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5-day design sprint case study for a pet adoption platform for city dwellers


CityPups wants to help people in cities find the perfect dog to adopt. They’ve brought me on to quickly craft a solution for their Minimum Viable Product by running a Design Sprint: a 5-day process to determine the problem, explore solutions, prototype a solution, and test out the prototype with the target market.


CityPups testing and research shows that adopting dogs in cities is a stressful process because of the unique challenges like small spaces and normally adopting virtually before being able to meet the pet in person.


A mobile application that integrates an in-depth quiz to match city dwellers with animals that meet their preferences, interactive videos and photos, and an option to book a video chat with the pet before adopting.

My Role

💻 Lead UX Designer 💬 Usability Testing 🤳 Onboarding

🎨 UI Design ✏️ Sketching Concepts 📱 Prototyping


Day 1: Understand and Map

The first day I reviewing the challenges that city dwellers currently have when searching for a pet based on CityPups’ findings. After going through their research, my key findings were:

  1. the personality of the animals is difficult to convey digitally

  2. key habits, training, and characteristics are not always displayed and is one of the most important things for prospective pet owners

  3. there are considerable cost variances based on if the animal has to be transported on a flight or is just a few miles away. The cost is not normally displayed up front and can be a turn off for prospective pet owners

From that information, I mapped what the user experience might look like:

Day 2: Solution Sketches

Day 2 was dedicated to sketching and researching solutions. I wanted to find the best way to solve my key findings from Day 1.

I spent time researching competitor products, conducting lightning demos, and using the Crazy 8s method to end up at the best solution possible. Comparing similar sites, I saw the importance of nailing down the user’s preferences during onboarding and showcasing high quality photos. Finally, I created a solution sketch of critical screens to end the day, fusing together my work from this day and the findings from Day 1.

Competitor Research Inspiration

Crazy 8 Sketches

Day 3: Decide and Create a Storyboard

Deciding on the best solution for CityPup’s key problems was the focus for Day 3. To elaborate:

  • Including videos to showcase the animals' personalities and create a connection with the user is a way to bring an in person shelter or pet store experience to life digitally

  • Including a way to schedule a virtual meeting with the pet is a way to 'meet' pets that might be on the other side of the country before adopting

  • Asking the user about the most important characteristics they are looking for in their adoption is key in pairing them up with a pet that is the best fit for them and the animal

Day 4: Prototype Solution

I threw together a quick prototype of the solution to get in front of the target market for testing quickly. The prototype of critical screens was created in Figma. I wanted to create a 'to the point' prototype so test users could focus on the essential flow and idea behind this solution.

My goals for testing were to answer the following questions:

  • Do users resonate with the the onboarding quiz?

  • Does the onboarding quiz check all the boxes they are looking for when searching for a pet to adopt?

  • Does the pet profile cover all the key questions?

Day 5: Test and Validate

The final day was spent interviewing target users of CityPups. Through testing, I found out key information about the core solution concept. Hearing first hand from users the specific things they look for in a pet helped me refine the onboarding quiz process to help craft a feed of pets that are the best fit for the user. Ultimately, reflecting on their past pet adoption hurdles and their feedback on what they want to know about pets was very helpful to expand the concept which was then woven into the final prototype design below.

Reflections and Further Iterating

This sprint was a great way to iterate quickly and test out a solution. The time constraint forced me to hone in on what was most important: helping pets and pet owners find their new best friends.

Looking at the project as a whole, my results suggest that users resonate with an app that includes videos of pets and a way to video chat with potential pets. Users valued the display of characteristics, habits, and medical history to make sure the pet was a fit.

In my final iteration of the app, I made sure to make tweaks based on my user testing. Most of my tweaks were centered around creating a more intuitive design that was hyper targeted toward the key consumer persona. I would be interested to test this version with users as well and get feedback on the user onboarding quiz changes.

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