K9 Friends​​​​​​​
The Challenge
Addressing Pet Adoption in Commuter Cities
As one of the most prominent dog shelters in the UAE, K9's aim is to find a home for life for all dogs. Their website is in need of a redesign to support their mission better and offer a better user experience. The shelter’s core existence relies mainly on donations, and volunteer program, so it is essential that their website provides clear options in terms of how to get involved.
High-Level Goals
●  Redesign the website of K9 Friends in order to address the following:
             1. Increase successful dog adoptions from the shelter by 150%.
             2. Eliminate the need for the shelter to take on abandoned and stray dogs by 50%, by providing a pet                       rehoming feature.
             3. Decrease the cases of post-adoption pet abandonment by at least 70%, utilizing in the process different               educational resources to raise awareness and ensure a potential dog owner understands the responsibility.
●  Revamp the site’s information architecture.
The Process
1. Discovery
Competitive Analysis
I kicked-off the research phase by looking at the most prominent animal shelters in the region in order to establish patterns and analyze strengths and weaknesses. A summary of findings include:
1 - Most competitors utilized online forms to optimize the adoption/fostering/volunteering application process.
2 - They also utilized an online pet directory but was often outdated. 
3 - Most incorporates search and filters.​​​​​​​
User Research
To get a sense of local market trends, I conducted market research and established findings that are particularly relevant to a commuter city like Dubai, which resulted in a high number of abandoned and stray animals:
Next, I conducted user testing to get a better feel of user's approach to pet adoption and to tackle the users' mental model when it comes to choosing the right pets for them:
- Participants had a good idea about what they wanted in terms of breed and age. 
- Most did not know the kind of commitment the were getting themselves into. 
- They also indicated that they weren't educated enough about dogs and the specific breed they wanted. ​​​​​​​
Stakeholders Interview
In an interview with the stakeholders, they gave instrumental insights in terms of how their goals are best achieved via their website, what are the most important features, and what services should or should not be executed online via the platform

Tackling the "Sweet Spot" of UX

Meet Sara
I used the findings from the user interviews to construct a persona, in order to create an actual representation of K9 typical user...
To take it a step further, I created a user empathy map, in order to really put myself in the user's shoes and address her needs, goals and pains throughout the design process.
2. Define
As a result of aggregating both the shelter's goals and user needs, I established the main activities that are needed to be addressed via the new platform.
Since one of the goals were revamping the information architecture, I conducted a card sorting exercise in order to tackle the taxonomy of the site and get a sense of how would users categorize different site topics 
I synthesized the findings from research and the card sorting and created a site plan that responded to the need of both the users and the shelter...
User Flow
In preparation for prototyping, I started analyzing different user flows, according to the different tasks that users will attempt at doing via the new platform. This gave me the structure to start wireframing in accordance with these flows. The two key task flows I initially looked at were: "The Adoption" flow, and "The Rehoming" flow, which resulted from the research phase...
3. Ideation
The next step was to flesh out the main content area for the responsive wireframes for desktop, tablet and mobile. Working off of a 12-column grid, my go-to layout, I visualized the main structure of the website, with the content corresponding with findings I have gathered from the research phase
4. Prototype
I quickly jumped into shaping the UI elements and started considering color palettes that provoke warmth, trust, and playfulness, which is why I settled on a reddish shades of purple, and by combining it with a pink accent color, I aimed to bring personality with a hint of flair to the site. I wanted to engage the user with an energetic and welcoming UI that would lead to finishing their tasks...
The next step was to flesh out the page of the website in order to start setting up the prototype, and prepare for the usability testing to validate design...
Then, I created a mid-fidelity prototype using Invision:
5. Validate
User Testing
I conducted usability testing utilizing the Invision mid-fidelity prototype in order to observe how would users also produced interesting insights in terms of how could the design be improved. To summarize the main findings I created an affinity diagram to use a tool, to implement priority design recommendations accordingly...
Next Steps
Given more time with this project, I would iterate further on the final design in accordance with findings of the usability testing, and I would conduct more testing to uncover further insights. 
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