Petnewz came to me wanting to solve a long-standing problem for pet owners everywhere. Together we aimed to create a service that showcased all things pet related. The discovery phase was a rapid effort that allowed me to review the competitor landscape, understand the client’s vision, and begin research into user needs, behaviours and pain‐points.
Our persona hypothesis consisted of three different archetypes which we used to facilitate discussions about our users needs, desires and sufficient varying contexts of use. Although our initial discussions were focused on developing a better functioning product than the client’s competitors, I stressed that focusing solely on the sites feature set was neither strategic nor had the best interest of the sites users at heart.
To differentiate ourselves in an already mature and competitive market, we needed to define a desirable role for the site and how it would meet the needs of the target users. I was elated to focus on creating something more meaningful.
Our goals served as a lens through which we could consider not only what the site should do, but also how it should feel. We believed this would be the difference between delivering a good experience and a great one. Thinking about emotional design early on helped define the importance of aesthetics and tone of voice to the experience.
To correctly communicate the personality of the brand to the team, I developed a set of experience principles. These were used to sense‐check design decisions, articulate core values and describe key attributes the site experience should uphold for both the users and the brand. The principles were used constantly to drive the aesthetic, feel and overall tonal direction of the website.