Now, I want to talk about the things that matter more to me at a personal level.

7. In-house “Human-Dog Matching System” (HDMS):

While has an adoptor — adoptee programme in place, sees about 1 return in every 15 or so adoptions. While some reasons such as unbeknownst allergy prior to the adoption are valid, some returned due to incompatibility.

We conceived a matching system based on the followings four studies:

First scribbles on the HDMS

Sheryl Walker Ph.D discovered a statistically significant relationship between human personality and the number of returned dogs and urged shelters to consider administering human personality questionnaire.

One found positive correlation in the personalities of human and dogs using the Big Five Inventory (BFI)and Canine BFI, especially in the “Openness” domain. The sample also seemed to enjoy a greater relationship longevity when the dogs resembled their owner.

Another study discovered that both humans and dogs are happier when the perceived cost of keeping a dog is low by measuring the oxytocin level in their sample.

Lastly, through the use of eye-tracking technology, researchers were able to determine the type of photograph needed for a dog to increase its chances of being adopted.

HDMS is a modified questionnaire I developed based on the above scientific studies. We believed that with HDMS properly in place, SPCA could see a reduction in their number of returned dogs. Is HDMS perfect? No. Can HDMS be reiterated and eventually be one of the solutions to ill-fitting adoptions? Yes. I truly believe so.

8. The Bystander Apathy (Effect) and how can play a role to fight it

The Bystander Apathy is a social psychological phenomenon made famous by a 1964 murder in NYC. The bystander apathy can be summarised into i) I don’t have to do it, someone else will; ii) I don’t have to do it since nobody is doing it.

To combat this via UX, we looked at Content Strategy for direction. Researchers have identified a number of ways to increase the likelihood of helping behaviour and we endeavored to integrate them into our UX redesign of the and service design of SPCA shelters.

  1. Witnessing helping behaviour. Witnessing prosocial acts encourages people to perform the same act. Acts and accounts of previous donations/adoptions should be made easily available on SPCA’s website and premises.
  2. Being Observant. Ambiguous situation makes it harder for people to act. SPCA needs to make information about the current dire situation easily available so that people are more aware of the fact. There is really nothing to “observe” when there is “nothing” to observe.
  3. Being skilled and knowledgeable. Knowing what to do encourages people to act. Through our redesign of the website, donation/adoption process are made easily accessible by users when visiting the website. New content, rearrangement of the IA, added more donation options, and concise information were some of the redesigns we implemented in our Hi-Fi prototype.
  4. Seeing others as deserving of help. Researchers found that people were more likely to give money to a stranger when they were aware that the individual’s wallet was stolen then when the individual simply spent all his money. We recommend making the history of sheltered animals available and why help is needed either on the website or during the adoption process.
  5. Feeling Good. The “feel good, do good” effect. Even relatively small events can trigger the altruism act of individuals. When the team went down to SPCA to conduct contextual inquiry, it was discovered that SPCA’s premise is really unappealing and depressing. The insights were also complemented by our user research when respondents gave similar comments about SPCA’s premise. SPCA needs a service redesign to invoke positive feelings when potential adoptors visit their facilities.

9. Conclusion

This is a really challenging project. Probably the most challenging one in all of my projects. Not only was an in-depth user research necessary, psychology research was also needed to be done to provide a holistic solution to SPCA’s goals and need. Did we need to do that? No. Do we want to? Yes. We are animal lovers. We could have stopped at redesigning a responsive website to target a wider range of user but we recognized that advocating for a social and noble cause is really an uphill battle at times. We want to challenge ourselves to recommend the best possible solution to help SPCA do better at what they are already doing well.

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