Philly Animal Welfare

User Experience Research


Individual Academic Project

User Experience Research

My Role

Survey & Statistical Analysis, UX Research,

UX Design


Mar. 2017 - May 2017

Project Summary

Two years ago, Lentil, a rescued french bulldog puppy, gained a lot of attention in the city. As a result, Philadelphians became more aware of animal welfare issues in the city. Despite the increase in awareness, there are still a lot of challenges in this field.

Through careful field research and data analysis, this project indicates that Philly animal shelters are losing potential volunteers and having management problems. To solve these issues, I designed a platform to fulfill most of the low skill work, eg, the transportation work, to minimize the workload of staffs.

Research Process

Philly Shelter Survey

Philly current shelter location and scale:

The Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly) is the region’s largest animal care and control service provider.

ACCT Philly 2015 Annual Report:


ACCT Philly Summary of Survey Results - Jan. 2015

Key Points:

  • Trust has not been established between staff and volunteers (works both ways).

  • Communication, as it has existed, is resulting in frustration on the part of many volunteers.

  • There is awareness that the facility is understaffed and lacks resources.

Reference: APPENDIX-for-SUMMARY-REPORT-Vol-and-Rescue-Survey-Results 

Problem Definition

The survey indicates that there are some problems between volunteers and staffVolunteers and staff are lack of trust and communication. In the meantime there are not enough volunteers and resource for staff to manage the shelter well.

In order to encourage more people to come to help and improve shelter management,  the project will target on:

Potential Animal Volunteer


Key Points:

  • She wants to be a volunteer but doesn't have a lot of time.

  • She wants to involve with pets but not too much work.

Philly Facebook Animal Volunteer Group:

The data indicate that most volunteers in Philly are in the Foster Program. They need to transport the pet between shelter and their home now and then.

Foster Care Program in PAWS:

Thousands of animals who are too young or too sick to be adopted arrive at the city’s animal control shelter each year. Temporary foster care gives them a chance at life. The need for foster care is great throughout the year, but it is particularly urgent during “kitten season,” May through October, when hundreds of cats and kittens can arrive at the shelter on any given day.

Field Interview

I visit some shelter in Philly and interview the staff there.

Key Points:

  • Every shelter takes pets from ACCT weekly, or daily.

  • A lot of people want to volunteer but leave after first orientation. They feel it's too complicated.​ 

Volunteer Work:

After the interview, I summarize most volunteer's work, numbers of people needed and skill needed.

5 people

Skill Level

Key Points:


  • Most people needed are:

    • dog walking

    • cat socialization

    • transporting animals

    • onsite event

  • Lowest skill are:

    • laundry

    • transporting animals

    • online promotions

    • onsite event

Philly Shelter System - Journey Map

Base on all the data analysis and field interview. I summarized the year 2016 how pets flow between shelters, also people's work required on each step.

ACCT Philly

All the data is from ACCT, PAWS, Saved Me, PSPCA 2015 annual report.

Pain Points:

Potential volunteers leave after first class because they feel more work than they thought.

Lack of communication between staff and volunteer.

Hard to manage volunteer with different skill level.

The facility is understaffed and lacks resources.

Problem Statement

Philly animal welfares are facing potential volunteers lost and management problem.

After doing field interview and drawing volunteer work diagram, I find out that transportation work requires few skills but more people.

In order to solve these problems, a platform to fulfill most of the low skill work, eg, the transportation work, to minimize the workload of staffs needs to be designed.

Volunteer Facebook Group Requirement:

User Needs & Solution Applicable

Research and analysis whether the solution is actually needed by users and applicable to the real situation. 

Transport Pet                                   Transport to Off-site Event               Transport to Foster Care

Shelter Intake, Capacity, Outcome in Year and Month:

Key Points:


  • Annual Intake and outcome are much more than the capacity of the shelter. This indicates there is huge transportation needed for shelter. 

  • ACCT intake more pets in summer than winter.

Intake Component:                    

Outcome Component:     

Transportation can work for: transferred in, surrendered, transferred out, adopt.

Therefore there is a huge percent for the potential volunteer to help in transportation.

Transportation Work for Pet:

Transportation Work for Pet & People:

Transportation Journey Map

76% of the pets flow can be used with volunteer transportation system.

Design Process

The goal is to design a platform:

  • Staff can easily release transportation work without complicated management.

  • Volunteers can easily take transportation task and complete.

User Flow


Task Taker (Potential Volunteer) Wireframe

Task Releaser (Staff, Adopter, Foster Care) Wireframe