The dog icons were originally the inspiration for this project, so I wanted to incorporate a breed guide for users. Each dog is assigned a dog icon depending on the breed of their dog. If they are unhappy with the icon, they can request a different breed combination or use several icons to represent the mix. If a user wants to learn more about specific breeds they can simply tap on the icon to view more information.
In this case the user viewing Huckleberry Finn’s profile clicked on his assigned goldendoodle icon. This screen explains what makes up the mix of a goldendoodle (with the mix of breeds smaller in the background), and a general sentence about the breed. Second is a sliding scale addressing Breed Characteristics. And the bottom is average height and weight.
This is Tippy’s Breed page. The primary guesses of her mix are Border Collie and Pit Bull Terrier.
I made a few more dog bio and behavior screens. This one is for an older dog that is looking for companionship verses playtime. He is very insecure and needs someone to hang out with in order to feel comfortable with himself. In this case he is older, has a yard and has specified that he is looking for a male companion under 100 pounds. While he is over 100 pounds, large dogs make him uncomfortable.
Tippy is an example of a good match for Huckleberry. She has a yard and is looking for a male or female playmate. Big dogs also make her a little nervous, so she is looking for a playmate under 100 pounds. She LOVES to play, but also loves toys and fetching. She is not quite a year and has lots of energy, so the owner has sleep as a priority at zero. Finally there is an option for text entry in case the user wants to add any further information that wasn’t addressed in the other sections.
In Tippy’s behavior section you can see that she does like to chew, is not prone to escaping, likes to dig and does bark. The next section tells you that she is motivated by food and toys. Next you can see a list of all the tricks she knows. At the bottom is a section to write about Tippy’s anxiety or fears and how she reacts to them.
This is the third tab in the dog profile section, this tab recently got changed from ‘Info’ to ‘Play’ meaning it’s where you move forward in booking a playdate. At the top we have a map of where you have said you are located. The pin shows where, but we don’t disclose the exact address. The gray ring indicates the radius that you have pre specified as the area in which you want to find playmates. Below the map is a small photo of the owner (they would be prompted to upload a photo of themselves with their dog), owner name, neighborhood, and reviews. Next is a calendar where the user can quickly tap on different dates to see when the dog is avaliable to play.
I’m assuming Paired Paws would use the same process that Rover uses for requesting a playdate.
This Play view shows Tippy’s owner, Quinn, and information.
The second section of the dog profile is Behavior. Another very important section that dog owners hosting guests will want to look over. The goal of this section is to help the host better look after the guest. Where ever possible the user doesn’t enter text but simply selects the things that apply to their dog.
This section specifically categorizes the dogs habits that might affect the owners yard, neighbors, or toys.
This section is important for hosts to know so that they can calm or control the guest if needed.
- Food motivated
- Toy motivated
- Play motivated
This section can be extensively filled out which is why the first few are common commands with an option to ‘see more’ if the host wants to know all of the commands that the guests know.
- Lie Down
- Leave it
- What to use for no
- Load up
- And on and on…
Anxiety or Fears
This section is a text entry category for the owners to further explain any anxieties or fears that their dog might have. It’s a text entry since dogs can have so many different quirks.
These are the icons that I made for this page.
I have completed the ‘Bio’ section of a Paired Paws dog user. This page is what other users will land on first so the topics have to be carefully decided on depending on importance. The following information from top to bottom is what was decided on.
Meet Huckleberry Finn, a golden doodle. He’s almost two years old and his favorite activity is wrestling. He lives on a boat, and is looking for playmates with a yard. He prefers to play with other dogs that are at least smaller than him.
Meet Hanke, he is a Catahoula Louisiana Leopard mixed with Great Dane. He’s over 10 and spends most of his time sleeping. Although he doesn’t have the energy to wrestle much anymore he is insecure and is looking for companionship. He has a yard and does like the occasional chase or tug of war.
- Dog name
- Dog breed
Guest Looking For
- Host or Guest – “Off leash playdates” or “Companionship”
- Male, Female or both friend
Plays Well With
- This section shows four dog breeds broken up by weight. The user can select what size dog their dog likes to play with.
- This section is broken up by percentages so that a potential playmate can quickly glance at this section and know if their dog will be a good fit. But more importantly when Paired Paws is suggesting potential matches it will pull data from this section.
About (dog name)
- This section is a short summary that the owner can write about their dog. Anything that they think is important enough to include in the bio section.
Other updates on this screen included a new bed for the ‘sleep’ preference.
This was the original bed that I was using. I got feedback that it looked like a food bowl.
This is the updated bed, hopefully a bit more clear.
This week I looked more at what should go on a dogs profile. Information hierarchy is very important so I set out to determine what were the most important or common preferences people wanted to know about first in searching for a playmate. To do this I looked at Rover sitters under the section “What would (sitter name) like to know about your dog?” Some of the common requests were:
- How well does your dog get along with other dogs. Specifically size and sex preferences.
- Anxiety, barking, behavior concerns.
- Bathroom and eating schedule (doesn’t really apply to off leash outside playdates for Paired Paws)
- Favorite Activities
- What commands does your dog know. Very helpful to know for example that a dog responds to “ah” instead of “no”.
- Allergies or food concerns/restrictions
Off leash yard playdate good to know information would be:
- Does your dog like to dig
- Is your dog prone to escaping
- Does your dog chew or destroy
In order to make it easy for the user to answer these questions I’ve started to break them down into groups. For example there would be a category called Commands (essential for communication, recall, no, sit, stay, off, quiet, leave it, touch)/Tricks (fetch, lie down, pray, wave, high five). The user would simply select the ones that apply to their dog. Not selecting commands would automatically list as the dog not knowing the command/trick. Like this list used in another section of Rover’s app.
Other categories are not necessarily a yes/no one or the other question, so I’ll have to look at how to group and phrase those more carefully. To start I’ve moved the size and sex preferences for a playmate to the top of Huckleberry’s user profile.
I also made a Golden Retriever dog icon.
I also updated the icon for wrestling preference as it didn’t fit the style of the other icons.
Final Wrestling Icon
Here we have a first draft of a dog user’s profile. In this view everything is focused on the dog and it’s play preferences, a bio, past playmates or good matches, and a prominent contact tab. Although I might change that to location.
It’s exciting to start getting a style figured out for the layout of the app and I look forward to exploring more screens and improving this one.
Since I’ll be building out the profile aspect of a Paired Paws user I wanted to look more closely into Rover’s app. Below are some screenshots from my android phone exploring the app. Oddly, I’ve never owned an iPhone, but I’ve always built out iOS designs. So I’ll have to take that into consideration when building out the Paired Paws user screen. I may end up building out versions for both.For now, I like the challenge of designing for iOS.
I specifically wanted to look closely at their icon design like in this screen. They have done a fantastic job of using icons and making sure the app is easy to interact with. Specifically, there are very few fields where the user would need to enter their answer by writing text. They use drop downs, plus, minus, sliders and icons for user input.
In planning out a profile page for a user I wanted to explore opportunities for icons and create my own where appropriate. I sketched out ideas and thought about what information would be most important to include on the first screen of a user profile.
A few of the icons I identified I would need were as follows:
- Host (Dog who has a yard and is looking for a playmate)
- Guest (Dog who is looking for a playmate with a yard)
- Birthday (Very important to match up dogs of a similar age as it usually relates to play level)
- Weight (Usually dogs have a playmate size preference)
- Sex (For human caretakers knowledge, both the human host and dog playmate can have preferences)
Host and guest were a little harder since they would have to be custom. I did a lot of research and finally came up with these:
I had noted that Rover uses a think line weight on their mostly 85% gray icons including a paw when shown on it’s own. However, when it gets small, like in the ‘Takes only 1 client at a time’ icon it changes to be filled in. I used the same thought process on these two icons as an outlined paw wouldn’t work at this size.
I also had to consider what view of the user I would build out first. Was it a guest looking at their dogs profile? Or a host looking at a guest’s profile for a potential match? I decided I’d start with a user looking at their own dog’s profile. Which would look similar to how one user would look at other dogs, but without the match information.
I finally had the opportunity to meet with two people on the design team at Rover. It was wonderful to get to see their office space and meet some of the employees dogs. It seemed like every desk had a baby gate around it with a happy pup inside. It made me so happy just to walk through the space, and to pet a few of the dogs too!
I met with CJ and Chris in a very casual, friendly atmosphere. They were eager to hear about my Paired Paws project as well as some other UX projects I’ve worked on in the past. CJ was especially helpful in suggesting a direction to go in building out my app. I also learned that they use Sketch and Marvel to prototype which is what I’ve been using at school. They also use Principle, which I haven’t used yet, but I’m interested in checking out.
I had just started building out some screens, and flows focused on the dog profile and matching system. Turns out this is exactly a section that they plan on building out to give users more opportunity to customize their dog’s profile. Currently you can upload one photo, and the additional information is basic information with Yes/No answer options. It’s nice that it is straightforward and succinct, but there is opportunity to expand this section for Paired Paws users. Plus Huckleberry’s head is cut off! That will have to be fixed.
For Rover their dog profile section is helpful, and informational but not essential in finding a sitter. For Paired Paws, the business is centered around finding a compatible playmate to getting the user to fill out their dog’s profile is very important. Here are a few profiles I’ve found for design and layout inspiration:
As you can see the dog/cat app profiles were a bit lacking in design aesthetic, so I began looking at human profiles for inspiration.
Tips on Design:
- Remember to refer to iOS and Android Design Guidelines
- Don’t need to know how to code, only how it works
- Have the mindset to make small changes that can make a big difference
- Understand how people think, and how to design in a logical yet creative way
Tips on Portfolio and Interview:
- Be be authentic, be passionate, be in tune with what they are saying.
- Critique respectfully, admit that you don’t know everything, but at the same time be confidant.
- Always include an explanation on your process (How did you start working on the project? Where did the idea come from? What challenges did you face? How did you solve for them?)
- Identify things you might do differently in the future
The first icon I ever tried to make was my dog, a golden doodle. I quickly found that I didn’t know how to convey his bed head hair type and the fact that he’s basically all one color.
After almost a year and 30 dog breeds later I was ready to try a golden doodle again, and this is what I ended up with. I had so much fun making this fuzzy thing I was actually laughing out loud the while designing.
The other icon I finished up was a Chow Chow. Which was also challenging, but a lot of fun. I’ve discovered translating dog breeds into icons is one of my favorite parts of this project. It’s challenging and also very pleasant to study a dogs face.
This term, I’d like to focus on more design elements within Paired Paws. I’ll be expanding the icon breed suite, exploring merchandise, advertising as well as diving into high fidelity mobile app with user flows. While Rover has solved this very well, I think I can still learn a lot from looking closely at their UI and learning how certain aspects can be applied to my project.
- Wrapping Paper
- Holiday Cards (dogs wearing different hats for Birthday, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.)
- Key Chain
- Tee Shirts
- Dog Sweaters
- Dog Bowls
- Dog Bandana
- Collapsable Water Bowl
- 3D Icon Stuffed Animal
- Banner Ad
- Bus Ad
- Newspaper Ad
- Social Ad/Sponsored Post
- Guerrilla Marketing