The Problem

Millions of animals are currently in shelters and foster homes awaiting adoption. Design an experience that will help connect people looking for a new pet with the right companion for them. Help an adopter find a pet which matches their lifestyle, considering factors including breed, gender, age, temperament, and health status.

The context

The Challenge: Every year 7.6 million animals enter the shelter system in the United States. (Source: ASPCA) In 2015 the United States shelter system euthanized an estimated 3.5 million animals. The pets adoption is a long and unsure journey. Although there are a huge number of pets waiting to be adopted, it is not easy for adopters to find a good pet match, and often they are experiencing delays in getting information of pets. It may take a few weeks for the adopters to get a close look of pets they are interested in.

Who are the end users?


  1. People who are animals lovers
  2. People who look for new family members
  3. People who want to bring happiness to home
  4. People who feel loneliness


The Scope & Constrains

Target users? We will focus on helping millennials who are not familiar with adopting pets.

Main pain points?

  1. Adopters often need to go through a long and boring process to find good matches. They are also spending a lot of time in educating themselves, or reaching out to friends for help and advice in getting a good match. They would like to see new pets updates in a timely manner.
  2. Adopters could be adoption helpers as well. It is not easy to create rich contents such as photos, and videos for promoting pets online.

Device? Based on the figure 1&2, people spend 50% of their time on mobile. In this exercise, we will design a mobile app so that users can experience real-time and rich information of adoptable pets.

Breed category analysis? Based on figure 3&4, some breeds are more likely to be adopted than others. In this exercise, we assume most of the targeted users don't start with searching a particular breed. We focus on the flow once users complete self-selection of their lifestyles, the app will intelligently recommend matches of all breeds.

Register pets and create pets' profiles? The shelters always connect to a database. They pull pets data automatically, such as ID number, breed, and age, etc. But there is no a good resource to get videos of pets. Based on research, all dog breeds had a higher percentage of making it out of an animal shelter alive if they are shown on a video. This app will not focus on helping volunteers write pets profiles, instead, we would like to introduce a place for users creating and sharing videos of pets.

The final adoption process? Since most of the final adoption process is offline in the shelter, we would not focus on reference check, payments, or post-adoption experience.



We will focus on two main user stories

  1. How to help adopters find and adopt matches easily?
  2. How to help people to share and create videos to promote pets easily?


  • Self selector Onboarding
  • Search pets
  • Filter pets by breed, gender, age, temperament, and health status, etc.
  • Browse pets details including images, videos, and location, etc.
  • View pets details
  • Browse pets details includinf images, history,location, etc.
  • Shelters'location
  • Available date and time
  • Add to my calendar
  • Save pets for later
  • Share pets with friends
  • Communicate with friends and adopters
  • Chat with the friends
  • Review friends' updates
  • Contact with the shelter about the pets
  • Schedule a visit to shelters
  • Notifications
  • Remind me when friends @ me
  • Remind me to go to the event/shelters
  • Remind me when pets are newly added
  • Remind me when friends send new messages



Sketch Concepts


Wireframe Flow





The Prototype


The downside of the multi-steps onboarding is time-consuming. We want to bring the delightful look-and-feel, and easy-to-use interaction so that users can finish onboarding. Once they finish the self-selection, they will get to see a summary and the recommendations for pets.

The default home page is a list view. The order of pets ideally should be based on the relevance. The order also should consider how long pets stay in shelters. Users can review adoption form submitted under "My account" page. Users can also create videos for pets from "My account" page.

The "Friends" page can let users interact with friends and they have a single place for planning adopting pets. In the future, we can invite them to create schedules and plan a visit to shelters together through the app.

High Fidelity Mocks


The Next Step

Design intuitive experience takes time and efforts. At the beginning, We want to apply constraints and define the scope to focus on main design areas. After researches, we empathize with users and animals, and can't help in exploring some creative concepts such as adopting pets together with friends, creating videos and social media sharing posts, etc. Given more time, we can further think through the information hierarchy and all the entry points of the main features. We will also conduct user testings to validate the minimal viable experience. Questions we would like to ask are:

During the onboarding, what are the best questions to ask in order to utilize the datasets of pets and provide best recommendations?

How can we enhance the promoting pets flows and how does users get more entry points and review the history of videos easily?

How do we clearly display the status of pets in the shelter, such as under adoption, number of reviews, adopted already, etc?

How can we identify the commonly used keywords for search?

How do we help adopters to understand the cost of adopting pets upfront?

Can we leverage big data to predict users behavior and who are more likely to adopt pets?

How can we reward people to create pet videos and interact with pets?

Can we use machine learning to recognize the pets automatically?

How do users recover from error messages?