My role in this project was Product Designer, and I was responsible for creating an MVP that the team could build and go to market with.
How do we make looking for a puppy easy and worry-free while making sure it's a good lifestyle match for the user?
1. Current marketplaces are “shady” with unknown breeders
2. Transactions mainly happen offline
3. Application process varies from breeder to breeder and site to site
4. No buyer protection available (lack of trust)
In order to instill trust in our users, I incorporated a profile page with community-based reviews and an avatar front and center. This profile page also gives breeders the opportunity to express themselves and the ability to tell a story. Think of the last AirBnb you stayed at. Did the story behind the listing give you more insights on the host? The MVP needed to provide breeders the ability to easily create, manage and keep records of all their transactions. So I designed a simple to use CRM-like web application where breeders can manage their profile, transactions, and puppies available.
When it came to designing the UI and the main browsing behavior for customers, I used inspiration from Instagram. Initial user interviews revealed that users relied on high-quality pictures in deciding whether or not the puppy and/or breeder was desirable.
We displayed a matching score on each puppy card to reflect to the lifestyle matching percentage. This was a very important insight we uncovered during user interviews.
Keeping communications within the app helps protect both parties and increases not only user trust but breeders' as well. So I designed a simple chat feature to keep track of all conversations.
Barkd is available on the Apple Store and Google Play with an average 4.6-star user rating. Users love the matching system and ease of use. The ability to favorite and save certain breeders makes it easy to shop and keeping the transaction within Barkd, reduces fear and anxiety when communicating with breeders.
The MVP was a huge success! First round of funding was obtained and initial feedback is extremely positive from both customers and breeders.
If I could have done something different, it would be to create an onboarding experience where we ask lifestyle questions upfront in order to showcase the lifestyle match percentage.