A long-standing pain-point for dog owners, dog park information has always been very difficult to find. Personally running into this issue for years, lead me to look into the best products out there addressing this problem. Which, unfortunately, turned out to not really be so great, after all. Following thorough research and an analysis of market need and viability, I finally decided that if I wanted a solution, I was going to have to create it myself.
Everything but development
Conducting this survey with dog owners outlined what type of information is being looked for when trying to find a dog park. It also identified numerous pain–points; primarily being incorrect, unvalidated, and simply, lack of information. Through current methods of research, dog owners are frustrated with the amount of effort they’re putting into locating any viable details.
Testing on a full-feature low-fidelity prototype, validated, some of the more advanced functionality pieces that I had in mind. In meeting with the development team we were able to outline a feasible scope for the MVP version of Park Bark. Testing the MVP prototype confirmed that the core feature set was enough to go to market with. The iterative testing with UserBob and prototyping on over 50 users allowed me to make significant improvements to the experience before development kick-off.
The core problem with dog park information is that it’s incredibly difficult to locate. So who better to provide those details than the dog park visitors themselves? Because providing accurate and current park details is the fundamental value of Park Bark, there was a lot of thought put into making information input a delightful and enjoyable experience so that users would want to provide as much as possible.
The launching of Park Bark on April 25th, 2017 in Washington and Oregon was very successful. It included local news coverage from KGW and a morning spot on KXL radio which resulted in hundreds of downloads. Now that the waters have settled, the main focus is to continually add more park information along with strategizing on a stronger user engagement. Enhanced features and more parks to come very soon.