ReHome: A Research Case Study Nikki Bohorquez

ReHome is an app connecting current pet owners who need to find a new home for their cat or dog with people in the area who are interested in adopting a pet

Defining Research Objectives

"Why are we doing this research?"

Setting up and defining objectives for the research allowed the team to get on the same page and have a clear, focused vision. This enabled us to stay on track throughout the project.

Our main user goals in this project were:

  • Exploring user's needs and behaviors
  • Uncovering trends or patterns within the industry and our users
  • Define user goals
  • Construct an MVP based on user goals
  • Test out low fidelity prototypes

These goals set up a framework and helped us make choices about how we were going to conduct our research.

What are we measuring?

We started off testing the concept of ReHome through one-on-one interviews with 17 participants, which gave us strong qualitative data

The qualitative data we gathered was able to inform us about what users might believe are useful features of a product. It also informed the goals users would want to accomplish with this type of an app, as well as how they would go about achieving those goals. This helped us develop the MVP and our user personas.

1:1 Interview Quotes

"I want to be able to search for dogs in my area and filter through different sizes, breeds, colors, and levels of activity to make sure the fit is perfect before going to see a dog. I would like to see a profile for the dog and not something depressing like they have on other apps."

"I am looking for a new cat, but I have a hard time going to shelters - they make me feel very sad. I wish there was a way to schedule a home visit for me to meet the cat and make sure it was a right fit for my home."

"I would want a safe and effective way to rehome my cat. I wouldn't want to bring him to a shelter or post on Craigslist because they wouldn't make me feel comfortable. I would want to know where my pet went and meet the potential owners."

"Our baby was allergic to our dog, so we needed a fast and simple way to make sure our dog could go to a safe home, but it was very difficult. We felt terrible about just giving our dog up, it was like a grieving process. We ended up giving him to a vet's friend, but we were lucky and it took months."

"If there was an easy way to browse animals in need in my area, I would much rather help them than buy one from a store, but all the apps are difficult to navigate and have way too much information in a wall of text. I will find a cat or dog and then realize it is 60 miles away. I also find cats and dogs I like but once I close the app, I can't find them anymore."

Through these interviews, we came up with four user goals, which became our MVP, and helped us generate two user personas: 'the rehomer' and 'the adopter'

  1. Easily scheduling home visits to meet animals for the adopter and a way for 'rehomers' to meet potential new parents
  2. Browsing pets that are in need of new homes in the user's area
  3. Flexibility when searching for a pet through filters for physical and behavioral characteristics, resulting in simple yet informational profiles
  4. Being able to easily generate a pet's profile on an app that allows potential adopters in the area to search for it and connect through the app

With this information, we created a prototype of the MVP. We tested with 25 participants to validate if we were on the right track, or if we needed to pivot. We also continued on to conduct A/B testing on two separate prototypes

Prototype Testing

We used several different methods to measure effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction

  • Time on task
  • Task success (binary)
  • Satisfaction via the SUS
  • Think out-loud protocol

We asked users to complete several basic tasks such as, "how would you search for a pet?", "if you wanted to filter search results, what would you do?", "view a pet's profile", "set up a profile for a pet."

We timed each task and compared it to the 'ideal time' we set before the testing process began. We then measured whether the user succeeded or failed the task and followed up with the SUS to measure overall satisfaction. Users were encouraged to think out-loud during the process and qualitative notes were recorded to gain further insight.

Sample Prototype Screens

Who were the participants?

A sample of 24 women and 18 men (n=42) were tested for this study. Participants received a small compensation for their participant. Ages ranged from 22 to 67 years (M=30.39). Ethnicity breakdown included: 78% Caucasian, 12% African American, 10% Asian/Asian American. Interviews and prototype testing were conducted either at Starbucks or Washington Square/Leroy Dog Park.

Analysis

After running the test, I analyzed and synthesized the data into three separate categories

  1. What was observed?
  2. What are the cause of any problems?
  3. What are some solutions or recommendations based on the data?

What was observed

Task success

Users had a 100% success rate on each of the 7 tasks we asked them to complete, which meant users were able to fully complete the tasks from beginning to end. They understood the iconography and the flow was intuitive for them.

Time on Task

We recorded the user's time on each of the 7 tasks in order to gain a deeper understanding of how efficient they were.

Although all participants were able to successfully complete the tasks, looking at their time on each task gave us greater insights. We were able to see that only 68% of users were able to view their own profile in an efficient time and only 32% of users were able to view favorite pets under the ideal threshold. This indicated that there was something confusing the user at these steps.

Average SUS scores indicated that most users satisfaction scores were in the good to excellent range, indicating a high level of overall satisfaction from users.

Identifying the cause of problems

For this test, we wanted to focus on the top two problems users encountered, which included viewing a profile and viewing favorite pets

Users were encouraged to think out-loud during the prototype testing process, so using some qualitative notes and the quantitative data, we were able to uncover some of the underlying issues. With the exception of the first task, all users started each task from the 'find pets' screen.

When asked to view their profile, users were unsure exactly where to go because they were confused between their personal profile and their pet's profile. Since there are two separate users, 'the rehomer' and 'the adopter,' the rehomers found this more difficult because they thought their profile was their pet's profile. The iconography and language on the navigation was also unclear, leading to additional difficulty.

When asked to find where their favorited pets would be located, users were very confused. It was easy for them to favorite a pet, but they weren't sure where the list then populated. Some users went to a pet's profile to see if that would take them anywhere while others just stayed on the 'find pets' screen thinking about it. Eventually users made their way to their profile, and found the tab named 'favorites.' This issue might be intertwined with the user's difficulty in understanding and finding their own profile.

Solutions & recommendations

Overall, our research showed that we are moving in the right direction in creating an app to help owners and their pets through the stressful rehoming process. We were able to meet our research objectives and gathered user needs, goals, behaviors, and trends.

We further investigated these findings through 1:1 interviews and prototype testing. We ran into two problems: 'finding their profile' and 'finding their favorites.'

We recommended a redesign of the profile icon be put in the navigation bar with simple language stating 'my profile.' This would indicate to users where to easily find their specific profile, which would also lead them to their favorites. In addition, if users were still struggling in finding favorites, we suggested a pop up once a user favorited their first animal, indicating where to find their favorites list.

These new ideas and designs were A/B tested and the results were compared with the previous. There was exponential growth in both task 5 and task 7, indicating a much more intuitive and user-centric flow/design. All other results didn't significantly change.

ReHome continues to grow and iterate through research.

Thank you so much for reading!

Questions, comments: hello@nikkibohorquez.com

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Nikki Bohorquez
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