Google Exercise: Pet Adoption

 

The ask

Millions of animals are currently in shelters and foster homes awaiting adoption. Design an experience that will help connect people looking for a new pet with the right companion for them. Help an adopter find a pet which matches their lifestyle, considering factors including breed, gender, age, temperament, and health status. Provide a high-level flow and supporting wire frames.

 

The overview of my design process

I tried to time this exercise and keep it to 10 hours which became about 13 hours in total. You will see the time logged in each step as I wanted to be transparent about my design process. *The documentation of 3 hours is not included in this process.

 

The Challenge

Consider a lifestyle of a person and a pet's identity/personality and find a match for the two sides.

Let's start with... What I know

On the day I adopted Tia, I posted this picture (July 24, 2008).   My own experience: I got my first cat from a shelter called Bideawee. Here is the process I went through: Searched for a cat. I wanted a kitten. No particular breed preference. I searched for the most reliable shelter in NYC and went to their website to look at their listings of cats. I found a picture of Tia and wanted to see her. I called the office and scheduled for a visit. When I went in, I browsed all the cats, looked at Tia and read the story about her more carefully. I was so sad to read that she was anti-social because of the long period when she was abandoned. That created a need to adopt her.   They suggested going on a playdate with Tia in a little cube. I went in with her and a couple of other kittens. This was the ultimate way for her and me to know if we got along. It was so important to see the level of energy. I liked that she had the right amount of playfulness. After knowing I wanted to adopt her, Bideawee asked to get approvals from my roommates and do more paperwork. I liked the package I got, in the end, to prepare for the new member at home. I always referred to this package whenever I needed to review her health.

On the day I adopted Tia, I posted this picture (July 24, 2008).

 

My own experience: I got my first cat from a shelter called Bideawee.

Here is the process I went through:

Searched for a cat. I wanted a kitten. No particular breed preference.

I searched for the most reliable shelter in NYC and went to their website to look at their listings of cats.

I found a picture of Tia and wanted to see her. I called the office and scheduled for a visit. When I went in, I browsed all the cats, looked at Tia and read the story about her more carefully. I was so sad to read that she was anti-social because of the long period when she was abandoned. That created a need to adopt her.  

They suggested going on a playdate with Tia in a little cube. I went in with her and a couple of other kittens. This was the ultimate way for her and me to know if we got along. It was so important to see the level of energy. I liked that she had the right amount of playfulness.

After knowing I wanted to adopt her, Bideawee asked to get approvals from my roommates and do more paperwork.

I liked the package I got, in the end, to prepare for the new member at home. I always referred to this package whenever I needed to review her health.

User journey of my own experience

Post-it color code: Pinks are my pain points, Blues are positive experiences and yellows are thought starters.

 

What I don't know

  • Perspective from Shelter/rescue center staff and volunteers. What do the staff wish?
  • Life of animals in shelter/foster homes.
  • Other people’s experience: People’s experience when looking for a pet (pre-search, search, adoption center experience) and after the adoption. How do they feel? Are they happy or do they regret adopting?

Field research: Interview at Best Friends Pet Adoption Center

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Interview with Stephanie, a Best Friends Pet Adoption Center Staff (on the right)

"Chat happens naturally. We have meet & greet session where a counselor will help them go on a walk together."

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Interview with Meghan, a Best Friends Pet Adoption Center Volunteer

"Facebook group will be the best. We have Facebook group but don't utilize it much. It will be nice if we can do live updates there and let people know 'oh, he's really sweet' or 'very good with walks', things like that." 

Evaluate the category

All the adoption sites follow the same structure of showing tiles of animal thumbnails. Which forces users to decide based on the outer appearances of animals. And a lot of times, these photos are not frequently updated.

The trend

I looked at news articles, Twitter feeds and Youtube videos to get a sense of the current trend in animals and pet adoption.

There is a growing visibility of pets across social media. Especially, people love watching live stream videos about animals. One of the example is this big craze about 'The live Cam Of April The Giraffe' that happened this April.

And fun activity ideas such as doing yoga with cats or helping shelter dogs to exercise are getting an increasing attention.

"Today's consumers are seeking opportunities to include their pets in all aspects of their lives – from animal-friendly offices and holiday packages, to gyms offering pet-inclusive workouts."
"As pet-owner relationships deepen, demand for innovative goods and services is spiking. Brands that put connection, affection and pampering at the centre will resonate with consumers who see their animals as friends and family."
 - Pet Parents by Claire Lancaster (June 13, 2016) in Stylus trend report http://www.stylus.com/lchkdz

People are doing fun things with sheltered animals.

“Bass donating her time, the class participation fee becomes a donation to help support the animals. Besides the usual assortment of cats and kittens, the shelter runs an expensive program that places cats with special medical needs, continuing to pay for their care even after they've left the shelter.”
- CNN By Jen Christensen, Updated 10:23 AM ET, Tue November 29, 2016 http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/28/health/cat-yoga/

Painpoints

 

It's hard to know how these animals are like by looking at thumbnail profile pictures.

People want more face to face time before adopting a pet.

 The application questionnaires are asking applicants to answer their unknown future.

(e.g. 'How often does your family plan to groom your new cat? 'How would you describe yourself as a disciplinarian/cat owner?'  excerpted from Bideawee application)

The questionnaires are assuming that applicants already have in-depth knowledge about taking care of pets.

(e.g. 'how would you teach your dog about right and wrong?' 'What steps will your family take to keep your cat safe?'  excerpted from Bideawee application)

 

I went to witness a 'yoga with cats' class in the city

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"Over the course of year, we get same results. Let's get the dog out of the kennel. We all know the kind of therapeutic aspect of that. They are a little more comfortable around us, everyone's let their guard down a little bit. This is a really great opportunity to talk to people. Even if they are not going to find things in the dog that you're out in the yard with." 

- Ryan Plunkett, an expert who taught 'Matchmaking - Working with Adopters and Pets to Increase Adoptions' On-line class on Maddie's Fund http://bit.ly/2pHTgLT

 

What I learned

 

You have to meet in person to know if it’s a right match

Adopters feel like they are part of the positive community/movement once they start the adoption process.

 

 
 

ANILIA, a chatbot service, recommends fun activities you can do with animals (that fit into your lifestyle).

It's a casual service that's not forcing you to adopt. But if you find THE ONE, we will guide you every step of the way (our service covers all the different interest levels of adopting an animal).

 

This is an opportunity to connect people, animals and business!

We can build a community (ecosystem) around this.

And what's even better, this model will create money for the shelters and rescue centers.

I hand-sketched the initial flow of how a user might navigate this service.

The reason why chatbot is a better experience:

  1. Feels like a service that is easy to talk to
  2. Answering questionnaires doesn't feel like a chore
  3. Will be helpful in the post adoption process or at any given time you want to ask about little things
  4. Chatbot will be a good mediator to help users access real people (e.g. rescue center staff) to get personalized advice on specific needs

Conversation Flow

First time chatbot user flow

The set up of this user journey (Discover ANILIA)

Zoey is a 23-year-old living in NYC with two other roommates. Busy city life makes her feel lonely and wants to adopt a pet. She never had a pet before and not sure how to go about it. She heard about ANILIA from her roommate who often exercises with rescued dogs. She wants to try the service and see how shelter animals are like. She looks for ANILIA on a Facebook messenger bot search and starts the chat with ANILIA. 

ANILIA web page wireframes

Although, the chatbot is the main experience, .com will be a place that holds all the information.

This is showing the landing screen in both desktop and mobile.

 

Pre-log in landing screen of a first time user

There will be a chatbot icon anchored on the bottom right. This will help them test out the chatbot experience.

Logged in landing screen of a returning user who adopted a pet through ANILIA

Mockup of chatbot and .com screens in 3 different platforms

Prototype

Complete the chatbot and .com experience

Net out flows and journeys for other stakeholders

Prove that this service will lessen the burden for shelters/adoption centers

Figure out tech feasibility

User test and iterate

 

Thank you!