Laika app

Helping future owners adopt dogs in an easy, simple and fun way.

10 minutes read

Researcher, UX & UI designer
Nuria Alonso, Alberto Mozo, Patricia Puig and Santi Mirabet
App design


This project was born in the UX / UI master at Nuclio Digital School. The project tried to find a real problem and solve it through a digital solution.

Hence, Laika was born, an app that makes adoption an easy, simple and fun task.

Problem statement

Problem statement from the page: Long adoption process, difficult to find the perfect dog, difficult to contact animal shelters, duplication of information and too much collected dogs in Spain (and therefore never adopter and euthanized)


We followed the design thinking methodology, in which the first step was to empathize with the users. Moreover, we defined insights based on their needs and problems. Together with our insights, we created related solutions. With those solutions we designed and prototyped the different screens of the application and finally we tested the product with real users to verify our solution.

Design process we followed: 1. Empathizing, 2. Defining, 3. Ideation, 4. Design and 5. Testing

We also used the scrum methodology to organize ourselves: we divided the weeks into sprints, with a backlog full of tasks that we had to do. We assigned the different tasks to each team member and we did retrospectives to see how we could improve the way we worked together.

1. Empathize

After an introductory investigation on different topics that interested us, we came to the conclusion that we wanted to solve a problem around pets.

To collect information we resorted to interviews: first we did open interviews,  to not bias users and have complete information about the entire process. Once we were collecting more information, we closed the script to go into detail in specific sectors of its life cycle. Finally, the last interviews were carried out to confirm certain aspects and problems within the acquisition process.

In total, we interviewed 33 people interested in pets, and obtained more than 200 pieces of information that we divided into pain points (red), gain points (green), relevant facts without value judgment (yellow) and solutions offered by users (blue).

Picture of the interview insights

1.1 Understanding the problem

We clustered pain points according to the pet life cycle, which we divided into three parts: acquisition, management and death. With the pain points we generated the insights (orange) in each phase of the process.

Picture of the funnel

Once we had all the insights, the map made it clear that we were going to focus on the pet search. Specifically we focused in the adoption of dogs, since  we found most user problems in that section.

With the insights of the adoption problems, we performed different "how might we" to get to the cause of those problems. We grouped the "how might we" in different themes to find out our final concerns in each topic. From here we select the problems that we considered most relevant for users: search, communication, paperwork, and quality & experience.

Picture of the how might we

1.2 Investigation

We carried out in-depth desk research to find out the real problem. Users were currently using social media and websites to search the dogs. They contacted the shelters through the phone or social networks. Shelters could harldy answer due the large amount of calls. Paperwork was tedious and long, since many sheets had to be filled out. The user experience was exhaustive since there was no platform that unified everything. Users had to find all the information in different places.

We realized that an application could be the perfect solution to this problem since current solutions did not add value, despite theie large number.

We performed benchmarking to analyze the different solutions that were on the market and their functionalities. There was only one solution properly solving the issue, and it's name was Miwuki. After analyzing the application we saw that usability was not its strong point, so we decided to go ahead with an app.

Benchmark: only real rival is Miwuki

1.2 Problem validation

Once we knew the problems in depth, we conducted a survey to validate the research hypothesis. A total of 340 people answered which 90 of them were possible users of the app (people who were in the process of adoption or had recently adopted). One of the aspects that impacted us the most was how people did not perceive the paperwork as a relevant problem. Nevertheless, we concluded that the process of contacting the shelter was a priority.

In addition, we made a couple of dynamic tables to get better results. We crossed the age of users with the question of "Have you ever adopted or are you in the process of adoption?" (So that the number of users was not a bias, we did the calculations applying the percentage of users in each range). The result were that users between the age of 25 and 45 were the most susceptible to adopt, that is why we based our user persona on that average.

2. Define

We defined a user persona and its current journey map based on all the information we collected.

Picture of the user PersonaPicture of the journey of the user persona

2.1 Value and functionalities

We performed the value proposition canvas to know what would be the gain creators and pain releavers of our product. The gain creators are gamification in the form of swipes and a compatibility test. The pain relievers are clear and concise dog information and the look & feel of the platform. Furthermore we executed a business model canvas, even though the end goal of this app was not to make money.

Once we knew what our value proposition was, we built user stories to create the user activities of our app.

User stories of the project

Once we had the user activities, we focused on prioritizing them with the MSCW method (which tries to divide functionalities by a degree of importance).

MSCW about the different functionalities

We separated them to be clear about what our MVP (minimum viable product) would be, and we focus on the MUST and SHOULD category functionalities.

Selection of the MVP

When we learned about the MVP's tasks, we prioritized them with the RICE (Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort) methodology to know what was going to be the order in which we were going to create the functionalities

RICE scoring

After evaluating each one of the functionalities, we were able to get a score that we used to prioritize the screens.

2.2 Structuring the solution

Knowing the priorities we build the sitemap to see what the structure of the application would be.

Sitemap of the app

We wanted all the most relevant points to be accessible through the navbar. Knowing the structure of the app we build the different flows that the users could carry out.

User flows of the app

With all the user flows defined, we build a navigational map that combined all the possible paths that a user could take inside our app. We draw crazy 8s to capture how we imagined each of these screens.

We did voting on the elements that we liked the most about each screen and we got to work with the low fidelity wireframes.

Wireframes of the app

3. Design

Once we had all the wireframes for the MVP, we defined the style guide and personality of the app. We chose blue as the main color, since it conveyed calm and confidence, and the secondary color a light green, for similar reasons.

We named our app Laika in honor of the first dog that went to space. Laika was an abandoned dog that was trained to become the first animal in space. She was rescued as they thought a street dog would endure extreme temperatures and hunger. They sent her to space and abandoned her. Thats why we chose her name, to remind people that animals should never be abandoned.

Styleguide of the app

With the style guide defined we began to create the different screens of the application. We selected Iphone 8 as device, so we could apply mobile first to escalate the interface into bigger screens.

3.1 Main screens

Below you can see some of the main screens.


Gives a simple introduction of the app functionalities.

Search dog

Our main purpose was to make dogs the protagonists. Clear screen with information carefully selected.


Easy to access and adapted to the user needs.

Dog profile

Very visual and simplified information with quick access to donation, contact and request appointment.

Compatibility test

Test to find a dog that fits the user. Fast, visual process, playful interface and clear language.

Dog recommender

Personalized experience for every user and gamification (swipes).

Book an appointment

Quick and easy process with a clean interface that informs the user at all times.


Easy access from various points, intuitive interface.

4. Test

We built the prototype and prepared the user test. We performed 6 tests and got a lot of feedback on the project. Furthermore we made the users test Miwuki, our main competitor.

Image of a user testComparison with Miwuki

4.1 User test feedback

With the user tests we were able to validate different hypothesis. First we confirmed the value proposition of our application. Some of the comments were “I love the idea of the app” and “Super cool as an adoption app”.

We also confirmed that the navigation and flows were clear and understandable. Some of the comments were "What I like the most is that it is all concentrated in a single platform and the match system" and "I find it very practical, especially the fact of being able to message with several shelters".

Another very important point for us was the UI. Some of the comments were "Visually it is very clean", "It is very visual" and "I love the colors!"

But not all were positive comments, we saw that there were certain aspects that we had improve. Next we show you what changes we made.

Changes according the user test

Outcome and lessons

This project is without a doubt the one that has taught me the most. I learned how a design process is carried out, using methodologies such as design thinking and scrum. We saw that design does not follow a straight path, rather a doodle that takes shape as time passes.

We were able to apply all the research to the final screens so that they made sense for the user. In addition we could test the solution to know if our hypothesis were right. But without a doubt what I liked the most was the teamwork since I was lucky to have great colleagues who supported me at all times.

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