Simplifying the pet adoption process.


Every year, of the 6.5 million companion animals that enter US animal shelters, 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized. GetPet wants to change this by partnering with shelters all over the country, and eventually worldwide. They want to create a platform that allows people to see all the available pets in any shelter close to them. GetPet needs assistance with designing a responsive website that covers core functionality: search for pets, information about specific pets, and information about how to adopt from GetPet’s partnered shelters. GetPet also needs branding to connect with its users.

Executive Summary

Plan’d is a platform that allows prospective pet owners to easily discover pets available for adoption. Pets can be searched specifically by traits. A pet quiz feature also matches pet owners with suitable pets to their preferences. Furthermore, GetPet simplifies the adoption form filling process by making it available through the platform.

My Role

Solo UX Designer for a personal project. End-to-end creation of an MVP. Includes research, information architecture, interaction design , UI design, and iterative prototyping.


Learning about the competitive landscape

Since I was completely new to the pet adoption field, researching these competitors offered insights into the brands and messaging that best resonate with potential users. I also explored different features that made each site unique, and brought more value to their platform's experience.

My competitive analysis included these organizations:

  • Animal Humane Society
  • Adopt A Pet
  • PetFinder
  • Wayfair (Indirect competitor)

8/13 have fostered pets before.

7/13 have volunteered at an animal shelter or a similar organization before.

9/13 have adopted more than 1 pet in their lifetime.

Next, I reached out to 13 people who own pets to take my pre-survey. This pre-survey served as a starting point of directly understanding how users were involved with the pet adoption process.

From these survey results alone, I believe it would be safe to say that the demographic of GetPet is compassionate and will go out of their way to help animals in need. This would be confirmed again in user interviews, and I would make certain that GetPet reaffirmed the same messaging.

Of the 13 survey respondents, I chose to interview 6 participants who had all recently adopted within the past year. These semi-structured interview sessions were conducted online.

Research Goals

  1. Understand the user journey and processes when adopting a pet.
  2. Discover the typical user flow from thinking about adoption to bringing a pet home.
  3. Identify the messaging and mission that would resonate best with users.
  4. Determine how users would feel about the ability to search for pets beyond their region.
  5. Determine which services users would expect from GetPet beyond pet adoption.

Aligning Getpet's messaging with our user's expectations

After debriefing 6 user interviews, I summarized my findings into a user persona, Rachel Lane. Our user persona was compassionate toward animal welfare causes, and it was important that GetPet resonated the same feelings throughout its service.

Information Architecture

Making pets easy to find

Since GetPet would be a completely new website, I created a sitemap to organize and highlight the most important information that users would want to see when visiting GetPet. This served as a guide for where to present relevant information as users navigated through the site towards their goal of adopting a pet.

Taking care of users from start to finish: From searching for a pet online to meeting a pet in person

I also created a user flow scenario to go along with the sitemap. Since almost all pet adoption’s final steps end with an in person meeting with the pet, adding clear sections for service design painted a better picture of where the site’s flow would transition into an offline process. Thinking through all of the interactions a user would have to go through made it much easier when developing the initial lo-fi prototype.


Starting with several versions of sketches of how the home page would look, I narrowed down on a format that I thought would best highlight information for my user persona. I created numerous lo-fi wireframes for a prototype. I tested out this prototype with 5 usability testing participants. View lo-fi prototype

I debriefed my usability testing notes into an affinity map to prioritize key findings into the hi-fi mockup.

Key Findings translate to Design Features

More pet stats are useful
While a pet's personal story helps users make a better determination on which pet to adopt, more information about the pet's logistical qualities like for example “litter-trained” or "vaccinated" is important to know.

Prospective pet owners care about a pet organization’s mission
Prospective pet owners want to know that the shelters they are adopting from also hold animal welfare in high regard.

Each action should clearly lead the user to next steps
Not clearly stating what next steps would be led some participants to become confused. The same goes for buttons with CTA copy that lead to pages with different heading copy.

Making My Pet Quiz more fun and descriptive
My Pet Quiz was included as a feature as a means of better connecting owners with the specific pet they're looking for. From usability testing, it seems that adding images throughout the Pet Quiz would introduce not only a playful tone to this feature, but also provide more context.

Branding and UI Design

Creating an aesthetic pet owners would love

I also designed a UI kit aesthetic to go with the hi-fi prototype. Since developing GetPet’s branding was one of the goals for this project, I designed a UI kit aesthetic that would evoke approachable, fun, and gentle feelings toward this brand.

Hi-fi Mockups

I combined what I learned from my lo-fi prototype along with my UI kit to create several hi-fi mockups.

Wrap Up


  1. Treat interviews as a conversation, and not an interrogation. When interview participants feel more open, they are much more open to sharing their experiences, especially if it’s a personal one. Furthermore, after an interview is concluded, sometimes participants loosen up a little more and may even discuss possible solutions to the problem that the app addresses.
  2. Studying indirect competitors, which in this case would be Wayfair, offers a fresh perspective on how to incorporate crossover features. For example, search filters that include a color choice preview makes it easier for users to make decisions.
  3. Providing comprehensive copy that offers value on one page, and delivers on that value on the following page is key to creating a clear journey for the user.

Next Steps

While GetPet focused on the prospective pet owner’s user experience, this app also needs to build out useful tools that animal shelters would be comfortable using to list their pets online. Designing for the animal shelter worker user persona would be a critical step in the success of this product.

If this were to go live, I would love to see the rate of adoptions that come as a result of using GetPet, especially in regards to the pets that get chosen from the Pet Quiz. Another big point that animal organizations like to make is their attention toward keeping euthanization rates as low as possible by adopting out pets in crowded high kill shelters. It’s important for GetPet to also monitor this metric as a means of determining the impact their organization is truly making for pet welfare.