Appaws Product Design and Research
Our class was tasked to invent a unique product and create a website based on the product. Being a new pet owner at the time, I found the process of flying with my pet and hidden cost and fees confusing. Therefore, my innovative product was an airline that caters to owners flying with their pet.
Appaws Airlines offers pets the opportunity to fly with their human(s), while offering humans convenience and ease of mind while flying with their pets.
Well accustomed to the pain and worry of traveling with pets, our company works to ensure that a customer and their furry (or sometimes not so furry) friend arrive at their destination safely and worry free.
The overall goals of this project were to:
- Explain how the service works since the idea of flying with your pet next to you is new
- Provide customers an easy way to search, discover, and purchase a travel experience with their pet
- Create customer trust on-site to encourage customers to fly with their pet
This service should excite customers to travel with their pet in a way they may not have experienced before. One of the first impressions a customer should have after utilizing the product is to think, “Wow, that was easy” because Appaws supersedes alternative pet travel options in regards to navigating rules, regulations, costs, and time spent planning. These goals were translated into themes of (1) knowledge, (2) ease, and (3) trust, which were acknowledged through all aspects of the design process.
Questions to guide the design process, and that the users need answered, encompass the themes of knowledge, ease, and trust:
- What is the purpose of Appaws Airlines? [Knowledge]
- How do you fly with your pet utilizing Appaws Airlines? [Knowledge]>
- Is booking a flight for you and your pet easy through Appaws Airlines? [Ease]
- Do you know what is required of you and your pet before boarding your flight? [Knowledge]
- Do you trust Appaws Airlines enough to fly with your pet? [Trust]
Style Guide & Logo
To maintain consistency with the travel experience the tenets crafted for the style guide were to communicate feelings of ease, simplicity, worry-free, and enjoyment. As a result, the typography was chosen for its cleanliness, simplicity, and readability. Primary colors were cool and calming, with fun accents--because flying in a plane with your pet is fun! The imagery had to be bright with muted tones and reflect the customer experience for setting expectations.
The goal of the logo was to be eye-catching and communicate the company quickly. “Paws” is a slightly different color to iterate the connection with a pet, while simply the name “Appaws” can be heard as “applause”. The logo is text only to further iterate simplicity and ease.
Wireframes & Prototype
While there is not a current mental model of how to fly with your pet, there is an existing mental model for how to book a flight. Sites such as Alaska Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, and Southwest informed the preliminary wireframes because customers know how to navigate through them. The focus of the wireframes was on a desktop experience as a quick survey of peers noted that while research is done on a phone, bookings are made a desktop to minimize errors.
The interaction of the prototypes stayed true to the mental model of existing airline sites. However, additional pages answer more logistical questions from pet owners was needed to better inform customers. The final result: a customer flow for booking on desktop consisting of a (1) homepage, (2) flight selections, (3) trip summary, (4) information/payment, and (5) confirmation with an “About Us” page and a “FAQs” page.
To see the first full prototype click here.
A survey was created and sent out to current pet owners that addressed current travel habits, current pet accommodations while travelling, current hypothetical actions needed to fly with a pet, and evaluation of Appaws Airlines site and actions needed to fly with a pet. The survey was completed by eighteen (18) pet owners of both dogs and cats. Questions 1 through 5 address current state potential user behavior, while questions 6 through 8 introduce the potential customer to Appaws Airlines and gauge success of the goals around knowledge, ease, and trust. Most users had an overall understanding of Appaws Airlines being built around flying with pets, however struggled to obtain any more information than that.
For full research findings and potential next steps, click here.
While it was a win that customers had an overall understanding of Appaws Airlines being built around flying with pets, mentions of “luxury” and user concern over cost alluded to the customer thinking about this being a high end, niche service. Moreover, pet owners voiced they would like more logistical details around how Appaws Airlines works and what they need to do.
From the initial prototype, the following changes were made to support the core themes:
- Utilized the homepage to inform customers about the common questions users were asking in question 7, such as pet types, pet health/behavioral requirements, and how it works. As one user called out, “These should not be hidden away in the FAQs”. While imagery was limited at this point, clean vector illustrations to provided a quick visual for users. [Knowledge]
- Information was better presented before customer books, rather than at confirmation. [Ease]
- Show any accreditations that Appaws Airlines has received as well as guidelines/rules of conduct/procedures for the safety of their pets and themselves. [Trust]
There was an additional theme around price/cost. Cost was the top consideration for finding accommodations for pets during vacation. While this played into extra notions around the care and service provided and “luxury” there were also feelings of exclusion. Therefore, an ingress into “deals” was added on the homepage to help alleviate feelings of exclusion.
To see the iterative prototype click here.