SmartPup App Design & Concept

SmartPup App

SmartPup was designed out of a need for at home dog training with easy to follow tutorials, on demand virtual dog training sessions with certified trainers, and behavior correction training. With a focus on showing progress and overall improvement in your dog’s obedience, happiness, and peace of mind in doggie social situations. Take back your time and training with SmartPup!

My Role: Project Manager | UX Research | UI Design | Usability Testing



Current and future dog owners tend to want what is best for their pup. With the current pandemic, taking your dog to the dog trainer, social outings, and boarding schools have become a challenge. Here are some of the main questions to be answered: 

  • How can I train my dog at home?
  • I tend to forget to train my pup!
  • There needs to be a way to track the progress of my dog’s learning.
  • Help! Get me access to a professional, please.



Introducing, SmartPup! Your at home training guide and doggie central for getting virtual one on one dog training sessions with certified dog trainers! In addition to teaching your dog new commands, you can also check out the behavior section on how to correct unwanted tendendies or learn how to improve the overall health of your pup!


UX Research

Defining the User Experience

Competitive Analysis | User Survey & Interview | User Persona & Empathy Map | Journey Map

Competitor Review – See what others are doing and how successful an integration with timeline for bus arrivals is doing. User Interviews – Create Survey for potential users to take online

Recruitment Plan:
Find friends and co-students that utilize mass transit to participate in the survey
Find competitors that have created similar apps and evaluate how they solved the solution

1 week

Resource Needs:
Willing participants, google sheets, other case study or documentation from competitors.
Time to research and digest information from other sources. Zoom for user interviews.

Competitive Analysis

There are similar apps currently on the marketplace available for the competitive analysis. This helped determine which features were repeated throughout the various apps, along with opportunities for SmartPup on the marketplace. Below are a few of the findings from the analysis.



  • Instructions clear and concise for dog training
  • Dog trainers on hand to answer questions
  • Offers five training programs: new dog, opbedience, stay active, strengthen friendshps and little helper
  • Progress markers – gameify training process
  • Easy on boarding



  • App file size too large and could not install on phone
  • Contrast ratio – not ADA compliant
  • Too many ads
  • Support response time too slow
  • App crashing
  • Too little of commands to teach dog



  • App file size and support
  • Certified trainer available by virtual appointment
  • Chatbox with dog tips or connect to customer support
  • Video and images to help with training



  • Established dog training brand may be harder to convert loyal users
  • People will resume in person training once pandemic is over and no longer need app
  • App maintenance and support costs


Competitors Analyzed

User Survey & Interview

To help inform my perspective, I sent out a user surveys via google forms to colleagues, friends, and other members of the Thinkful programs to find users that met the pre-screening criteria: owning a dog, intent to own a dog, and a desire for at home dog training. Some of the questions involved the number of dogs owned, how they are currently trained, goals of the dog owners, and hardships the dog owners face. In addition, I did follow up interviews with some of the users to determine the specific journey they take in teachign their dog a new command. This helped inform the demographics, user persona, empathy map, and journey map.


Users took Survey on Google Forms


User Interviews


Agreed to Usability Testing

User Survey Highlights

(Google Forms)


Own a dog or plan to own one in the future


Want to teach their dog commands


Have 1 or more dogs

How do you want to train your dog?

  • Video 81.3% 81.3%
  • Audio 6.3% 6.3%
  • Text 25% 25%
  • In Person with Certified Trainer 0% 0%
  • Virtual with Certified Trainer 18% 18%

User Persona & Empathy Map

From the user surveys and interviews, I was able to create user personas and an ideal empathy map on training a dog. What was most interesting was how much owners expressed great joy and interest in learning how to train their dog from home so the dog would be prepared for social interactions such as a dog park or when people visited.

“I want to take control of my life and dogs again with training and stop relying on others at the dog training facility.”

Keila W.

Journey Map

Information Architecture

Discovering how the user navigates

User Flow:
Beginning to understand what would be needed for the app, I created a user flow to understand how the user might navigate to individual training lessons for their dog. In addition, being able to change settings, earn badges, and schedule virtual appointment.

After revision of how the user would utilize the app to find information, I created a sitemap for guidance in the next section – wireframes.

Bringing paper to pencil, I created some rough sketches of how the wireframe would look based off the user flow and sitemap.

User Flow


Visual Design & Branding Phase


After learning what real users were looking for when using a dog training app, I began sketching.

A great idea can start with a simple sketch.


Style Guide 

smartpup style guide


High Fidelity Mockup

Usability Testing Phase

Usability Testing & Feedback

Usability Testing:
Testing was conducted by zoom interview and utilizing usability testing platform. Tested with 6 users. Along with tasks to complete, users were to interact and use the high fidelity prototype to report live time their experience and feedback on the process of navigating the app. They also provided their own visual design feedback.

Tasks to Complete:

  • Watch the intro animation – provide feedback response
  • Sign up for an account and add your first dog
  • Teach your dog the “sit” command
  • Add the sit command to your schedule
  • Book a personal training session
  • Access the dog correction library page

After usability testing was conducted, new iterations were made to make some of the font larger and easier to read, along with reducing the onboarding process and allowing the user to exit the tutorial on how to use the app at any time.


Testers using


Recorded Sessions

45 min

Alloted time for usability test and interview

Usability Test Results

Teach your dog the “sit” command

Changes Made

Based on feedback in usability testing interviews


Calendar Screen

Original high fidelity mockup of the calendar section used for the usability test. Users reported it was hard to read the text and the colors didn’t match the theme to them.


Calendar Screen

Revised calendar screen to show larger text and matched the color scheme to the style guide colors for appointment types.


Progress Tracker Screen

Original high fidelity mockup of the badges section. Here users commented on hard to read the badges and the numbers inside the progress circles were difficult to read as well.


Progress Tracker Screen

Revised calendar screen to show larger text and matched the color scheme to the style guide colors for appointment types.

What I learned

With living in the new normal of social distancing and virtual learning, many of the users were excited to learn how to train their dog at home and regain control of the household while staying home extended hours with their dog.


In  addition to training their dog at home, being able to schedule a virtual dog training session was a positive draw to most users, as well as a unique feature for an app that focused on dog training. Also, having a dog behavior correction training section could be improved to a dog wellness portal in later iterations of this app.


SmartPup has the potential to become a household name and with further research and dvelopment of these designs. A future project with kickstarting this into development is being considered.

See the prototype here