UX Design

The run down

Creating building-wide transparency between dog owners to prevent wasted time.
OVERVIEW
The Run Down is an app designed for dog owners who live in high rise buildings to communicate passively with their neighbors and reduce the anxiety of guesswork. Owners can quickly assess how busy the dog park is and make informed decisions with their time.
ROLE
TIMEFRAME
SKILLS
TOOLS
UX Designer
2 Months
Visual Design
Research
Sketch
InVision

Problem

Not knowing what dogs are at the run results in anxiety and wasted time.

As dog ownership rises in big cities, apartment buildings have began accommodating dog owners with amenities such as in house dog parks. These dog parks provide a safe space for dogs to exercise off leash and socialize, which helps busy owners avoid walking long distances to get to a public dog park.

While the park is a great resource during peak use times, its occupancy is unpredictable and would usually remain completely empty for hours. Owners have no way of knowing what dogs are present, so most rely on habit or guesswork to take their dogs to the run. The average owner spend almost two hours a week sitting in the empty dog park waiting for someone to show up. This becomes increasing distressing in harsh weather conditions.

Research

Interviewing users to understand how they plan and communicate.

I had biases from personal experience, so I decided to interview outside of my immediate group of friends. I interviewed four dog owners from my building and three from neighboring buildings to better understand how they make decisions throughout their day. This helped paint a picture of the areas of tension that arises throughout their week and identify potential touch points for my solution.

Personas

Identifying the primary user

With the data gathered from the interviews, I identified two main groups of target users. I created two personas and mapped both of their journeys to increase empathy. Since their pets also played a central role in their experience, I also created pupsonas to demonstrate how their relationship can impact their decision making.

User Personas

problem statement

How can we create a digital window to the dog park to remove the anxiety of guesswork?

Product Goals

1. Efficient Visibility : Let users know who's at the dog run at a glance
2. Communication : Give owners the platform to provide additional information about their dogs personality to avoid potential conflicts

Ideation

Plan your next move at a glance

The main aim of the app is to answer the question "Are there dogs at the run". The Run Down is designed to quickly signal whether or not users should bother investigating who's at the run.

prototyping

Low-Mid Fidelity Prototypes

My solution should integrate seamlessly into Google Docs' existing interface and have a low learning curve. I observed users when configuring their documents to identify a space for the button to live.

User testing and iterations

I tested out my low-fi wireframes with two neighbors who did not take part in the initial interviews. Using the app, they were asked to perform tasks that reflected their normal routine, as well as tasks that reflected extraordinary circumstances such as bad weather.

Findings

Unintended offense: Some of the language used such as "flagging" made users hesitant to use certain features because it may offend others.

Creating new habits: Users expressed concern that they may forget to use the app during regular hours.

Design

Final Product

The Run Down provides a real time link from the user's pocket to the dog owning community of their building.

Screens

The Run Down is light on features because it focuses mainly on delivering information within the first 10 seconds of opening the app.

Interactions and Features

In addition to allowing users to pick specific dogs to bring down with them, the confirmation popup also helps prevent accidental button clicks.

Going down to the run

In addition to allowing users to pick specific dogs to bring down with them, the confirmation popup also helps prevent accidental button clicks.

See the run at a glance

Users are able to immediately see a list of dogs who are at the run when they open the app. They can also switch to the building directory and search for specific dogs to gain more information.

Personalize your feed

Users are given two ways to interact with individual dogs. Testing showed that users are more likely to favorite a dog and think more deeply about flagging. This is why the flag option is buried within the dog's profile.

Conclusion

Next Steps

I also planned future features for this app's growth:
1. Keycard integration: automatically mark users as "at the run" when they swipe their keycard to access the run.
2. Smart notifications: using AI, notify users about suggested walk times.
3. Walk time tracker: Keep track of your play time and create a chart to help users track their dogs' exercise.

Reflection

My solution should integrate seamlessly into Google Docs' existing interface and have a low learning curve. I observed users when configuring their documents to identify a space for the button to live.

This case study is a labor of love that stems from my own experience trying to coordinate playtime at my building's dog park. Since it was so close to my personal life, I was challenged to separate my existing assumptions from the real data through research.

Thanks for reading  🤙