PROJECT OVERVIEW is a not-for-profit technology company developing a mobile application to advance animal fostering and adoptions. Using their two sided technology platform, gets animals out of shelters and into peoples’ houses, creating a virtual network of foster homes. aims to save the lives of the approximate 2.7 million animals that are euthanized every year in the United States. 

The project consisted two mobile apps that optimized the registration process for shelters, streamlined the search process for adopters and embraced a seven day fostering plan between the two. 

Roles: Research, Strategy, User Interface (UI), Visual Design
Team: Shaun Conway, Ben Pedrosa
Deliverable: Detailed Wireframes
Tools: Sketch, Photoshop,, Marvel, Flinto, Sharpie & paper



Research drives design. Understanding who’s in the market, what their interests and goals are, and where users encounter pain points, are the first steps in crafting a new product. I needed to understand the adoption ecosystem.




I first Interviewed the founder of Fuppy to get a good understanding of the company's vision. Getting out of the studio I was able to interview shelter employees as well as potential and past pet adopters.



An in-depth look at the competitors in the market including their products and the shelters' animal management systems (AMS). This gave great insight to who was doing what in the market. 


While hitting the pavement, I also had a survey running. With such a potentially large target user base, I wanted to receive as much information about the users process I could. 

"From my interviews with users, I quickly found that a positive outcome, such as adopting a great family pet, nullified the pain points a user felt while going through the process. "


It's a complex system of independent and government funded entities working on little budget and relying on many different factors including third party interactions. That's where Petfinder comes in. Nearly all shelters list their animals through their AMS and upload to Petfinder. Third party apps use Petfinder's free service to connect and search their database. To go around Petfinder, clean up the registration process and optimize listings, Fuppy would need to build an enterprise application that competes in the AMS marketplace. 

Since I did a competitive analysis on this, we already knew that the competitive landscape for AMS' was saturated. Entering that marketplace also bears high costs, long development time and isn't where Fuppy wants be. 


Instead of entering the AMS landscape, I recommended that Fuppy should disrupt the market by changing where they came into play. That sweet spot was in animal registration. Fuppy can use technology to make the registration process easier, consistent and more searchable, adding strong value to the market. A registration app for shelters tied directly to a comprehensive search platform for adopters would change the ecosystem completely, without any additional burden, while producing better results.


Since I am working with both shelters and adopters, I had two unique users to consider. The average shelter employee, I call her Registration Regina, is female and in her early thirties and has worked with shelters for a few years. Ethical Emily, my average foster parent, is also female, in her mid-thirties and wants to "rescue" an animal from a shelter. Each has their own pain points, problems and goals.



Telling Emily's story helps me to empathize with her needs and catch points of interaction I may have missed. In this scenario, Emily's kids want a new puppy and she turns to to foster Max, making sure he is a great fit for her family.




With so many pain points, I made a decision to stop thinking about the problem and start visualizing it. I've learned that when a situation can be visualized, complex problems become easier to understand and solutions present themselves. This proved to be the case as I was able to connect and combine 19 problems and prioritize them into 3 main issues for both sides of the table (literally, i wrote it on a table).



Our team worked in collaborative whiteboard sessions to ideate both shelter and foster apps. Keeping our users needs in our goal was simple: BETTER CONTENT = BETTER SEARCH which leads to MORE FOSTERING and LESS ANIMALS IN SHELTERS.



Getting the design on paper and testing early allows me to see what concepts work and what might not. This step is a significant part of my core ux process. Ink and paper is inexpensive and quick and allows me to make many adjustments to usability before heading into digital wireframes. Using the WOZ technique I put a cardboard iphone in users' hands and to test anticipated actions and long scrolls.

cardboard iphone

User feedback drove multiple iterations before heading to cleaner digital wireframes and conducting usability tests and task analysis'.
View a sample of my remote user testing via



Animal adoption is a serious responsibility, the life of that animal is in your hands. But those cute and furry little creatures are what you really enjoy. To keep Fuppy light and fun I added simple, subtle animations to the interaction.



My user, Emily, doesn't need to sign in or create an account to view animals available for fostering. A quick, "open search" from the main screen results in animal listing within a 25 mile radius of the users current location. Filters are adjusted to create specific searches that match lifestyle qualities, which adjusts the list accordingly. Emily can view, share, save and express interest in an animal right from the pets profile page including making an appointment to meet the desired animal at a local shelter.

Much like using the Uber app, when Emily is signed in and actively fostering an animal their app engagement will change. Upon fostering the animal she receives mobile notifications and in app alerts, prompting her to share her experiences with photos, reviews, check-ins and real life meet-ups with the Fuppy community. 


Inspired by the freedom the animals feel leaving the shelters and finding homes, I based the visual design of the apps on an open field of green grass, bright blue skies, and shades of fluffy animal fur to create a clean, vibrant look and feel.


Each app has its own set of features to help our users' optimize their time, get better results, and have fun using it. Please note that the prototypes are currently built for specific task analysis and not full working applications.

FOSTER MOBILE APP  > view the prototype
Designed to help people and pets find their perfect match through powerful search, engaging in a seven day fostering period, and creating a virtual network of foster homes. 

Quick results -Quick local results for members and non members.

Filtered content integration -Filters designed to read optimized copy from the shelters provides better pet to people matching.

Sharing the adventure -Robust member pages that allow fosters to socially share their adventures with their new family member.

Community minded -Strong community that offers information and support for new and experienced pet fosters.


SHELTER CAMERA APP  > prototype coming soon
Quick and easy-to-use, the shelter side app allows to pull from a consistent content data-entry experience for animal registration.

Quick registration -Selections that require little time during registration and provide consistent details and characteristics of each new animal.

Optimized content -Auto generated breed information that is optimized to provide better search results through the Fuppy .org's fostering app.


As always at the end of a project I like to include ideas that we came up with but maybe weren't feasible at the current state. Out of scope or out of budget, these ideas could have big impact and could be considered as next steps. They are far from worked out at this point but good starting points.



It sounds futuristic and almost crazy doesn't it? It is in fact a real thing currently being tested (as of June 2016) to recognize an animal breed by using your mobile phone. This feature would prevent discrepancies in the registration process and allow users to learn about the breed of a dog they might not know. The two combined would make finding that perfect match even easier.



Why search for a pet when's concierge can search listings and find the perfect pet for you? As we enter the time of bot's we could implement one to search and find your perfect match. Adjust your filters and let the personalized components do their work. Then again, we wouldn't have so much fun looking through all those cute, funny pictures of animals either.

Like what you've seen? If you want to know more about my work or discuss project/job opportunities email me at: marcwilczak [at] or view my resume