PetMate is a bundle of products including the hardware(collar + hub) and the application on mobile phones. The hub and collar are used to track the location of the pet. The application is used by the pet owners to view the tracking information about the pet; to share experience with other pet owners; and to ask for helps when pet is out of the safe boundary and trackable areas.
• Design a seamless hardware + software solution
• Practice different user research methods and engineering design work flows
• Help pet owners with their needs and painpoints
Chenyu Wang, Gabriela Rubio, Yubing Zhang, Lynn Sandberg
• Conducted initial research on the current solutions and interviewed people with pets.
• Generated concepts and the drafted the filtering criteria for the team
• Mapped the full ecosystem of our concept
• Designed the user interface and built prototypes
Identify the Product Opportunity
Given the topic "family&outdoors", we began to brainstorm more narrowed-down area for product opportunities by creating a fishbone diagram. From large categories, nice areas are identified as shown in the diagram. By considering the factors, including access to information, marketability, desire, feasbility(economical and technological), competition, uniqueness, time, team interest and skills, we finally decided to focus on the topic "Pets in outdoors".
Understand the Users
There are many stakeholders. The pet has a stake in protecting itself and preserving its health; The pet owners do not want to worry about their pets' safety in outdoors and they want to share the proud and fun with other people. Besides the key stakeholders, others have an interest such as friends, friends'pets, neighbors, veterinarians, visitors, neighbor's pets, and wild animals. To better understand the users, we interviewed some of the stakeholders to learn about their needs and problems faced, and observed the interaction between the owners and the pets.
There are many stakeholders. The pet has a stake in protecting itself and preserving its health; The pet ownersdo not want to worry about their pets' safety in outdoors; Others have an interest such as neighbors, veterinarians, visitors, neighbor's pets, and wild animals.(image need to be changed, the owners and the pets are both in the center area)
By conducting the interview, we identified that "keep pets safe in outdoors" and "sharing the happy monments" are drawing most of the attention from the owners. A objective analysis has been down to help us deciding what are the needs under main objectives of key stakeholders.
Understand the Market
Technology Survey and Market Analysis
We researched on the products avaliable on the market to identify the potential product opportunities. Price and level of complexity have been used to measure the current avaliable pet products. There are lots of products avaliable to provide a comfortale life to the pets or keep them safe by preventing them going outside the safety boundaries or fulfilling their exercise/playing needs indoors, etc.
By studying on the users needs and the current market lanscape, the following design principles are identified to be followed: Easy to use, the product should be easy to be abtained, installed, and maintained.Users can use the product with minimum instructions or even no instruction; Delightful, the product should create a delighful experience to the users through the interaction and visual aesthetics; safe to use, stylish, and affordable.
Different concepts are generated to help with achieving the goal to keep and pet safe in outdoors and enable the owners to easily share the experience.
Different scenarios are proposed and conducted research with potential users. Storyboards are generated to show how might the product interact with people and help with fullfilling their needs.
• Notify pets owners when pets are out of yard
• Set by pets owner or learn by software where are the safe areas for pets.
• Make it easy for other people to help the pets when the pets are in trouble.
• Make it easy to share happy moments with each other among pets owners.
• Be able to obtain information in time to give better care to the pets.
• Enhance the relationship among pets owners in a community.
hard and software integration
App + Hub + Collar Solution
By conducting research on the potential users and analysing the current offerings on the market. We decided to go with hard and software integration solution by providing an app, a hud and a collar bundle. Following the design principles, this inegrated system should be:
• Easy to use. App on smartphone + Hub in house + Collar carried by pet. The pet owner only need to make the pet wear the collar and activate the hub. Then, she/he can easily know whether the ept is stay within the safe area or not and get the help from others if necessary.
• Safe. Protect the pets from escaping and being harmed by the potential risks in outdoors/the product itself should be safe when interact with the pets owners and the pets.
• Stylish. Smiliar to other dog collars, the host families usually value the color/style/patterns when they make the purchase decision. Therefore, the collar designed for this product should be able to be vustomized easily and provide more choices to the customers.
• Affordable. The product should be able to provide a economical solution to the users.
The following diagram illustrates how the system works from engineering point of view.
Besides the connect established between pet and its owner, the system is also expected to connect the pets owners in the community and build a virtual place for them to share their exprience and to help each other.
Prototyping - 3D Modeling
Hub and Collar
After making the 3d models, we conducted interviews with potential users to gather feedbacks. People would like to see more aesthetic value from the product, and want the product "remind me of the cuteness of my pet". Gabi is incharging of creating the 3D models.
Research has been done to enhance the functionability of the product in different versions. Besides the basic form and shape, details are added to create more emotional trigger to the users. For example, the small paw shape light in more human than just a blinking LED. The size and the cornors of the collar are adjusted to make pets feel more comfortable while wearing the collar./p>
Prototyping - UI
Here are the simplified workflows on onboarding and two most important functions: sharing and tracking pet.
I have conducted several variations of the wireframe to adjust the flow, layouts, interactions and other design elements based on the feedbacks received from both the team and from potential users. The following picture shows five of the main flows. wireframes on how to set safe boundaries, managing notificationd and other account settings, etc are not shown in the following picture:
• On boarding of the user; connecting the hard device to the application;
• Sharing experience with people in the PetMate;
• Create and manage pet profiles;
• Add and manage friends on PetMate;
• View pet location and ask for help when pet is out of safe boundary.
In this project, I have practiced different user research methods to understand the needs and wants of the users. Since the solution includes both hardware and software, I have got a change to learn more information about the engineering and manufacturing of the hardware devices. By conducting different versions of the workflows, wireframes, and mock-ups of the PetMate application, I have sharped my skills in UI and UX design. It was a great time to work with people with different backgrounds and skills set, I have also learnt a lot from my teammates from skills like 3d modeling to interpersonal skills.