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Biscuit

Capstone Project

For my BrainStation bootcamp I had to complete a course-long capstone project. In this project I had to identify, plan, research, and design a digital mobile interaction that addressed a problem space of my choosing using the tools and techniques of user experience design. I chose to tackle the problem of obesity in dogs.

Project Overview

My Role

Product Designer

Product Designer

Product Designer

Project Type

Academic | BrainStation

Platform

iOS App

The Problem Space

Over 50% of dogs in America are overweight or obese. Obesity in dogs can lead to many different health issues including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. One major factor to obesity in dogs is an insufficient amount of exercise. Active breeds such as border collies can need up to 2 hours of exercise each day. While there are numerous apps to track your personal health and fitness, there are very few options to ensure your dog is meeting the exercise and dietary needs of their specific breed.

How Might We Question

How might we assist dog owners of active breeds ensure that their dog is getting sufficient amounts of exercise in order to decrease obesity in dogs as well as increase the dogs quality of life?

Design Process

My process is a non-linear design thinking process that includes steps such as empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test. Each step builds upon the others and is never truly finished.

Key Research Insights

Secondary Research

User Interviews Key Learnings

  • Dog weight loss can be attributed to about 60-70% diet and 30-40% exercise

  • Being just 10% overweight decreases a dog’s lifespan by one-third and predisposes him to heart, kidney and liver disease as well as diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.

  • Obesity is causing damage to the kidneys, it’s probably causing high blood pressure which is causing a constellation of problems, and it’s increasing cancer risk.

  • Suggested amounts on food bags are far too broad to accommodate every dog’s needs. For example, spaying or neutering a dog reduces their energy requirement by 20-30%.

  • Under exercised dogs & Over Feeding - 
    All of my interviewees thought their dog needed less exercise than it really needs. They also stated that they fed the dog whatever is recommended on the food bag, which is too much.

  • Don’t track food and/or exercise - 
    The most common theme was that the interviewees did not track either their dogs food intake or their activity levels.

  • Varying Food by Activity Levels - 
    Many responses showed that if the dog owner noticed a change in weight for the dog they would try to adjust the food intake accordingly.

Reworked How Might We Question

How might we help dog owners of active breeds ensure that their dog is getting a sufficient amount of exercise, as well as a healthy amount of food, in order to decrease obesity in dogs?

Target User

Identifying the Target User

In order to design an app that accurately addresses the needs of my user I had to narrow down exactly who that target user was. Using the secondary research and my user interviews I was able to develop a persona that would allow me to portray my target user. Designing for my persona would ensure that my designs always had the user in mind.

Mapping the User's Journey

Creating a journey map allowed me to identify where the pain points currently existed for my persona, as well as prompted me with opportunities for my design to improve the experience of my user. This journey map showed me that my app could be successful by helping the user track their dog's fitness levels and diet, as well as providing suggestions to help the user adjust their dog's food to a healthy portion. 

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Competitive Analysis and Opportunities

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Competitive Analysis

  • Whistle and FitBark are two products that address the fitness tracking of dogs.

  • Both do a good job of providing detailed statistics and metrics for the user's dogs fitness, however they both fall short when it comes to tracking the diet.

  • Both require an initial hardware purchase followed up by a significant subscription.

Opportunity Selection

  • There is an opportunity to create a product that not only provides tracking for fitness but also on diet, as we know that 60-70% of weight loss can be attributed to diet 

Whistle

Task Selection

User Stories & Epics

  • User Stories mark the transition into ideating. They spark thoughts on what actions the user of the app might want to do. I started by thinking of any feature my persona could want, or any pain point that could be alleviated by my app. Once I had around 30 of these stories I started to organize them into Epics, which are groupings of stories that fit under a common theme. The most common and impactful epic is a good  starting point for my MVP.

  • After I selected the epic "Tracking and adjusting food and exercise", I started to build out a task flow diagram that would give me a roadmap on screens to build out.

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Sketching & Wireframing

Sketching

  • I started the ideation phase by rapid exploratory sketches, trying to get as many ideas on paper as possible.

  • Next I turned the bests ideas I had into more clear designs called solution sketches.

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Wireframing

  • After finalizing my sketches I went into Figma and started to develop my initial wireframes.

  • The first iteration is in grey-scale so that I could focus on the usability of the design, and test the core functionality before spending the extra time finalizing UI details.

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User Testing

1st Round of Testing

During my first round of testing I learned quite a bit. It was the first time getting the design out of my hands and into the hands of someone unfamiliar with the design. I learned that a lot of the features and flows I thought were intuitive were actually not the user's first path to completing tasks. The largest source of confusion was around my progress bar that was meant to represent what meals the dog has been fed, however no user was able to understand the bar.

2nd Round of Testing

After making changes to my prototype I performed a second round of user testing. For this round it became clear that I had potentially oversimplified my design, removing some of the freedom for the user. Another issue that was still persisting was the progress bar still did not come intuitively to the users. A big change I made was organizing the fitness and food by time instead of by category so that the user can compare the effects of fitness and food on each other, as my how might we proposed.

Revised Prototype

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High-Fidelity Prototype

After multiple iterations on my grey-scale wireframes I started to transition my design into high fidelity. I created a Mood Board and extracted my color pallet. I wanted to create a striking dark UI with colors that pop and iterated countless times ensuring that I was successful. The final color scheme stems from glacier lakes because I felt they portray a natural beauty that can prompt their us

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New Dog Screen

The New Dog screen allows the user to easily add a new dog, inputting essential information and choosing the type of weight control plan to put the dog on.

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Daily / Weekly Overview

The overview gives detailed metrics for the day. It features a scrollable calendar at the top that allows users to visit past days and see what results they had that day as well as the weight plan their dog was on at the time.

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Food Overview

The food page gives the user everything they need to track their food with a healthy portions. The user can see their standard serving size and how much of their daily calorie intake the dog has had. Clicking the feed dog button brings up the feed dog modal.

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My Dogs / Home Screen

The My Dogs screen gives the user an overview of all of their dogs. It allows them to get a quick feel for their dog's fitness and calorie intake.

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Profile Screen

The profile screen provides an overview for the dog so the user can compare the fitness and diet of their dog in the daily and weekly time frames. Clicking on either card would bring them to the more detailed overview.

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Fitness Overview

The fitness page is for users who either have multiple dogs or at the moment just want a quick update on their dog's progress for the day  or week. Users have the ability to click on a dog and get more details for their fitness as well. 

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Feed Dog Modal

This page will suggest the healthy portion that corresponds with recent fitness levels. Once the user hits track meal it will be automatically updated in the diet parts of the app.

Product Marketing Site

I wanted to create a responsive marketing site to go along with my app. This site would promote the app and share key features with prospective users.

I wanted to create a responsive marketing site to go along with my app. This site would promote the app and share key features with prospective users.

View the full desktop version here:

View the full mobile version here:

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Alternate Platforms

In the future I would like to create a full app for the apple watch. Expanding to the Apple Watch is the next logical step because it allows users to track their dog's fitness extremely easily throughout the day. Another feature to bring would be to also track the user's fitness so that their dog's fitness and their own would be in one place. 

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Outcomes & Takeaways

I believe my design addresses the problem of obesity in dogs. It helps educate dog owners who may not know how much exercise or food their dog truly needs to be healthy. My app also provides an easy way to keep track of these things so that it is not a hassle for the user's to keep their dog's healthy.

Learnings

I learned a lot while doing this project. One of the biggest things I learned was what may seem intuitive to you may not be to others. During the development of my app I had built a progress bar that made total sense to me but nobody else was able to understand it. I had to move off of my design because it clearly was not the best solution possible.

Moving Forward

One Future impact that I believe Biscuit could have is helping rescue dogs. Dog rescues and unfortunate dogs are something I am very passionate about and I would love if my app could benefit them in some way, such as providing a smart collar when adopting from certain rescues to help incentivize potential dog owners.

Another future feature I would love to bring would be a social aspect. I would love for Biscuit users to be able to form a community and share with each other their dog's stats for the day/week. This would be a great way to share the knowledge and information that using Biscuit brings.