Google Design Challenge

Millions of animals are currently in shelters and foster homes awaiting adoption. Design an experience that will help connect people looking for a new pet with the right companion for them. Help an adopter find a pet which matches their lifestyle, considering factors including breed, gender, age, temperament, and health status. Provide a high-level flow and supporting wire frames.

What is the product?

Google Spot

Google Spot is a chatbot created on API.AI which can lead a user through a series of questions to recommend the perfect pet. Next, Spot can help locate animals available locally.

Google Spot Case Study

Here's a breakdown of what you will see on this page.

Google Spot's Story

What was my approach?

I approached this project in an agile way. My friend Mark was already looking for a cat, so he helped ground the project with a persona.

Persona

Mark is looking for a cat to adopt from the local shelter. He's frustrated by the inefficiency of the shelter's websites. He wants a cat that is both striking and healthy. Often he will show up to adopt a cat, but it will have already been euthanized. He wishes he could know how much time is left per animal.

Technical Requirements

• Get notified when animals become available "It seems like there is always the same cat available"
• Animals need an expire date. "Sometimes I show up and they're gone."
• Clearly identify "bonded" animals. Bonded animals are tied to another animal for adoption.

What was the project timeline?

Why have a design process?


Why take on this project?

Each project I design offers distinctly different learning opportunities. This project helped me broaden my understanding of the current state of machine learning and predictive technology at Google.

What did I like most about this project?

I don't often get to create characters and a complete story arc in my daily design process. This was really fun to create from start to finish.

What were some challenges?

I didn't have any white boards, but I needed room to think. I converted my living room window into my war room.

Design Process Stages

This project required spending a fair bit of time on the front end of this project to understand pet adoption systems, pet surveys, the future of messaging and UX guidelines for chatbots. If this project were to continue, I would like to do more research on national pet database infrastructure.

Breakdown of existing pet questionaires
Qualitative research on adoption & euthanization
Qualitative research on messaging apps
Qualitative research on Chatbot best practices
Working Wall
Persona interview
Character design from origami pets

Persona to Pixel: A Path For Growth

Working with Mark made me realize that people who want to adopt from animal shelters find it to be a real struggle. Our conversations connected me with the longing that searchers have to find a friend, and also with the disappointment experienced when an animal was missed by only a day.

"Empathy is about standing in someone else's shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place." David H. Pink

Takeaways

Messaging, Now & The Near Future

Most of the world is chatting on a few large messaging apps. Reaching these people through these apps has become a huge potential for business to customer sales and growth.

Chatbots Scale Amazingly

It's important to keep chatbots secure, simple and focused in the beginning, but technology is advancing at a rate that makes them more practical. A single chatbot can handle thousands of users and provides a new point of contact for sales.

A Move Towards Non-human Interactions

"By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human." – gartner.com

API.AI offers flexibility

A chatbot can be surfaced through the Google Assistant, in Allo, and Facebook messenger. Utilizing Facebook allows an adoption agency to include the chatbot on their corporate Facebook page, personalizing the experience even more.

Chatbots Take Surveys To The Next Level

Removing the interface of a survey and offering a conversation simplifies the process while offering flexibility to learn and grow from the customer.

Existing Adoption Websites Need Help

It's difficult to know when new pets arrive. It's not clear when pets will be put down. There is a clear opportunity to provide a platform that connects a pet to a potential owner.

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Bob Werner

As a systems thinker, I love breaking down complex problems into elegant design solutions

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