Evgenii Khomutov
PetsHouse – mobile application for automatic animal feeder
Role Product designer
Platform iOS
Year 2022
Product A mobile application for automatic pet feeder that allows the pet owner to feel close to the pet and know maximum information about it, even if it is far away. In the app, the Owner can customize meal plans, track each meal, see the pet via webcam, and see monthly nutrition reports.
Context People are traveling more and more and the need to take care of pets on their vacations is increasing, but there is no decent solution on the market on how to feed pets. I was approached by a company with an idea to create their own feeder, so my task was to create a mobile app for the feeder and think through all the functionality that a physical feeder should have.
Research First of all, I analyzed the solutions that are already on the market. I tried to understand their pros and cons. I've been downloading apps and researching them, reading user reviews and talking to some of them, trying to learn more about their current experiences. Here are some of my findings:
This exercise helped me understand 2 simple things: Existing solutions are severely limited in the flexibility to customize the feeding schedule; Most of the apps are hard to figure out and customize it to your liking.
Then I conducted a series of interviews with pet owners to find out how their pets now. How often do they feed them? What do they do when they have to go away and the animal stays at home?
I also talked to people who use other companies' feeders and found out from them what they like about the apps and what they miss. A few insights that came to me after conducting the interview: Often, pet owners leave food in reserve, causing pets to sometimes overeat; Owners without a lot of friends find it difficult to leave their pet with anyone; Owners miss their pets when they are away from home and would like to be able to see them at least part of the time.
Problem After conducting research, I was able to identify one common problem that all pet owners face: Pet owners don't know how to solve the problem of feeding their pet when they need to go away for a long time.
Ideate solution Based on my research, I decided that in order for our app to help eliminate the users' problem, it should include a functionality that allows the pet owner to feel close to the pet and know as much information about the pet as possible even if they are far away.
Design phase With all the information I’ve had, I made a Value proposition canvas where I pointed out all the stopping Gains, Paints and Customer Jobs that the users of the app might have and for each of them suggested how it could be solved. So I have solutions to many of the difficulties that users have had and may have in using the app.
After that, I prepared a functional map of the application. This gave me an understanding of how the application would be organized and helped me to correctly classify the functionality within the application.
Once I had a clear idea of the structure of the app and its functionality, creating sketches was easy. When creating initial sketches, it's always a good idea to focus on quantity, so that you can then refine the idea by assembling the best pieces, like Lego blocks.
Final Design To maintain consistency, I developed a UI kit, based on reusable components and states. This allowed me to quickly make changes while building the final design.
Feeder info
On the main screen of the application, the main information about the device is available, a short notification about the condition of the pet and all feedings for today. There is also a button for issuing an additional portion of feed, which does not violate the basic feeding plan.
My pets
You can specify the basic parameters about the pet and based on them, the application will help you choose the right number of meals and feed, depending on the weight and breed of your pet.
Calendar with
feeding statistics
Full statistics of all meals on any given day are available in the app. The monthly calendar immediately shows the days when there were problems, so that you can quickly find them and see what the problem was.
An unlimited number of meal plans can be added to the app. Edit each of them and customize individually.
The key option that is available in the app is an emergency notification of the status of the feeder to another person, in case the owner's phone is unavailable.