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Tails of Joy


Role: Project Lead / Interaction Design Lead
Deliverables: Agenda, Sketches, Wireframe, High Fidelity Clickable Prototype on Axure, Spec Doc for Hand-off
Tools: Miro, UserZoom, Axure, Google Forms/Sheet/Doc/Slides, Adobe Photoshop
Timeline: 2 Week Sprint

Introduction 🐾

The birth of Tails of Joy

Frankie Kok, an entrepreneur, proposed a brilliant business lead on OpenIdeo introducing Virtual Dog Therapy — in hopes of mitigating social anxiety as we begin to readjust to our post-pandemic lifestyles.

Samira and I took upon the challenge of fleshing out this idea into a realistic clickable prototype. 


Why Support Animals? 🐾

Is there a market for this?

Stanford University's Academic Services (SUAS) have been a part of the game already, as they have been hosting virtual pet events on Zoom for students to interact with them online. 

Some activities include Q&A, training, and simply being in the virtual presence of another animal.

This expected impact revolves around a calmer state of mind during COVID-19 [the pandemic], especially in academics. 
Furthermore, research shows that social interaction with animals lowers the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases the “feel-good” hormone oxytocin (the same hormone bonding mothers to their babies).

This was our perfect opportunity for our team to initiate a platform for a solution.


Research/Empathy 💞

Diverging and converging obtained data

We approached the design processes using the "double diamond" method, starting with research and empathy.
During this phase of development, we sought to understand our target audience and their goal. (What value would Tails of Joy bring onto the virtual industry?) Our demographic revolves around parents, teachers/instructors, and students of all ages. Having this knowledge in mind, we optimized the overall design approach through qualitative and quantitative data of our potential users.

We conducted two rounds of surveys/interviews. The first round consisted of a screening process, where users would input their demographic information as well as their experiences with: 
1) Support Animals
2) Their level of stress in their everyday life

We filtered through our responses and guided qualifying individuals through an interview process where they would be asked about crucial features that are useful in booking an appointment with an Emotional Support Animal.

User Research

Statistics 📊


General Survey Responses

These questions were attuned to our general target audience (parents, teachers, and students of all ages) and their current understanding of Emotional Support Animals.


Youth Survey Responses

(Individuals in 4th-6th Grade)
Questions would revolve around their current mental standing in academics, and how the presence of an animal would help alleviate some of their negative symptoms.


Virtual 1-1 Interviews

On the second (and final) round, our interviewees were questioned on if they believe some features may be useful in a booking website for Emotional Support Animals.

Converging Data: Affinity Mapping & Interviews

As we converged out data through affinity mapping on Miro, we generated some noticeable trends.

Not only did we conclude our surveys with really great insight, but also with positive affirmations on how successful Virtual Animal Therapy can be useful in realistic situations.


"I want to see how this website can benefit the overall health of a human and an animal!"

Interviewee #1

I'd love to have online meetings with an animal! That would definitely alleviate some stress/anxiety no matter who you are!

Interviewee #2

Competitive Analysis 🤔

Are there similar websites in the industry?

We conducted a competitive analysis to assess how the business would stack up against other competitors within the industry. 
Websites were evaluated in relation to Emotional Support Animal Therapy and mental well-being.

Doing so allowed us to formulate successful business methods; as well as some core usability features that can leverage a positive user experience.

Competitive Analysis

Define 💡

Converging our data

After sorting out the collected data, we began working on a specific target audience through a user persona. We then formulated a problem statement and a solution:



During COVID-19, most classes transitioned into a remote operation. Performing academics in a whole different circumstance completely rendered students with stress and anxiety. How might we alleviate some mental strain in students as they return to their normal lifestyles post-pandemic?


Allowing accessible Pet Therapy (Emotional Support Animal) on a regular basis will ease students back into their social environments.


Ideate & Prototype 📝

The design process

We began sketching with a visual goal in mind. We started with 2 sets of sketches based on their level of importance.
Our primary sketches consisted of a Landing Page, an About Page, a Donation Page, and a Form/Contact Page.

We then proceeded to sketch out our secondary sets; a collective Photo Gallery from the community as well as an "animal database" as well as their profiles.


User Flow

User Flow

Validation 💪

Lofi design + user testing

As soon as we had a working prototype on Axure, we dove right into user-testing.
So, we ran 2 separate sets of user testing followed by multiple iterations.

Users were tasked to:

  1. Book an appointment

  2. Successfully donate

  3. Navigate to a specific animal and book with them

Post-test questions revolved around:

  • Some noticeable gestures we witnessed when navigating the website (Our response to the "Thinking-out-loud" method)

  • Difficulties in performing certain tasks

  • Some enjoyable features

One challenge we faced was during the first distribution. Our users didn't quite understand the premise of the website. We believe this was due to a lack of context, some images were blank and text boxes were in Lorem Ipsum.

User Testing

User Testing: Round 2

The second round was conducted via UserZoom; a platform facilitating user testing remotely.
At this point in time our website was polished with new iterations, complete with images and context, however, the tasks at hand stayed the same.

A glitch in the system did not record task results, but every single user passed (thankfully!). As anticipated, users did navigate the website much faster with the newer iterations.
In conclusion, our designs worked.


Iterations 🙌

All in all, our user-testing was quite successful. We took the last few days to finalize the smaller details in our prototype.
We learned so much from this user-testing alone, especially due to the myriad of perspectives.
Not all users navigate the same, which is why versatile functionality is a core concept for a website.


Reflections 👈

Challenges and plans moving forward...

Working on Tails of Joy was such an incredible experience. Developing a business proposal through Agile Design was one of the most challenging yet fun opportunities I've ever had.
Juggling between processes and taking on a sprint-like challenge really pushed me to tie in both the user's and businesses' priorities.
Once we finalize the smaller details, the team is planning to reach out to Frankie Kok for their feedback.




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