NaturAnimals: My first Ironhack’s solo project.

Our first individual project in Ironhack only had one restriction: we needed to design a tool meant to improve individual wellness.

This restriction, despite being the only one, was also very open: wellness is a broad topic that can contain many activities

Far from making the task easier, this was the hardest problem to overcome for me.The first week of individual project represented a true challenge for many reasons

The first one was that my knowledge areas and personal expertise wasn’t wellness oriented: I came up with many problems that I didn’t want to commit with since I didn’t know them well. I felt confident in my ability to learn about the solutions, but I was afraid that being short on time I would pick a problem that wasn’t real for my users.

Psychology was a topic that I knew in depth, and that could be very useful in a personal wellness project. The problem was that psychology was a topic that I couldn’t work on with limited time: research needed to be way too deep and meticulous when when working with mental health or positive psychology topics, and that wasn’t an option for the fast paced environment of my bootcamp.

I had barely two days to check scientific bibliography, read papers, and do my research on way too expensive topics. On top of that, I needed to interview colectives that wouldn’t be easily accesible.

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El salto del trabajo grupal al individual fue uno de los retos más duros del bootcamp

In the end, and after many hours of being stuck in the same thought processes, I shared my insights with one of my bootcamp buddies, and together we managed to brainstorm a problem for each of us.

At this point, I have to thank Ariadna Rojas for helping me overcome this mental block.

Once I had my problem, I felt more grounded and I could start to face the new problems that this project presented me with.

Every choice was now mine to take, and I couldn’t rely on group processes to find solutions in the same way that I had in last projects. Moving to a purely individual methodology was hard, and the lack of group feedback made it harder to make decisions.

Despite this, sharing a common workplace with the rest of my colleagues made this problem much smaller, and we soon learnt to find time so we could still participate in each other’s thought process.

This environment of cooperation was key in my day to day workflow, and I learnt that despite not having a team of my own, the people around me could still provide invaluable help.

UX

In the UX week, I focused most of my efforts in exploring the problems that affected people with pets, specially those tied tosharing their free time with their animals in a social way.

I started with a competence analysis, where I found that most apps already in the market focused on dog owners, so I thought I could try and focus on other kind of pets and their owners.

Later research showed me that there wasn’t really a need for this, since most people that owned pets that weren’t dogs didn’t really want to be active or embark in social activities with them

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Lean survey canvas with a broad focus, aiming to find a wide variety of problems to work on.

Most of the time, dog owners were the ones who had an interest in social activities, and most of them were particularly attracted with activities happening in natural environments.

Another interesting target were the people that didn’t own any pets but were interested in sharing time with other people’s pets.

With these perspectives, I decided to move along and create two different User Personas: One that owned a dog and was interested activities in nature, and another that didn’t own a pet but loved spending time with animals.

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User personas for both users.

As I explored the project more, it soon became obvious that I couldn’t cater to people without pets and people that owned them at the same time. I had a very tight schedule, and if I tried to target both profiles I wouldn’t be able to develop my tool well enough for any of them.

Instead, I focused on dog owners, and through a MosCow, a brainstorming and an affinity map, I managed to come up with two main functionalities:

My tool would allow users to find other people to walk their dogs with through a local radar, and would also offer a social feature to organize nature activities for pet owners.

UI

When it came to UI, I wanted the app to bring the user’s mind to natural settings, and inspire a feeling of freedom.

With this in mind, my moodboard leaned heavily on dogs enjoying their free time, and natural landscapes where those activities could develp. My primary colours were clear once I built the moodboard, taking a clear blue from the open sky and a complementary green from vegetation.

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Tipography aimed to be friendly and simple, what brought me to using Avenir Next for titles, and San Francisco fonts for the heavier blocks of text, keeping in mind usability and a clean visual style.

You can see the results in the following images:

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