Senior Capstone Project
Petsonality is an interactive website that provides people a way to discover what pet type best suits them, considering factors such as personality, activity, time commitments, living situation, and finance. A more detailed walkthrough of the process of creating Petsonality is available here, and the website itself is live here. Both websites were coded from scratch.
In the beginning, desk research and interviews were conducted around the relationship between emotional support pets and their owners with particular interest in the bond. I originally hypothesized there was something more special with their bond than others. I interviewed Mallory Martin with her emotional support cats and Syndey Morlock with her emotional support hedgehog.
I then expanded my research was then expanded to include the relationships with service and regular pet owners so I could make comparisons and really see if there was something more with emotional support pets and their owners. This link goes to a spreadsheet containing the results from this research expansion. I received a wide variety of results from people with animals like horses, fish, birds, rabbits, and many more.
As this research was compared and assessed, I found that many of the emotions and experiences were the same, if not very similar, regardless of whether the pet was regular, emotional support, or service.
Respondents also show overwhelming agreement that animals offer a companionship that humans can't offer, and that most people could emotionally benefit from owning a pet.
The next step was to pick a medium. It needed to be something most everyone has access to and is free. I decided upon a website since most people have internet access and a device with which to navigate to a webpage. I considered an app, but that would be OS-exclusive and cuts out people without smartphones.
The next question was how to let people know what type of pet was best for them. The solution I arrived at was to create an interactive quiz that would allow people to get a result tailored to the inputs they made.
I then proceeded to mindmap everything this website and quiz would need to contain. I considered who would navigate here, what concerns they might have, what they would be looking to learn, and what tools they would need to have. I then composed a spreadsheet containing all the proposed questions, which can be found here. In this quiz, each response a user makes changes the path they are on in receiving their personalized result. Ideally, this quiz will feature all questions in the spreadsheet while utilizing a wide variety of animal types as possible results.
I began to sketch ideas of what the layout of the site would look like, as well as how the quiz would look. I wanted to feature 4 key pages: a home page with the quiz, a petfolio page that allows the user to read about any of the site's animals, an about page, and the animal pages themselves.
I began coding a possible solution, but found that it failed to look like contemporary web design and that it lacked a certain personality. It also was much too text heavy; I feared I would lose users if they were tasked with the chore of heavy reading. I scratched this layout and began to rethink for one that utilized more screen realty to be visually engaging.
The final, live version I have up features 3 main pages: the home, about, and petfolio page which links users to info pages of different pet types.
The home page navigates users to the interactive quiz which guides users to their pet result on a page detailing care inputs, therapeutic benefits, testimonies from my interview process, additional care resources, and an embedded google map that shows users pet adoption locations near them if they are interested in visiting some real pets.
If a user is not content with the pet result they got, they do not need to retake the quiz to get another result. Instead, they simply navigate to the petfolio page to view icons that link to the different pages of all the pet results Petsonality has to offer. Currently, the site features 6 unique pets, but the ideal version is planned to have around 20.
Finally, the about page details the site’s intent and purpose.
Petsonality debuted its exhibition on April 12th, 2019 during the opening reception of the 2019 Design Senior Capstone exhibition show, Future Tense.
The design of the Petsonality exhibit is made to show visitors how the site visually looks and how it works. The exhibit starts with the silhouette of a person to designate that it all begins with the individual. Beside this silhouette is a blurb about what Petsonality is and what it aims to accomplish. A dotted line extends from the human silhouette, branching off at key moments in the site’s interactive quiz that lead to various animal type silhouettes. The purpose of these silhouettes and dotted line is to reflect the way the interactive quiz on the Petsonality site operates. Above this visual navigation exists a screen that scrolls through the pages of the website. Finally at the far end of the exhibit is an interactive moment where people who already have pets can write about their relationships with those pets and deposit their responses in a basket. At eye-level are photos and quotes from my interview process about the relationships various interviewees had with their pets.