My Match

A web app that helps people find the perfect pet to adopt.


November 2019 - December 2019
(2 months)

Project Context

Course project at Carnegie Mellon University:
Interaction Design Studio
Create a web app in the domain of pet adoption.

My Role

UX Research and Design


Xiang (Olivia) Li - UX Research and Design
Crystal Lin - UX Research and Design


Adopt Your New
Best Buddy

Pet adoption can lead to a lot of happiness for both the adopter and the pet.

Pet adoption centers provide services that:

  • Benefit those seeking a pet, and
  • Humane care for animals in need of a home.


Finding A Good Match Can Be A Challenge

Some find the process itself to be too long and frustrating.

People often have misconceptions that lead them to make poor choices on which animal to adopt.

As a result animals might not be adopted or worse, returned to the adoption facility.

The Goal

Create A Great Web App for Our “Client”

Animal Friends is a pet adoption agency in Pittsburgh, PA.

After interviewing their adoption coordinator to learn more about their process, we decided to proceed with them in mind as our “client” for this academic project.

Our goal was to reimagine their website as a tool to encourage better adoptions and reduce the number of mismatches that occur.

Our Process

We chose methods that helped us proceed rapidly. We kicked off this project by learning all we could through guerilla research.

We spoke to those with experience adopting a pet, as well as those who facilitate adoptions. We quickly discovered and validated needs through speed dating a series of storyboards.

Key Insights

Insight 1

People considering pet adoption want to find a good match but are often uncertain how to do this or what it even means.

Insight 2

People new to the pet adoption process often find it unclear and complicated.

Insight 3

Coordinators at Animal Friends observe that many people come in with misconceptions about animals or unrealistic expectations. It can be difficult for them to educate people and help them make good decisions.


My Match For Animal Friends

My Match let’s you start in your own way: either browse through the “Meet Our Animals” section to see all available animals or begin the matching process.

Enter Preferences:
Let’s Keep This Simple!

The My Match process is kept very straightforward, and only asks for information that will help in the matching process.

What If Your Ability To Care Doesn’t Match With Your Wants?

Some folks have their heart set on a puppy or a particular breed that they either don’t have the time or energy to properly care for.

My Match offers a word of caution and some explanation to help potential adopters think objectively about this big decision.

This caution is quickly followed up with animals that are a better fit.

Animal Profiles:
Getting To Know You

While Animal Friends’ website already makes use of animal profiles, our design enhances these profiles with a recommended daily schedule that is personal to a particular animal.

Our design also expands the typical photos section with the addition of videos of a particular animal.

Lastly, with a tap on “View Daily Snapshot”…

A Daily Snapshot

An animal profile comes to life with the daily snapshot. What does Jasper do all day long?

Potential adopters are given the means to visualize how an animal will (or won’t) fit into their own daily schedule.

What Comes Next In The Adoption Process?

Once a potential adopter has become more acquainted with animals available for adoption, they can add those animals to their favorites list for future reference.

Information on their favorites page also clarifies important details like, “No appointment needed” and the address and hours of the Animal Friends facility.

“This is amazing!”
“You guys did some great work.”

An Excited Client

At the end of this project, our team made a visit to Animal Friends to present our design to the adoption coordinator and communications coordinator.

They were thrilled with our work and felt that it would both ease the adoption process and reduce mismatches.

What I Learned

Discoveries late in the process

The importance of thoroughly understanding the needs of your client at the start of a project really hit home for me during this project.

It wasn’t until presenting our nearly finalized prototype to Animal Friends that we learned of an opportunity to integrate their data management system into our web app to create a service provider side of the app.

This would enable them to use a common system to manage data, such as medical records, and quickly update animal profiles.

Possible Next Steps

More Testing & Expanding Scope

User Testing:
If we were to continue this project, we would conduct more user testing to further evaluate the mental model and interaction design. Does our design improve confidence in potential adopters that they really have a sense of an animal’s personality?

Database Integration:
We would also investigate ways to integrate this web app into the records database used by Animal Friends. This would allow them to easily update an animal's profile and link adoption and medical records to a particular animal.

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