Fetch is a mobile app concept developed utilizing Design Thinking and user research to identify a need in my community to develop technology to support it. This was a semester long project for SI 582: Interaction Design taught by Prof. Tawanna Dillahunt at the University of Michigan School of Information.

Fetch leverages the power of social media to improve volunteer recruitment and coordination for animal search and rescue efforts.


Marvel App, Adobe XD


Fall ’19 semester


Sketching, Storyboarding, Personas, Design Synthesis, QOC Analysis, Rapid Iterative Prototyping, User Interviews, Usability Testing

My Role

  • User Research
  • Need Assessment
  • Interaction Designer
  • Usability Testing

the User

My client was my community, and the first thing I needed to do was go out into my community and figure out what they needed.

I started looking through my local news and created a Nextdoor account to see what my neighbors were talking about. From there, I scheduled 1:1 interviews with the goal of better understanding a specific need and how it’s currently being unmet.

Who I met

6 Incredible People

What they do

Engage in animal rescue, volunteer and running animal shelters


Time is of the essence. And real-time coordination is lacking in current technological solutions

Making sense
of it all

My users helped me identify a need, and I conducted a competitive analysis on other products intended to support animal rescue. Furthermore, I sought to design a simply tool that could help people on both sides of the equation, pet owners as well as animal welfare groups.

Key Insights

With these findings, I decided to focus on designing a solution that resulted in actively rescuing the pet and returning them to their owner without ever going to a shelter.

Users need

  • Real-time recruitment
  • Better coordination

Users want

  • More volunteers
  • Focused social media


  • Improved fundraising

The right persona

I synthesized user data into a persona to refer to as an amalgamation of my insights.

Let me introduce you to Heather “the Shelter Volunteer”

Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash
Heather, 32
Vet Tech

Persona Goals:

  • Social media connectivity for sharing/recruiting
  • Wants on-demand critical case prioritization

Persona Needs:

  • 1-click sign in
  • App should draw over other apps

Identifying the Problem

Based on my competitive analysis and user interviews, I devised a problem statement and formulated my initial HMW:

“How might we…” design a system that informs the community in real-time about lost pets, last known whereabouts, and status updates?


I explored several possibilities for how I might approach this problem. I considered on-demand animal rescue employment like DoorDash or Lyft. Deployment, getting rescuers in the best position to spot and communicate. And a pet-centric social media platform.

Ultimately I focused on deployment and incorporated elements of the pet-centric social media.

Questions, Options, Criteria

Synthesizing my research and reconciling it with my design assumptions, I conducted a QOC Design Space analysis to better understand how my interface can best serve user needs.

Image of a chart highlighting how the interface will support user needs.
QOC Design Space Analysis

As I reflected on my role as a designer, I concluded that my design philosophy is the synthesis of two clichés. As an anthropologist I seek to make the world safe for human difference. As a designer, I aspire to improve lives through better design. I was inspired by Swiss industrial designer Yves Behar, who is famous for fusing gotta-have-it design with social responsibility. As he said, “Design needs a new relationship with the world, one that is more focused on our planet’s needs.”

Test Drive

In order to understand how users like Heather might use the app and where my design was coming up short, I created a paper prototype out of sticky notes, uploading the screens to Marvel App so my participants could click through my paper prototype on their phone.

I tested my prototype on 5 users and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. My user base has been making due with Facebook groups and coordinating with SMS group chat. While useful, the reality is that these tools are generic and don’t directly take into consideration the needs of the community I’m designing for.


I produced hi-fidelity designs in Adobe XD using the Navigo UI kit


I wired up the prototype in Adobe XD.


I recruited 5 participants for usability testing.