Nikhil Venkatesh   Product Designer


Helping your furry friends find the perfect playdate

We've all heard the saying: Dogs are man's best friend. People who have had pets will understand how true this statement is. We love spending time with our dogs, but sometimes our commitments don't give us much time to give them the exercise and attention they need.

Most dogs need a ton of physical exercise, and the company of other dogs helps them grow up to be social and well rounded animals. Enter - PuppyHarmony. With PuppyHarmony, you can easily find and connect with other like-minded dog owners in your area to bring your dogs together to exercise, socialize and have fun!

I was the primary designer on the team, working with a project manager, a researcher and another designer.

Type Academic Project

Role UX Designer

Duration 3 months (Sep 2015 - Dec 2015)

Responsibilities UX design, Prototyping, Visual design, Supporting UX and market research

Our Process

Right from the beginning, we wanted to focus on understanding the business aspect of design. We wanted to use this project to learn how we can take an idea and monetize it. How do we come up with a business plan? How do we take those business goals and balance them with the user's needs? What does this mean for the design?

To figure all this out, we followed a number of steps:

  • We created a Business Model Canvas to clearly define our product - our value proposition, who our key partners would be, what resources we would need, how much it would cost to build and run this business, and how we would make money out of it.
  • We then brainstormed a feature list - what features did we need to offer to actually provide the value we intend to?
  • From that feature list, we eliminated the ones that were not necessary for the Minimum Viable Product, and created a business plan.
  • To find out more about our users, and our business space, we interviewed dog owners and potential users, and we did an extensive competitive analysis to see who we would be competing against.

At this point, we had a business model, we learned that there was very little competition and a lot of opportunity in this space, and our potential users were excited about this idea - so were we!

Our Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas

Thinking about Dog Stats

Our research with customers and competitors showed us that the biggest pain point was not finding other dog owners. Every dog is different and the difficulty was in finding a friend for your pet that was compatible - in terms of factors like temperament, size and age. At this point, PuppyHarmony was becoming a matchmaking service for pets.

With the first round of wireframes, our goal was to explore the parameters that would form the backbone of the matchmaking process. Essentially we wanted to know what information we needed from owners to provide an effective service. More importantly, we wanted to know if our users understood the questions and terms that we used.

The wireframes that I created were very useful to start thinking about screen flows and user journeys - but this wasn't a format that we could show users. I took this opportunity to create a prototype with Indigo Studio.

The first low fidelity prototype.

Visual Design & Testing

This is still a work-in-progress. My primary focus for this project right now is to explore the visual identity and establish a brand guide for PuppyHarmony. I would also like to do some more user testing on other aspects, like discovering dog owners around you and the process of actually connecting with them.

Our users were quite excited with the concept and were very enthusiastic about the idea of this app. Do check back soon for updates!


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