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A pet centered traveling app that eases the burden of finding the best places to travel with your pet or finding the best sitter that fits their needs.

Pets, the probability of you having one is high based on some stats that will be shown below (84.9 million homes!). Our furry companions are  an essential part of the family. However, when the time comes to plan our vacations, they usually get left behind. Looking for a hotel or airbnb that accepts your pet regardless of their size that are within pet-friendly areas in the location you want to vacation is stressful and frustrating most of the time because of the lack of resources to help you find them. What if we could plan a vacation and have them come along too? 

PROJECT OVERVIEW 

What's the problem? 
Finding accommodations that includes a space for their furry companions when traveling.
Who's this for?
Pet owners who want to bring their furry companions along or leave them in safe space.
The Solution?
Create a travel app that shows listings to accommodations and pet sitter/boarding that is inclusive to the needs of cat and dog owners alike.
Methodologies 
  • Competitive Feature Analysis
  • Market Positioning
  • User Interviews
  • HMWs
  • Affinity Diagram
  • User Persona 
  • MVP
  • Value Proposition
  • User Journey
  • Wireframing
  • Prototype

THE NITTY GRITTY

So, about those stats! According to the 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 67% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 84.9 millions homes. With cats being present in 42.7 million homes and dogs in 63.4 million homes. In 2018, $72.56 billion was spent on our pets in the U.S. This year it is estimated to be $75.38 billion, with 6.31 billion being spent on Services include grooming, boarding, training, pet sitting, pet exercise, pet walking, miscellaneous. Which brings us to the apps created to accommodate these services for our pets and what they offer. 

Rover

An online marketplace for people to buy and sell pet care services including pet sitting, dog boarding and dog walking.

BringFido

Pet travel site and lifestyle brand. Explore over 250,000 pet friendly places to stay, play and eat with your dog. 

Wag!

Pet care app to enable on-demand and schedule dog walking, training and other petcare services through a mobile application.

Bark Happy

Bark Happy is a location based app to help you discover the dog friendly world around you! Take your dog and go!

What do these apps offer? Do they actually provide solutions for the user? To better understand the user experience within these apps, research data was gathered by creating a competitive feature analysis, marketing positioning and user interviews. 
Quantitative Data
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The results here show that these apps are not as inclusive as they lead you to believe; only Rover offers services that includes Cat owners needs. 
 
You can also see that WAGS is the only app that offers a rating system for the services provided.  
The results here show that these apps are not as inclusive as they lead you to believe; only Rover offers services that includes Cat owners needs. 
 
You can also see that WAGS is the only app that offers a rating system for the services provided.  
The marketing position for these apps mainly fall under Effortless and Innovative due to their features. Whereas I want MaPaws to align with Inclusivity and Trustworthiness. 
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Qualitative Data
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“Kiki gets really stressed when she’s in her pet carrier for a long time and that stresses me out”

 

-Jessica and Kiki Cat 

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“It’s hard to leave Hemingway behind when I go on trips, even if it is with family, because I worry they won’t give him the affection and care that I would” 

 

-Johnny and Hemingway the dog

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“It’s frustrating to have to sift through a thousand apps that say “pet” but are actually just for dogs; its misleading”

  

 -Sam and Lucy Cat 

THE DISCOVERY PHASE 

When I initially started this project, I made the assumption that it would be a straight forward vacation app for pet owners to easily plan a trip with their pets in mind, however, I was wrong. The research was showing a deeper problem that was morphing the project into something completely different. My idea was a different reality to what the users needs were. Back to the drawing board. Dissecting the research, I was able to pinpoint the pains and gains  the users were experiencing as well as reframing the intention of the app, providing a solution to the missing link between the already established products and the users: Trustworthiness. At the end of the day, we want our pet to be safe and happy, which in turn, makes for stress free owners.
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Before ideation

PAINS

 

  • Afraid their pet won’t be secure and taken care of by sitters

  • Frustrated they can’t find pet-friendly locations

  • Stressed about the misleading platforms that don’t cater to their pet 

GAINS

  • Relieved they have a reliable source 

  • Happy their pet is at ease

  • Trusting in the people they found

  • Excited they can have a stress free travel

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After ideation
Taking what I had discovered from my research, I used it to build the user personas, Jason with Nuke for dogs and Katie with Pat for Cats.  Answering their questions and solving their frustrations by the provided MVP, Value Proposition and Key features/values.
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MVP
  • For the app to really be inclusive, the MVP had to solve both personas’ problems. 

  • For traveling with your pet, there is a booking engine for verified pet-friendly destinations. This solution caters to mostly dog owners. 

 

  • For traveling without your pet and having them cared for while you’re away, there is a proximity and ratings based pet sitter/boarder finder. This solution applies to both cat and dog owners. 

VALUE PROPOSITION 
  • Travel app for pets and their humans

 

  • Book pet friendly destinations for trips together 

  • Connect with trusted sitters and boarders for when you’re traveling without your pet

KEY FEATURES

INCLUSIVE

Real inclusivity and options catered to both canine and feline pets

TRANSPARENT

True transparency with a rating and review system to put the anxious furparent at ease

RELIABLE

Reliable information and resources that can be filtered to cater to your pets needs

CONNECTED

Stay connected with your pets with real-time notifications and communication with boarders/sitters.

FROM SKETCH TO WIREFRAME 
Tying everything together, I was able to sketch a rough draft of what would be MaPaws. During the testing phase, I had 13 use testers navigate the lo-fis. 15% were confused with certain wording but otherwise found it very intuitive. I then went back and used the feedback to make it a seamless experience for all. The final Hi-Fi prototype shows both user journeys- the primary being for Jason and Nuke (shown in the user journey below) and secondary user- Katie and Pat's journey to finding a reliable sitter/boarder.
Happy Path shown in the prototype
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CONCLUSION/TAKEAWAYS

At the end of the project I realized that my expectations and predictions do not equal factual needs. This project started as a simple solution to traveling with your pet. What ended up happening was many iterations and a deeper understanding of what was actually needed. The conclusion was an application that is inclusive that catered to all pets and their needs whether it be a place that accepts them for a couple of nights or a trustworthy stranger that will keep an eye on them as they stay in their safe and familiar environment.