The challenge Create an mobile app to help pet owners to tailor their pet's diet and get it delivered to their home.
My role Product designer - This was a personal project and I did all the design work.

About PetMeal

PetMeal is a homemade pet food reciepe delivery service, it makes it simple to serve the food your pet likes everyday. With this app, you’ll discover different recipes, cooking techniques and how-to videos, as well as easily manage your account on-the-go. You can place an order of the reciepe to be delivered to your home from your prefered pet shop.

Diving deep into the challenge

All the commercially available pet food products in the stores and online have a lot of chemicals, artificial colors, preservatives, flavor enhancers and a lot of bad fats that makes the food more tasty and unhealthy to our pets. Usually, we buy some cheap unhealthy processed food for our pets. That food often contains wastes from food industries or some leftovers from dead animal carcasses.

The pet food was good back some 3 decades ago, but since the boom of the processed food, both humans and pet food have some big degenerative health problems. Visiting the vet have increased in recent times due to a lot of unknown diseases in our pets health due to poor diet.

Unlike human food, the pet's food doesn't go through extensive research to see if the product is keeping the pets healthy over a long period. There are no proper regulations in place to check it.

Homemade diet for a pet is not a simple thing. It has to meet al the pet's nutritional requirements. One has to do a lot of research for recipes that fit both the owner and the pet's needs and lifestyle.

The healthiest choice for a pet is a balanced homemade diet.

Research

The first step of the design process involved talking to pet owners.

User Interview

I had a few conversations with my friends and colleagues who have a pet. The purpose was to determine the basic ‘pain-points’ of pet owners when it comes to preparing a homemade diet. Learning about the problems of potential users is a great way to be inspired and motivated. Working with real-world data is a good starting point to help avoid guesswork and preconceptions. Using this information provided a better chance to discover the root of the problem and how to solve it.


Some of the questions were:

  • How often do you make food for your pet?
  • What motivated you to start feeding homemade food for your pet?
  • How do you prepare homemade food?
  • What are your challenges when it comes to preparing a balanced homemade food?
  • How much time do you invest in preparing the food for your pet?
  • How often do you search for recipes for healthy food online?

Direct quotes from the users:

User Insights:

After analyzing the interviews, despite the amount of generated data, this was the most relevant information for decision-making in creating the solution.

From the data, it was clear that the pet owners want to serve homemade food to their pets but don't know what's healthy or how much should be served.

Competitor Research

In addition, I researched online about other similar products. Since there was no app serving a similar purpose, I took meal recipe kit delivery apps for inspiration. The goal was to understand how competitors behave and benchmark innovative ideas. I looked into apps such as Sun Basket, Blue Apron, Home Chef and studied how they provide their services.

What is the value?

Instead of focusing on what the users want, I ask myself why they need this app. What are the jobs to be done? By understanding why people might want this app it increased my chances of making a truly valuable product.

Ideate

I have a vague idea of how the app would function, but I need to refine the idea and make the user flow right.

User Flow

The main point of the flow is to ensure that the functionality is always visible to the user, but not in an obstructive way. The onboarding process gets information about the pet in a funny way and gives the recipes immediately. No account needed to see these. But in order to make a purchase, one needs to create an account and add their payment method.

Paper Sketches

This was the first step to help me outline the app and visually imagine it.

Wireframes

This visual guide represents the skeletal framework of the app. It helped me arrange the interface elements while I focused on the functionality rather than what it looks like. Moreover, the simplicity of wireframes allows me to quickly test ideas without diving into the details.

User Interface

Onboarding

The goal of the onboarding flow in Petmeal is to collect information about the user’s pet to truly make it tailored to their needs. The critical part was to have the user answer five questions without getting discouraged and turn off the app. It required a simple and quick process. Numbering the questions, big sliding cards and a progression bar were some of the solutions I used to ease the process.

Making a meal

This element is the heart of the app. After onboarding, users receive a recipe tailored to their pet’s needs. When viewing the recipe, one can see a list of ingredients, three simple steps explaining how to prepare the meal, and how much it costs.

Buy the recipe with ingredients

For extra convenience I decided to offer users an option to obtain all the necessary ingredients. Therefore, the next challenge was to create a process that consisted of a shopping list and deliver it to their front door. This procedure should be easy and quick to keep it in line with the app’s easy interface.

Design System

Colors

I picked a playful and inviting tone, so I chose green as the primary color and yellow as a secondary.

For text, dark black was used to contrast the white background. This is to ensure reading and contrast, thus reaching appropriate levels of accessibility.

Typography

I used the native iOS font SF Pro. The font is available for free use and works well with white layers.

Other components

Validation

I found that people would like to know where the meat is being delivered from and would like to see a choice to choose from multiple providers. The user's tab was a little confusing to some as they did not create an account at the being. The idea behind it was to go back and customize the pet information. Changing the icon to a pet could convey the message. The next steps are to incorporate the feedback into the design and do another round of testing before finalizing.

Final Thoughts

Pet food is a $75 billion industry that produces foods that by and large are not the healthiest dietary choice for dogs and cats and may even harm the health and longevity of our furry friends. However, in the hectic daily lives, most of us lead, the convenience of using dry foods understandably wins over.

The goal of this free mobile application is to allow users to quickly and easily make healthier food for their beloved pets at comparable costs to premium packaged foods. PetMeal is designed to help pet owners prepare homemade food for their furry friends. The app provides a daily feeding plan for each individual pet based on their nutritional needs. The app also tailors the food quantity and can deliver the products from local stores.

It is my hope that this app will be supported by a pet food producer or marketer, with the understanding that providing pet owners with additional and healthier choices is social, canine and felinely, a more responsible way to conduct business.


If you’d like to read more, I’ve published additional case studies for GoRide Design System and a personal project, GoRide Health. Read about me or go back to home