Google Ventures design sprint to build a pet adoption app for potential adopters living in big cities
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The Breakdown

Finding the perfect dog to adopt can be a daunting task, especially for those of us living in larger cities with busy schedules, smaller living spaces, and specific requirements in regards to breed, energy level, and temperament.

The prompt for this project was to build a desktop web application to help people living in large urban areas find the perfect dog.

All of this was to be done in the context of a 5 day Google Ventures Design Sprint that was modified to be a solo endeavor.


UI Design
UX Research
Interaction Design


Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator


Desktop Web Application

Goal: Create a desktop web application that helps people living in cities adopt the perfect dog

Task: Design a minimum viable product following Google Venture’s 5 day design sprint methodology. 

Final Screens


People that live in urban areas face unique challenges when searching online to adopt a dog. These challenges include considerations on the size, energy level, and space that a dog may require.


A web application that enables users to search for the perfect pup while taking into account the unique requirements many city dwellers face in this process.

The Design Sprint

Design sprints typically take place amongst a team within a 5 day workweek. Because this was a solo venture some modifications were made to best suit suit the project.

Day 1: Understand / Map

In order to understand what the potential process might look like for a potential user, I mapped out a user’s experience step by step to help guide my research.

On the first day of the design sprint, my primary focus was to gain a better understanding of the challenges users face while adopting dogs in urban areas. 

To achieve this, I listened to user interviews, gathering insights and documenting their pain points. This initial research phase aimed to lay the foundation for addressing the core problems and setting the stage for the subsequent stages of the design process.

Interview Insights:

“I live in a small one bedroom apartment, so size and breed are very important to me. I want to get a feel for what their energy level might be like and make sure my home would be a good fit for them.”
“Photos are great, but videos are even better! I really want to get a sense of a dog’s personality, and sometimes it’s hard to get that from online profiles ”
“The adoption process is very time consuming. Visiting shelters, talking to rescues, and trying to describe what I’m looking for in a dog takes a really long time”

Day 2: Sketch

Lightning Demos

Finding a furry friend is a very special experience, but the actual process of searching pet adoption sites isn’t too far off from other online shopping experiences or looking for a hotel. I wanted to see if there might be some comparable experiences in different industries that we could gather inspiration from and compare those experiences to other existing pet adoption sites.

For this case study, I wanted to compare the user experience of searching for a place to stay on Airbnb, hiring a dog-sitter through Rover, and adopting a pet through Petfinder.

By analyzing these platforms, we can identify strengths and areas for improvement in the pet adoption journey.

Lightning Demo 1: Searching for a Place to Stay on Airbnb

The Airbnb platform allows users to search for accommodations in various locations. Users start by entering their destination, travel dates, and preferences. The platform then displays a range of available listings, including detailed information, photos, reviews, and pricing. Users can apply filters, compare options, and engage in direct communication with hosts.

The booking process is streamlined, with clear steps and transparent pricing. Overall, Airbnb provides a user-friendly and visually appealing interface, making it easy for users to find and book suitable accommodations.

Lightning Demo 2: Finding Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters on Rover

Rover is a popular online platform that connects pet owners with dog walkers and pet sitters. Users can search for local caregivers based on their location, pet care needs, and availability. 

I chose to include Rover in my lighting demos because the company  provides a popular service within the pet industry, and the way it helps users navigate profiles could provide some valuable insights and reference points. 

The platform provides caregiver profiles with comprehensive information, including experience, qualifications, reviews, and pricing. Users can easily communicate with caregivers, schedule services, and make payments through the platform. 

Rover offers a user-friendly interface with streamlined search and booking processes, ensuring a convenient and reliable experience for pet owners.

Lightning Demo 3: Adopting a Pet through Petfinder

Petfinder is an online platform dedicated to helping users find adoptable pets, including dogs. Users can search for pets based on location, species, breed, age, and other specific criteria. The platform provides pet profiles with detailed descriptions, photos, and adoption contact information. 

Compared to Airbnb and Rover, the user experience on Petfinder feels less intuitive. The search interface lacks advanced filtering options, and the overall design could benefit from improved visual presentation and organization of information. Additionally, the adoption process on Petfinder may involve contacting multiple shelters or organizations separately, which can be time-consuming and overwhelming for potential adopters.

Findings from Lightning Demos

Based on the comparison between Airbnb, Petfinder, and Rover, several key areas for improvement in the pet adoption experience have been identified:

User-Friendly Search Interface: Enhance the search interface by incorporating more advanced filtering options, allowing users to narrow down their search results based on specific preferences such as size, temperament, or compatibility with other pets.

Visual Presentation and Organization: Improve the visual presentation of pet profiles by showcasing high-quality photos, utilizing a consistent layout, and making key information easily scannable. This will help users quickly assess and compare different pets.

Streamlined Adoption Process: Simplify the adoption process by integrating a unified adoption application or inquiry system. This would enable users to submit their interest in multiple pets or shelters simultaneously, reducing the need for contacting each organization separately.

Convenient Caregiver Selection: Learn from Rover's user experience to implement a user-friendly search interface on the adoption platform, allowing potential adopters to search based on location, availability, and specific care requirements.

Seamless User Experience: Take inspiration from Airbnb and Rover to create a seamless user journey for pet adopters. Incorporate clear steps, and efficient communication channels to enhance the overall adoption process and provide a positive experience for users.


By analyzing the lightning demos of Airbnb, Petfinder, and Rover, valuable insights have been gained to enhance the pet adoption experience. The recommended improvements in search functionality, visual presentation, streamlined processes, and seamless user experience will contribute to creating a user-centered pet adoption platform that addresses the specific needs of potential dog adopters in big cities.

Sketching Solutions

In order to start generating a large amount of ideas quickly, I followed the protocol of GV’s design sprint and implemented the Crazy 8’s technique for the generation of each page. This was helpful in synthesizing the findings from the lightning demos and seeing how I might layout the content for CityPups.

Crazy 8's


Landing Page

Dog Profile

Search Results

Matching Quiz

During the sketching process, I went through a few different iterations of these basic ideas to help visualize what these possibilities. I also just really enjoy the process of sketching. Very meditative 🧘 Onto Day 3!

Day 3: Decide

Lightning Demos

In a conventional design sprint, the team typically selects a single solution from the presented sketches. However, since this project was conducted individually, I opted to seek feedback from my peers by sharing the sketches and discussing the user flows before conducting any testing.

This collaborative approach yielded valuable insights regarding the content to be displayed on the search results page. Initially, I intended to showcase dog profiles using cards featuring a portrait photo and limited information. However, based on user feedback, it became apparent that many users desired additional key details, such as behavioral notes, temperament, and socialization issues. To address this, I expanded the card layout into a horizontal frame that could accommodate more comprehensive information about each dog. Additionally, I introduced a quickview popup feature to allow users to view the full profile description and added a quick apply button.

These valuable insights and subsequent modifications instilled confidence in me to proceed with prototyping more refined and visually detailed designs.


Day 4: Prototype

For this stage, I decided to (once again) break the rules of a traditional design sprint by pushing myself to build out a high fidelity prototype in Figma, as opposed to the suggested solution of building out an MVP in keynote. My main reasoning for this was to grow my understanding of Figma’s interactive features and build something with more functionality that could gain deeper insights in testing.

Day 5: Test

In order to assess the effectiveness of my proposed solution, I conducted usability testing on an interactive prototype with a sample group of five users. This group consisted of four participants who were interviewed remotely and one participant who was interviewed in-person.These usability tests were designed to evaluate the users' ability to successfully accomplish three pivotal "red route tasks" essential to the seamless user flow of the dog adoption process:

By focusing on these critical tasks, the usability testing aimed to provide valuable insights into the overall functionality and user experience of the proposed solution.

Findings from Tests

Clarity on the adoption process:

One common theme among participants was the uncertainty about the subsequent steps in the adoption process after entering and submitting their information to the rescue. This issue is particularly challenging due to the varying processes employed by different rescue organizations for potential adopters. To address this, it was essential to ensure that rescues receive essential information from CityPups users while minimizing any additional hurdles in the user journey. It was also important to effectively communicate to users that rescues may require additional information or payment at a later stage in the process.

To tackle these challenges, a solution was implemented by developing an application form that automatically populated the answers based on the quiz results provided by users. Additionally, informative copy was incorporated below the form to set expectations for users regarding potential requirements in the later stages of the adoption process. This approach aimed to strike a balance between providing necessary information to rescues and maintaining a smooth user journey for potential adopters.

Further Improvements to Quiz User Flow:

One of the challenges encountered while planning the quiz for matching users with prospective dogs was determining the most logical grouping and sequencing of questions. User feedback highlighted the complexity of categorizing certain questions, as they could fit into multiple categories. Initial sequencing of questions did not align with the users' priorities, leading to a disjointed experience. To address this, it became crucial to reevaluate the sequencing of questions and prioritize user concerns. Questions relating to age, size, and breed, for example, needed to be grouped together as they addressed similar considerations for CityPups users. By rearranging the questions in a manner that better reflected user priorities, the quiz flow could be improved to create a more cohesive and user-centric experience.


Lessons Learned:

  1. Start at the End. By envisioning and clarifying the desired end result or outcome from the beginning, the entire design process becomes more focused and purposeful. Defining the ultimate goal not only provides a clear direction for the design efforts but also helps align the team's vision and efforts. By following this principle, I was able to set a focused vision and guide my decision-making process, ensuring that every design iteration and solution aligned with the desired outcome.
  2. Test your assumptions: It is fairly easy to fall into the trap of assuming that you understand users' needs and preferences without concrete evidence. Going into this project, I had a sense that because I had recently adopted a dog and live in a large urban area, that I would understand the difficulties faced by potential users of this product. However, by actively seeking user feedback and conducting usability testing, I gained valuable insights into users' actual behaviors, preferences, and pain points. Testing assumptions helped validate our design choices, identify areas for improvement, and iterate on our solutions. It reinforced the significance of involving users throughout the design process to ensure that our designs effectively meet their needs.
  3. Explore different products/industries when compiling research: An essential lesson learned during this UX case study was the value of exploring different types of products and industries during the research phase. While it is natural to focus on the specific domain of the project at hand, broadening my research scope allowed me to gain fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. By exploring industries outside of the pet market, I discovered alternative approaches, best practices, and unique design solutions that we could adapt and apply to our specific context. This cross-pollination of ideas helped me to think creatively and generate more robust and effective design concepts. It highlighted the importance of looking beyond my immediate domain to foster innovation and drive meaningful user experiences.

Thank you to my own "city pup" Disco for providing important stakeholder insights and modeling for this project

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