App prototype for Jodi Leo's Interaction Design class, Fall 2017—an app that connects pet owners with non-pet owners to reduce short-term stress.
The Pet app is a platform for college students and young adults who frequently experience stress. Since many young people live in apartments that do not allow pets, the stress-relieving, therapeutic effect of interacting with animals is unavailable to them. Pet allows these non-pet owners to connect with pet owners in their area in order to connect with them, and their animals, to de-stress in exchange for pet-related services, like providing walks or food. The platform’s goal is to create a community of animal-lovers and animals who benefit each other.
First-time Pet users would download the app, sign in with an email address, password, and username, and be able to immediately search for pets and contact pet owners, scheduling “play dates” at the owner’s home, or a nearby public location, such as a dog park. The primary user experience would be one in which a non-pet owning user would search for a pet, contact the owner, and schedule a play date, or a pet owning user would respond to non-pet owner inquiries and set up play dates. Non-pet owning users can also qualitatively log their stress for a given day in the stress tracker section of the user profile, which the app would use to predict peak stress periods in order to offer suggestions for nearby play dates.
Interact with the prototype by clicking on any interactive element. Interactive elements are highlighted in blue when a non-clickable area of the screen is clicked.
After arriving at the initial concept, it was necessary to test the assumption that many young people are stressed, and would value spending time with animals in order to destress. A selection of Rhode Island School of Design students was asked a series of questions to determine their stress levels on a weekly basis, their past experience, or a lack thereof, with pets, and their thoughts on the potential of pets to relieve stress.
The interviews showed that many college students, and presumably young adults at large, are often stressed, both in the short and long-term. While not all interviewees had extended and/or frequent interactions with pets, most affirmed the animals’ ability to relieve their short-term stress.
After the user research phase, a rough user flow was formed to get a better idea of the elements of the app, and the basic navigation.
After the user flow became more concrete, the screens that would be visible in the final mockup were designed in Adobe InDesign, then pulled into Adobe XD to be connected and eventually interactive.
The goal of the app’s design was to provide a friendly-looking, easy-to-navigate platform that catalyzes non-pet owner and pet interactions and community-building. Icons and text are larger than in other social media apps, allowing for a more approachable, open interface. The app lacks a density of information in order to reduce potential user stress during the search for play date opportunities.
The text is set in Calluna Sans, designed by Jos Buivenga, to give the app a readable, friendly appearance. The majority of the interface is grayscale in color, with teal and red as accent colors for the primary actionable elements of a particular screen, and notifications, respectively.