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VetterCare

For my major project, I created an application called VetterCare. I created VetterCare to provide more affordable, assessable veterinary care to pet owners and to improve pets’ quality of life. VetterCare incorporates ideas that use technology to allow owners to take control of their pet's health and well-being without the senseless cash and lengthy waiting times.

I chose this project because pets have always been an important part of my life and I know from personal experience that veterinary costs are expensive and sometimes miscommunication is a problem. After sending a user survey to over 100 pet owners, I noticed that the problems surrounding vets weren’t limited to me - they were a huge problem, with some stories shocking me. This is when VetterCare came about. The name came early in the project and stuck as it perfectly summarised the aim of the project.

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What drove me to choose an application for the project was my passion for digital design and illustration. I knew I could use illustration to bring personality and a sense of fun to the app but knew the user interface (UI) needed to be professional and well-considered.I loved the challenge that this brought me.

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How does it work?

VetterCare (available for both iOS and Android) operates by using your pet's breed, age, and weight to determine daily tasks that ensure your pet's recommended health requirements are being followed. Vet specialists provide an online symptom checker to help owners determine if a symptom can be monitored or if it requires immediate attention (saving money on unnecessary trips, and avoiding the dreaded Google).

The app guides the owner through each step of a trip, ensuring both the owner and vet are doing their part. Additionally, VetterCare incorporates a feature that remembers the information of the trip. This means when a familiar symptom is detected, the app will prompt the user with information on how to fix the problem themselves, with cheaper alternatives.

The Process

First, I needed to figure out what problems in the veterinary industry were causing the most pain to pet owners, so I knew what to target. I conducted a survey involving 100 pet owners. As a surprise, some of the results really shocked me. One of the responses I got that shocked me was "I spent 9.5k for cancer treatment mostly understandable but £70.00 to examine each X-ray stuck in my mind as extortionate.". I found that the three main issues pet owners have with their veterinarians are the high costs, the lack of communication and the lack of customer service. As a result, I had the idea that my project might involve redesigning a poor veterinary system.

Before jumping right into the project, I wanted to talk to a veterinarian to get their insight. That was the most valuable thing I could have done because the vet gave me a real insight into some of the issues they face with their clients. The main three issues are lack of knowledge, lack of communication, and lack of responsibility. I also learned that analyzing every veterinary system would take about five years, so I scrapped the idea and chose a different approach, which merged both vet and pet owner issues to develop a variety of features that would benefit both parties.

Feedback from my tutor has been an important stage of the project with us meeting to discuss and evaluate my research findings, and the next stage of VetterCare. Testing the application has also been a really beneficial stage, with my first round of Maze testing going wrong due to Maze not being compatible with iPhone and me not including enough descriptions for the tasks, although I was still able to use some of the information I found and avoid my mistakes in my next round of testing.

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After speaking with a vet, I created a user journey map of a typical pet owner's vet journey in order to get a sense of where the main issues and opportunities are, as well as creating a digital blueprint of the receptionist's journey.

Once I knew what features I would include in VetterCare, I began to develop user flows of how I felt the user would flow through the application. When I started creating the low-fidelity prototype with Figma, these flows were a great guide. Although before this, it was a usual part of my process to sketch and evaluate multiple layout ideas for how I wanted the application to look, and which features to prioritize. This research process was documented in Notion, and the Vettercare brand and icons were designed in Illustrator. I used Miro for journey maps, user flows and journey maps, Photoshop for visuals and mockup purposes, and Maze to test the near-final product.

Feedback from my tutor has been an important stage of the project with us meeting to discuss and evaluate my research findings, and the next stage of VetterCare. Testing the application has also been a really beneficial stage, with my first round of Maze testing going wrong due to Maze not being compatible with iPhone and me not including enough descriptions for the tasks, although I was still able to use some of the information I found and avoid my mistakes in my next round of testing.

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The Outcome

Overall, I am happy with VetterCare. It has pushed me to learn new skills such as UX research methods, paying attention to minor details, graphic design skills and patience when things didn’t work out as planned. I have also gained the ability to focus on a project for a prolonged period, giving me a great understanding of how to persevere and concentrate on a task until it is complete.

These skills have given me a great understanding of where I need to be as a designer launching myself into the fast- paced design industry.

In addition to that, it was exciting to have a full year to develop the application from an idea to a branded HI-FI application. I'm proud to know that VetterCare can make a difference to thousands of pet owners lives.

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