Healthy Hounds

Healthy Hounds is a website that provides dog owners with the resources they need to educate and encourage healthy feeding for their canine friends.
Project Overview
The goal for this project was to select a topic of passion to research and find a solution to an issue using design. Healthy Hounds provides a new outlook on the dog food industry by providing owners with the information they need to make intelligent decisions for their furry friends so that they can live a long and healthy life.
What this project includes:
User Research
Branding
Illustration
Visual Identity
UI/UX Design

Design Challenge

How can an abundance of information on dog nutrition be visualized in an easy to understand and accessible format?

In the last 30 years, the pet food industry has changed significantly. Although there are still many harmful products out there, as a whole, the industry has gained more knowledge regarding a properly nutritious diet using superior ingredients. In more recent years, we have seen an influx of various dog diets. People are now treating their pets like members of the family more than ever. They want the absolute best for their "fur-babies", even if it means spending more.  As nutrition principles for feeding dogs continue to evolve, dog owners must stay informed now more than ever of the nutritional requirements for their dogs. The problem is how people find their information and how it is displayed.

Research & Planning

I wanted to create an easily accessible website that would allow users to discover and engage at their own pace. My goals for the website were to start questioning what is really in our pets' food, understand dogs' nutritional needs, and spark conversation about the pet food industry. To do so, extensive research had to be done on all types of diets for dogs to better understand the risks and benefits of each specific diet and compare them all. Pet food diets are similar to human diets in that there is a lot of marketing within the business model that sometimes distract us from the truth. The best thing owners can do is educate themselves and seek out help from their veterinarian to see what works best for their dog.

I also had to ensure I was designing for the correct audience in mind. Therefore, the primary audience I wanted to focus on was dog owners concerned about their dog's diet, whether switching up their dog's diet or being new to the dog world and unsure what their dog needs. The secondary audience would be those who work with animals, for example, a veterinarian or dog trainer. A platform such as Healthy Hounds would provide a reliable resource to reference throughout their work.

During development, the most crucial thing was navigation and presentation of information. Healthy Hounds needed to be understood by the average person because the typical user would not have a nutrition base background. Images and illustrations were also a large part of development as they helped visualize the complex information.

Initial brainstorming for the type of information to be used on the website.

Screenshot of the information found while researching to be included on the website.

The process of designing and building wireframes from low fidelity to high fidelity mockups.

Branding & Visual Design

After I had established the audience and the information I wanted to include, I began the development of the UX/UI elements. I worked through the wireframes, starting with low fidelity sketches and moving towards high fidelity mockups. Through this process, I focussed on common issues of accessibility, like low contrast on text or having too many navigation links/call to actions.

When designing the UI elements that would serve as the framework for my designs, I initially used Dog Nutrition as the website name, but I rebranded it later to become Healthy Hounds. This gave the platform more personality and applied a playful approach to dog nutrition. The final logo utilized a lively yet professional sans serif, personifying Healthy Hound's brand. Similarly, the colour palette needed to be fun, modern, and trustworthy while not feeling too casual or dated. I created a baseline palette to work with, knowing that this style guide would be iterated as I went through the design process. By utilizing photography and a playful set of iconography and approachable copy, Healthy Hounds shaped to be the trustworthy, user-friendly brand I intended.

The initial name and logo process for the website.

Finalized style guide for the website.

Outcome

Working on a website with a large amount of information was challenging. As the sole designer on this project, I executed the design process end-to-end, from research to implementation, with input and support from my mentor. This forced me to be self-sufficient and agile, relying on insights from users to guide me through further iterations. During the process, I learned how valuable user research is and how it brings new perspectives that I might not have thought of.

The following steps in this project would be to further flatten the gulf of information between pet owners and the dog nutrition world. Research showed an abundance of conflicting information, and people don't know what is best. Therefore, continuing to bring transparency by displaying researched information that pet owners can rely on. I hope to increase dog health awareness to potentially move towards a more regulated pet food industry with this idea.

A selection of desktop screens for the Healthy Hounds website.

A selection of mobile screens for the Healthy Hounds website.

Responsive screen for Healthy Hounds mockup