This was my first client work that I had done for a Chicago Startup called Urban Leash. This company provides on demand pet walking and sitting services. It is like an, "Uber for dog walking." There are customers whose pets need walking. An operation manager oversees the incoming requests and dispenses them amongst the urban leash contractors/employees. My team and I had met with the CEO and CTO to investigate their outlook and end goals.

 

We developed a research plan that included stakeholder, customer, and employee interviews. We also did a competitive analysis for similar companies or services which can be seen in an image below. In addition to that, we came up with surveys for different audiences and customers to gain some more insight into their experiences and pain points or frustrations experienced when using with these kinds of services.

 

After analyzing our research and presenting it to our client, the collective agreement was to:

  • Make significant enhancements to the customer-facing app.
  • Add additional transparency of the service.
  • Highlight the strengths of the service that were not being communicated effectively.
  • Improve the overall utility of the mobile offering.

 

Click here to read my recap of this project on my Medium.com page: RETROSPECTIVE

TIMELINE

RESEARCH/DISCOVERY

Ideating and Sketching

Our team had spent two days sketching out our ideas and then discussing and critiquing each other's ideas. We began to wireframe in lo-fidelity to start testing out our components after picking and choosing what we had liked from each others sketches.

Wireframing

The video to the right shows a prototype of the employee-facing app that we had redesigned. Our research suggested that employees wanted more transparency and communication in order to know as much about the customer and their pet as possible. As you can see in the video, we added in the ability for employees to write down notes on certain customers and their pets for other employees to view before entering the home. The access to that kind of information prepares the employee and eliminated any surprises or precautions and would save them time. The dog walker can also view notes that the owner had left, which are probably more helpful.

Another frustration experienced by most customers that we surveyed and interviewed was the "recurring service" option. Let's say a user wants to have his or her dog walked every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday... and he or she doesn't want to have to go back in every Sunday and fill out the request again; The recurring service option allows the user to set a repeating service.

 

The way the developers had set it up on the application was very confusing and unintuitive. There was no summary before of what they ordered or specifics of the request. As you can see in the wireframes to the right, we added in a "Schedule Summary" that allows the user to double check their inputs.

Service Design for Urban Leash

I had redesigned their app and website. I had some time to ideate around the pain points that both the customers and employees face: Getting the keys or getting inside the pet owner's home and time spent inside the home looking for things like leashes and dog food. I had stopped by a few apartments to learn how they are currently working with companies like Urban Leash. A lot of employees had to check in with the front desk to let them into the customer's home. I had created a prototype of a lock box that could be used by Urban Leash and the buildings. The story board and digital prototype can be seen in the carousel below:

Website Redesign

After speaking with many employees, it was evident that the 15 minute walk option was not enough time for the employee to get inside the home, wrangle up the dog, put the leash on, go down the elevators or stairs, go for a walk, etc. In fact, we were also told that the 15 minute services basically never are 15 minutes, but extend over to sometime 30 minutes. We decided to use a contrast of color and size for the 30 and 45 minute walks to make them stand out and lead the users eyes towards those two options. Hopefully this would guide users to select longer requests.

Urban Leash

The carousel to the left shows some images of my team researching and analyzing our findings.

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Observations
  • Affinity Mapping
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Personas

This video shows our prototype for a new user registering to use the service. In the beginning, we had put in a zip code form to determine whether you are in the area of service that Urban Leash covers. The reason for this feature is that in our research with Urban Leash, a lot of their inactive users were people who had registered and attempted to book a service, but were in an area that Urban Leash unfortunately didn't service. If a user is out of service area, they will receive a notification informing them of the service area.

 

We also wanted to make this experience a more personable and friendly atmosphere. We gave the user an option to upload a picture of their pet that would be pinned on every page they navigate through while completing the registration and information forms.