UX Research & Design
This project was a two-week design sprint for a graduate class that revolved around the problem of cat homelessness. I was tasked with thinking of a mobile application that could address a problem in our area.
When the polar vortex came through Chicago during the Winter of 2019, wind chill temperatures plummeted to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. I looked online for ways to immediately and directly help area cats outside in the extreme cold. I eventually found a Facebook group who needed resources for building shelters that required me to reactivate my account to help. I wondered if there was a better way to connect people looking to contribute to the well-being of community cats both during crises like this or normally throughout the year.
Cat City explores how users can help, get to know, and coexist with cats in our city streets.
Before considering any specific solution, I began researching the problems community cats face in our cities. Here's what I found:
Next, I identified some areas where an app like Cat City could help with this mission. Here are a few features that could be useful:
To ensure I was heading in the right direction with the problem of cat homelessness, I interviewed a leading member of the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC). They had experience with cat welfare and a valuable, logistical perspective about how Chicago operates. Some insights from the interview:
Insights from the interview with the CACC influenced the direction of the prototype. Cat advocates (cat community leaders) were considered to be the primary user group. iOS Mobile Design Patterns were applied to the prototype.
While the Cat City project was planned to be a two-week exercise, the importance of the mission has motivated me to continue working with local cat community advocates and shelters to learn more about the problem. Here are some next steps: