The Pet Food Tracker

A colleague from my engineering studies once mentioned that he had been having trouble keeping track of his pets meals and snacks. He said he was equally worried about underfeeding his dog as he was overfeeding. As a first time pet owner he found this stressful.

We observed that we both already use nutrition tracker apps such as MyFitnessPal to monitor our own intake of food. Perhaps it would be easy for us to adjust to using a similar system for a pet?

I intend to use this project to showcase my understanding of each aspect of the design thinking cycle. So it will be longer and include more detail than normal.


Understanding / Defining The Problem Domain


Why And How

As a designer, I don’t think my starting point should ever be “build X”. I should always begin by generating a more intricate understanding of the problem that may have led me to consider “building x”. Fleshing out the problem domain could lead me to come to conclusions or solutions I might not have arrived at before. It will also help me when I’m constructing my user personas later.

Many leading design thinking experts feel the best way to achieve this is to expand our creative framework by asking “why?”, and narrow down our creative framework by asking “how?”.

This is what I’ve done in the map I’ve generated above.

I came to the conclusion that ultimately, potential users with this problem will be searching for a solution because the wellbeing of their pet directly affects their own quality of life. When narrowing down the framework I also came up with two potential solutions to the problem.




At this phase of our project it’s important to begin researching our demographics. These will inform us about the identity of our users and also give us some valuable insight about potential future users (Like GEN Z).

I’m going to focus primarily on data related to pet ownership in the UK & US markets.

Here’s a snippet of some of the information we’ve compiled:


    • Over 75% of UK households with children also own pets.
    • 34% of all households in the UK own a dog
    • Over half of all households in the UK own some kind of pet
    • 78% of all dogs in the UK reside in Northern Ireland (this information could be useful for marketing)
    • Millennials m bake up the largest percentage of Pet Owners in the US at 33%
    • US dog owners spend a minimum of $750 a year on their dogs on average

Some of this information will be invaluable when it comes to constructing our personas. Any information that we don’t use is still potentially valuable because it can be used later for marketing or even expanding our feature list.


User Personas

Actual contact with potential users is paramount at this stage. So we spent a bit of time talking to other pet owners trying to break them down into different categories of owners. We did this so we could create user personas using more than just demographic data, empowering a more empathetic approach to design. These personas drew to light important considerations about pricing, design and our primary goals.


Persona 1 – Sarah The Student



Persona 2 – Gary The Retiree



Ideation Sessions


Design Document

With a rough idea of the problem we were facing, and a general idea of who we were going to be designing our solution for – we began conducting ideation sessions. We started off with a single brainstorming session that lasted over an hour. Every single idea, no matter how seemingly trivial – was written down.

Pretty much every aspect of the product was covered during this ideation session. Including ideas on how to tackle:


    • Logic architecture
    • Feature implementation
    • Possible gamification
    • Where to draw design inspiration from
    • Possible future features
    • Monetisation strategies

Once we were comfortable that we had covered every single base, we began to properly collate and organize all of these ideas in a central design document. This document could be used to refer to during the designing process to ensure I didn’t drift too far from the original vision and stated goals of the app.


Logic Architecture / Paper Prototyping

It’s now time to begin planning out and making the paper prototypes of our app. This stage is crucial because it’ll allow us to flesh out design problems as they become apparent before we’ve committed the time and energy into building a high fidelity prototype in figma.



Above is an example of a rough sketch of the home page and the activity page. This is all for personal use and will only be run by a handful of people so there’s no need for it to be visually stunning.

If you looked at the documentation from our ideation sessions, you would see that there’s an incredibly large amount of potential features scribbled down as plans for the future. However, right now we need to focus on providing the minimum viable product. 


High Fidelity Prototyping

Once I’d settled on a color palette to bring out a good deal of contrast when building interactions, I set about constructing a high fidelity prototype.


This prototype was handed over to developers. They are currently working on releasing this MVP so they can begin iterative improvements.