Marc Tessier



(Capstone project | Brainstation UX)


UX/UI Designer


10 weeks – 2020

Learning UX and UI during the process


Pen + Paper, Sketch (later Figma),

Adobe Photoshop, Invision

Found is a GPS pet tracking app with the ability to engage the user’s trusted community. Users can quickly track down a runaway, as well as recruit the help of close friends and family if additional help is needed.


I chose to tackle this problem because I’ve known dozens of people that have lost pets, in a variety of ways, and have struggled immensely with tracking them down, too often without success. On top of this, I have worked with animals in the past and have seen first hand the overcrowding issues that have plagued animal shelters, with a large percentage of the pets beings strays. I wanted to know why these were ongoing issues, and how I could help pet owners more easily find a runaway, which in turn would hopefully reduce the strain on animal shelters.


In North America, over 10 million pets go missing every year. Animal shelters admit 7 million cats and dogs yearly, and around half of them are strays. Pet owners are too often underprepared to deal with a lost pet situation.


Pet owners are generally not well prepared for dealing with a lost pet.

Pet owners need a fast and convenient way of finding their lost pet.


Quickly and efficiently reconnect lost pets with their owners, effectively reducing search time, reducing stress, and increasing the chances of a safe return.

How might we facilitate the confusing and stressful process of finding lost pets for pet owners?


I conducted additional secondary research to discover the main reasons why pets run away, and how people are currently dealing with finding lost pets. This gave me a good overview of the landscape by observing trends, as well as pros and cons of each solution.



They saw an opening and thought it would be fun.


Actively looking to escape in order to explore. Cats and dogs can get very curious.


Something such as a loud bang (ex: fireworks are common here) can activate a pet’s flight mode.


Once I got a better overview of the landscape, I dove into secondary research by gaining qualitative data from user interviews. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to interview as wide a range of pet owners as I would have liked (ex: various owner or pet ages, various lengths pet was lost for, various amount of times pet ran away, etc…), but still got great insights. With a wider timeline I would have liked to first send out a survey to find that wider range of candidates and dig deeper to before writing interview questions.


Participants were pet owners that had lost a cat or dog for a minimum of 2 hours.

* A major insight from the interviews and from casually chatting with people, was that many owners had their pets microchipped, but weren’t sure if they were registered or how they worked.


The persona was created from the qualitative data taken from the interviews I conducted. Since there was a low variety in types of users within my research, I decided to create only a single persona.

There was a slight difference in how loose or careful users were with their pets. For examples, some users don’t let their cats go outside, while others will let cats roam the neighbourhood freely. Same with on or off leashing dogs in public. In the end, they all had essentially the same goals.



* After analyzing the journey map and pinpointing opportunities, I chose a few to focus on, considering time constraints.


At this point, I decided on creating a GPS tracking app with the ability to engage the user’s trusted community if additional help is needed. It’s a solution that would rid of all the user’s pain points, and easily the quickest way of tracking down lost pets.

The “share pet location” feature would be used as backup in case the user couldn’t reach their pet themselves for any reason. This increases the chances of a quick capture.


* Over the course of prototyping, I also looked at parallel apps for inspiration (Google Maps, Life 360, Find my iPhone).



  1. Create geofence
  2. - Notifies the owner about an escape.

Activate Lost mode and call a friend

- Lost mode quickly notifies trusted contacts about the whereabouts of the pet. To allow the user's contacts to have access to the pet's location without having to download the app, they receive a link to a private Google map accessible on the web, and password protected. Through Lost mode, you have the ability to contact them via text or call straight from the app.

User Stories

User Flows


Live tracking (GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth)

Create virtual safe zones

Engage trusted contacts in emergencies

Push notifications to register and/or update microchip information

* This last feature acts as insurance in case anything happens to the collar. Explanation in the “Competitive Analysis” table.


*Not in order

I wanted a clean map view since this is a map based app, therefore I hid everything in the hamburger menu.


  1. 1. Create a geofence
  2. 2. Time passes and user receives notification that their pet escaped from a geofence
  3. 3. Activate the Lost mode and call a friend for help


*In this version, activating Lost mode sent a notification to the user's Facebook friends through Messenger. Messenger also allows users to location share. Originally I thought you could share the pet's location as well, but as it turned out, only Facebook users can location share.

So, I had the idea of periodically sending friends an image with the pet's location. But this had major downfalls. I quickly pivoted in the next prototype.

Overall Major Opportunities

Rough navigation

Poor Lost mode strategy


Kill the hamburger menu and tab bar

Change Facebook friends to list of chosen contacts


In this version, I pivoted away from Facebook in Lost mode, and the user would simply add contacts to the app. Notifications would be sent by text and email, with a link to a secured private Google map accessible on the web.

Major Opportunities

Inconsistent tab bar

Activation notification too long

Can't edit notification or choose contacts before sending


Consistent tab bar

Shorten notification

Option to edit notification to contacts

Option to choose whom you contact in Lost mode



Fixed all the issues from the previous version.

Streamlined the geofence creation to be all on one page.

  • Up to code with Android standards.
  • Cleaner, softer UI to match a calm vibe I wanted.


Brand Identity

Words + Colors + Moodboard


I chose words that were positive, happy, calming. Having a pet run away is a stressful situation, so I wanted look and feel of the app to visually reduce anxiety. I wanted the user to know that, everything will be ok.


Soft blurred backgrounds, pastel colors, zen-like vibe. That feeling after you just had wicked yoga session.

Brand Colors

Blue and cream (with an orange undertone)

Blue is the most calming color. Very beneficial for mind and body. It also represents loyalty, and this saturation, it has a somewhat playful effect.

Cream (with an orange undertone) is a quiet and relaxing color offering a smidgen of warmth.



*Top – Final

*Bottom – Some iteration work



Comfortaa Bold

Soft, round, fluffy, pillowy


Brand colors

Imitates soft, blurry, calming visual of the moldboard


I first landed on the name "Astray". But people thought the name sounded too negative. Also, people read it as "ashtray". Finally, I changed it to "Found". Sounded more positive.



My first choice was silhouette, but I couldn't have only 1 animal or the app seemed like it was either only for cats, or dogs. Both silhouettes together seemed too cluttered.


Landed on a circle (abstract collar), that faded at one corner, but you could tell it was completed. It represents the lost pet's journey from home and back again. They may fade out of site, but they'll be back.



Major Changes

Fuller map (covers most of the page)

2 ways to access each main task for flexibility of use

Added fab to quickly access main tasks

Pet profile moved from tab bar to pull up tab

– Similar to the "Find my Iphone app" (familiar to users)




Through a quick 3 hour sprint, we had to translate our mobile app into another platform that made sense for our personas.

Since this was an emergency-type app where the user will be running around, I chose the small and convenient Apple Watch.

I chose to show the directions feature since I didn't show it in my mobile app.

I read reviews that Google Maps on such a small screen can be difficult to read. So, I made sure to add maximum map space, and hide the tab bar (swipe up for access) and the pet profile.

Also because of the small screen, people are more likely to use the directions feature in order to orient themselves easily without having to constantly zoom in and out.

Pet icon

Light tap = pet profile

Forced tap = directions


*This model revolves mostly around the main customer segment of pet owners.

I can’t always think design, I also have to think business. This business model canvas gives a glimpse at the design/business intersection and details how the money would flow in and out, as well as what we do, for whom, and how.

Within a real world project, this may be done earlier on, but for this assignment we had only touched on the business side later in the design process.





Times change, people change. Design changes with them. If I had more time, I would have dug deeper into research by putting out a survey, chatting with shelter workers and other working within the industry.


I’ve caught myself, more than once, spending hours building out a flow, and when I finally put the prototype in front of a user, they shut it down instantly. I thought it was perfect. I was wrong. Embrace a quick feedback loop, and adjust accordingly. No point wasting time on beautiful UI if the direction is wrong in the first place.


Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Users want a digital product that works the same way as the other products they use. Flatten that learning curve for the user.


Improve the visuals. My visual skills get better with time, and constantly feel the need to update and refine.

I feel like there might be some miscommunication between shelter and owners, and vets and owners because too often owners are simply not aware of how microchips work and what to do with them. When a pet is adopted from a shelter, does the vet simply insert the microchip without telling the owners to register the chip then update their information when changes occur? Are the owners given the information but are forgetful, or even worse lazy? If the information is given, in what form? Digging into this issue would be a track I’d like to pursue.

Adding a feature for a printable pre-designed poster with needed information and clear photo. In case other solutions fail, simply download, print and go. If the owner doesn’t have a printer, the company could have it set up so that the owner can also have us print the posters for them on weather proof paper and ship them over at a cost.

Another insurance plan in case the GPS collar fails in any way would be to have a pre-written email easily sent to all shelters and vets within a chosen radius. This way no time is wasted contacting each shelter or vet individually. One button does it. This could also be the case with social media. One button to send a message to all platforms.

Design the tracking history. Yet another insurance feature in case the collar fails. Knowing where the pet has been until the last minute. Would be able to see a simple path, or a heat map indicating areas most explored.

Add a “quickest route” feature with updated road blocks/delays, to make sure the user reaches their pet asap.



Theft of animals is common. I’ve personally seen it happen more than once. There is a big market out there. It’s also common for these pets to end up online on websites like Craigslist and Kijiji. If suspecting theft, maybe there could be an AI facial and nose recognition scanning classified ads to search for photos and descriptions matching the pet. Fun fact, dog noses are each unique, like human fingerprints.


There is absolutely an issue with the lack of prep amongst pet parents regarding dealing with a runaway. But, looking at statistics coming out of the American Humane, only 15.8% of dogs and 2% of cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their owners. This is extremely low. Something doesn’t feel right here. Owners that truly care about their pets would go to lengths to find them. These statistics make me assume that there is a deeper issue of a large demographic of owners abandoning their pets. I’m not talking about bringing them to a shelter because of the sudden inability to take care of them, which is valid. I’m talking about an intentional dumping of the pet to dispose of them without any regard for its safety or well-being. This makes me incredibly sad and angry. I feel like we need an update in laws (especially in the US) more strictly regulating the purchase/adoption of cats and dogs, and find ways to better keep pet owners accountable for the health and safety of their pets. Breeding facilities should be extremely limited, and a more detailed recording of both the owner and the pet should take place. I’m thinking maybe taking a profile photos of both the pet and the owner, and in the case an owner abandons a pet with no identification, AI can link a current photo of the pet with an older image, which then links up with the owner. Obviously this could only be done if the owner originally got the pet at a registered breeder or shelter. Also, pets are sometimes adopted as puppies or kittens, which means they have physically changed over time. The AI would have to take that into consideration, and predict how they would currently look.

So many ideas, so little time.