• Time
  • Sep.1 2017 - Dec.1 2017
  • Team
  • Darren Chang, Rich Down, Hope Ideowa, Zheru Jiang, Lindsay Kelly
  • My Role
  • UX Designer, Visual Designer, Interaction Designer, UX Researcher.
  • Brief
  • Happy path aims to serve urban dog owners who work and/or study full time. Our app enables users to make informed decisions while finding the destination for walking and entertaining their dogs. Users can avoid unwanted interaction, obtain and share information with others through crowd sourcing features and thus, have a happy-path journey.
  • View Design outcomes →
  • Try interactive prototype →
  • Watch Case Demo Video →
Meet Urban Dog Owners

More than 70 percent of dog or cat owners living in urban areas agree their pet sometimes has anxiety/stress issues. The corresponding rate from suburban dog owners is only 55 percent.

What problems do they have?

In order to discover themes of problems, we conducted 12 semi-structured interviews in the city of Atlanta. We chose two separate interview locations that they frequent: a central park (Piedmont Park), and a residential area (Trace Apartments).

We uncovered that there were 3 main pain points that were consistent across all 12 participants. In order to further narrow our scope and user group, we decided to conduct an online survey that focused on understanding two of these pain points: walking/exercising dogs and keeping dog's training status consistent(undisturbed).

Through an hour long affinity mapping session, we analyzed the 30 survey responses that were collected, and outlined our user problems/goals/needs.

Ultimately we narrowed our problem space down to one single issue: Dog owners find it difficult to walk/exercise their dogs and keeping dogs under consistent training status, due to interference from people and dogs who are not aware of the current trainning, nor of the dog's temperament.

Picture the story
Design objectives

Our goal is to help urban dog owners enjoy taking their dogs out while maintaining consistent training status. This involves:

Help the dog owners choose destinations to go without negative interference
Communicate with others (other dog owners, non-dog owners) about how to interact with their dogs.
Initial ideas

To arrive at our design alternatives, we did a combination of individual and group brainstorming. By the end of session we came up with a broad range of 20 + creative, divergent ideas.

How did we land on Happy Path?

We decided that we need more expert opinions before we commit to any of the ideas. So we set up counsult meetings with people who are either dog owners or who have significant experience designing products for dogs.

Interaction Design
Design Iterations

With our interaction flow hammered out, I started to create the wireframe mock ups.

We shared our wireframes with 7 experts and conducted heuristic evaluations with them. We recorded their feedbacks along the way and held discussions about potential improvements. I maped the issues to our user interface and sorted them by priority.

Next, I created high fidelity user interfaces and incorporated the user feedbacks to our new design.
TOOL: Sketch, Principle

Because many users mentioned they would like to use the "Happy Path" features on the navigation app that they already use. That led us to a second version of "Happy Path"-a google map plugin.


We conducted 5 in-context usability benchmarkings and 4 preference tests(in lab environment) with dog owners in the Atlanta city.
We employed preference tests prior to usability benchmarking as a way to help us identify which version of happy path is favored and to be tested in the usability benchmarking.
The preference test also served as a pilot study for our evaluation plan. Through the test results we were abole to identify and modify several flaws in our benchmarking tasks.

Our preference test indicated more users prefer to use happy path on google map, so we conducted usability benchmarkings with the google map plugin version. We received positive feedbacks, the success rate for all tasks were 100%, which partially benifited from the tooltips we added in the begining. We asked test subjects to fill out a standard SUS form after they finished all tasks, the overall SUS score was 77.5, which we interpreted as above average usability.


Based on the evaluation feedbacks, I made a few modifications to address the issues occurred in our preference tests and usability benchmarking.

Final Prototype

Try Happy path on google map by yourself!

Case Demo Video