬁle, so that the prospective adopter is prepared, not surprised. • Privacy: interviewees preferred an anonymous messaging system (like Craigslist) rather than posting their contact info publicly. • In asking what people expect to see on the home screen, I got an resounding request for a clear separation between the two major use cases upon ﬁrst launch – 1) Rehome a pet, and 2) Search for an adoptable pet. • Those interviewed were not overly concerned with the cost for posting a proﬁle, as long as it was “reasonable,” with answers ranging from $5 to $20. Finding a good home for their pet was much more important than the exact fee for posting a proﬁle.
Wireframes: (very) rough sketches
First iteration – key screens Home Screen >> Create Pet Proﬁle Proﬁle creation screen above center is even more cluttered than the Petﬁnder search screen at left, and no more visually inspired.
Usability testing: findings First iteration Functional prototype on device using POP app • Touch targets are too small, resulting in the “fat ﬁnger” eﬀect • Text is too small • In the proﬁle creation ﬂow, many screens are too cluttered. Items can be spaced out over a few screens in succession rather than crammed into one. Other issues: • While the ﬂows were easily understood, the screens were visually uninspired. Above: Touch target areas corrected in the second iteration to prevent the “fat ﬁnger” eﬀect.
Second iteration – key screens Home Screen >> Functional prototype in Axure with animations and transitions Flow 1. Create Pet Proﬁle Compare again to Petﬁnder.com search screen Home Screen >> Flow 2. Search For Adoptable Pet & Contact Pet Guardian
Usability testing: findings Second iteration Functional prototype created in Axure • Touch targets sizes are increased, correcting the “fat ﬁnger” eﬀect • Text is larger and easier to read • In the proﬁle creation ﬂow, features on cluttered single screens are spread out over multiple screens. The sequence is longer in creating a proﬁle, but you only need to go through this ﬂow once. Third iteration http://share.axure.com/ESN7FO • Many minor tweaks in animations and transitions, making the call to action on some screens more obvious • At left: In the second iteration, the functionality of the orange forward and back buttons was not consistent with the other screens. Those buttons were used to switch from cat to dog or rabbit/other, and the magnifying glass at center became the search call to action button. This confused just about everyone who tested the app and was corrected in the third iteration.
Next steps v 2.0 • Pet adopter proﬁle • Temporary/limited term care in addition to permanent rehoming • More playful and imaginative way to specify age and size in proﬁle creation wizard • Reﬁne animations and transitions
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