August 2 2019 - August 14 2019


Project Lead, UX Research, UI Design


Adobe XD, Adobe Illustrator,

The Vision 🐶

Dogtown is a unique, interactive animal shelter that allows users to feel like the hero of their own journey. Dogtown gives less fortunate animals a platform to be seen and matched with a new owner who suits their individual needs.

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  1. Ensure a guided user experience that is easy for users to understand.
  2. Easily connect users with animals at the shelter
  3. Engage users in a unique experience that allows them to be the hero of their own journey

Getting started

Ideation Phase💡

In the ideation stages of this project the theme of pet adoption and the trials and tribulations of the subject really stood out.

After interviewing a few participants who had gone through this experience, it became clear that they all had one thing in common: they experienced feelings of virtue and had an emotional connection to their adopted pet during the process.

The most interesting part about the experience of adopting a pet is how it really takes control of human emotion. The goal of this project suddenly became more clear, and the focus now turned into how to take that same emotional experience and enhance it through digital and interactive components to find the perfect pet match.


Research Phase🔬

I was having many ideas on how I could enhance the user experience but before I could go any further into my process I needed to assess some the common problems that many animal shelters face. During this phase is was important to understand some problems that persisted across animal shelters.

Focusing on enhancing the user experience, three main user pain points appeared.

1. Certain types of animals clash creating a hostile environment for these animals.

2. Some of the less cute animals will spend years at a shelter, in worse cases having to face euthanasia.

3. Spread of infection and disease can often plague animal shelters

Taking from these pain points, key questions were created to help guide and organize the ideation.

Key Questions

Ideation Phase💡

How might we tell a unique personalized story that captivates our users?

How might we design an environment that tells its own special story and immerses the users into the experience?

How might we ensure that all of our users feel a deep connection to the animal they rescue?

What kind of incentive can we give users to draw them to visit Dogtown.

How can we make the users story feel complex all while keeping the users journey simple and easy to follow?

How can we ensure that the environment is tailored to the animals needs without disrupting the immersion?

Floorplan design

UX Design Phase ✍🏻

Laying down the floorplan was essential for understanding the user flow. The lahout resembles a small town. Every experience is meant to be unique as there is no right or wrong way to explore. There will be guides along the way to assist the user, but ultimately it is entirely up to them to decide how they will proceed.

The options for what path the hero might take are potentially limitless making this experience more personal and memorable than traditional animal hospitals.

Here are all of the unique touch points throughout Dogtown.

In Dogtown there are no cages, instead each building has roughly 5-20 different private rooms individually treated for each animals needs.

The buildings are miniature versions of what you would see in the real world, and each animal is given a specific job title that corresponds to a certain touch point within Dogtown.

With the floorplan ready, It was time to conceptualize the user experience. To make things easier for our users, we broke the process down into 3 simple steps that will be easy to remember.

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Heroes Journey

UX Design Phase ✍🏻

The hero arrives at the unique animal shelter and embarks on their journey to rescue a new pet.

The hero is given the opportunity to freely explore the little village for as long as they want. In the village they will notice road signs along there journey which points them to the adoption centre in the middle of the village.

When arriving at the adoption centre the hero will be greeted by staff and encouraged to take the unique personality test to be matched with one of the pets that resides within the village.

The hero is given back their test result and is matched with an animal. The hero is then given specific instructions on how to find their match, and is sent back out to go find where it is.

Understanding Users

UX Design Phase✍🏻

In this stage of the design process I wanted to better understand our users and what their experience might look like.

To do this, I created a more complex persona that displays not just what the users wants and personality are like, but also includes an emotional journey that helps to identify when, where and why problems might occur.

Additionally I created corresponding animal personas that are paired to the user personas.

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Creating an Incentive

UX Design Phase✍🏻

The layout and heroes journey provided a good understanding of what an experience at Dogtown would look like, and how it could be improved. The idea that the experience did not start until users walked through the front doors of Dogtown was bothersome.

After some thinking, an interesting idea came up. By prioritizing step 2 (the examination phase) to start before users had visited the facility, Dogtown could give animal lovers incentive to visit.

Conceptualization began for a companion app that will have users take a unique personality test to be matched with one of the animals that lives within Dogtown.

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Key Takeaways

Dogtown is still a work in progress. The UI mockups above are an early stage in the design process for the appication. Some of the key takeaways from the process so far are.

1. Designing a heroes journey is important to the user experience as it makes users feel important

2. Choice driven storytelling can make the user experience feel more valuble and memorable.

3. Giving users an incentive is integral to good product design.

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