the•great•tiny n.Small woman, big ideas

DoggieWalkies

In this 1-week school-instigated project, I was tasked with solving a problem for one classmate. After our interview, he suggested a solution for me to explore.

Problem:

John sometimes has trouble finding someone to walk his dog.

Proposed solution:

"Postmates for Dogs"

Back Story and Exploration

John is a responsible dog owner. He loves his dogs, takes care of them, and has contingency plans in place for their care. Even the most responsible dog owners can have the unexpected happen to them. Contingency plans can fall through.

I explored a few different solutions:

  • Helping him manage his time better.
  • Helping him and his girlfriend communicate better about who's walking the dogs that day.
  • Helping him find a reliable dog-walker he can call on.
  • Helping him find an emergency dog-walker, or "postmates for dogs."

I decided to pursue some version of the last two options, as I didn't feel the need to redesign iCal and iChat.

I also realized that many of the solutions are rife with stress for both parties. From then on, my design solutions focused on mitigating those stresses

I also interviewed a professional dog walker, Hayley, to understand her perspective on this situation. In her mind, coming into a stranger's home without having first met them or their dog was "liability city." She also felt that many dog-walking services focused too much on reassuring dog owners that their dogs will be safe, and not enough time reassuring dog walkers. While I focused on John's needs in this project, I tried to keep Hayley in the back of my mind while designing.

"It's really stressful when you can't find a last-minute walker!"

"Coming into a stranger's home is 'liability city!'"

Competing Userflows

Neither of these flows seemed to satisfy the concerns raised by either the dog owners or the dog walkers. One was too impersonal for both parties, the other took too long. I decided to ask John directly, "Do you really want a Postmates for dogs? Are you really that comfortable letting a total stranger handle your pup?"

"You're right, Sasha, I would prefer something more personal than 'Postmates for Dogs.' I need to know my dogs are ok!"

Following that, I decided to follow the more personal approach, but to simplify the payment structure. This would speed up the process of booking, while preserving the piece of mind of the dog owner. In order to decrease the stress-factors on the dog owners, I included the following features:

  • walk-in-progress updates
  • a chat function
  • and a walk summary.

Sketching Iterations

Final Wireframes

Next Steps:

Ideally, the next step would be to build a userflow for Hayley, to show that I do have the dog-walker's needs in mind. She would have the opportunity to rate John's dogs and how easy it was to get in/out of his house. She would be paid fairly, based on how convenient it was for her to add John's dog to her walking schedule.