Started with some research which helps bring the problems to be solved into focus so that you don't waste time later. I did brief web research for this project (1.5 hours) to better understand pet adoption. I found that most shelters have dogs and cats, and some pets are harder to place. I looked at the format of the animal listings. I found a lot of good information that is already covered on "the right pet" (Animal Planet), "are you ready to adopt?" (Humane Assoc), and "how to adopt" (shelters). With more time, I would interview someone working at a shelter (~3 participants) and someone looking to adopt (~3 participants). When I did this, it just so happened my family had just adopted a 4 month old kitten from a shelter.
Many pets need adoption. A successful adoption requires a match of pet needs and personality with human lifestyle.
Issues to be solved:
The goal-antigoal exercise helps bring into focus what you are building and, more importantly, what you are not building. I decided to focus on cats and dogs at a local level. I thought of the analogy to eHarmony in finding the right match. From here I drew out what I thought the system would be: a database of pet temperament and human lifestyle with an algorithm making matches, and sending them to adopters (and possibly shelters as well). With the diagram and the notion of receiving a list of possible matches, I next made a quick storyboard of Sally and her family meeting some cats in person. Time: about 1 hour.
I started in pencil and made a flow of the experience (mobile phone screen). Time: about 1 hour, not just the sketching, but reviewing what I had learned so far and thinking about it.< Click to view the entire flow (scrolling PDF)
Then I got to digitizing the wireframes: I created this for Android using Material Design. The very first screen is an actual screenshot (Moto X). The second screen I have Photoshopped in "Pet Harmony" as the #1 result. The rest I created in Illustrator utilizing the Google templates. These screens include placeholders for images. The idea for the questionnaire was to make it quite graphic, so that there is a picture of a cat where you are selecting cat. There is a picture of a house versus apt when you are describing where you live. Time: about 3 hours, but I was slowed down because I don't typically use Illustrator for this, and I had to download Roboto, Whiteframes, and Stickersheets to my home PC.
I hope you had as much fun on this journey as I did! Please contact me if you are interested in building this app! In the time since I've posted I've had people show interest in using such an app.