Swap® connects pet parents and finds the most efficient way to help each other to board pets.

Project Objectives:

This project was done for a class assignment.


Adobe XD (Prototype)​.

Adobe Illustrator, photoshops    (Wireframes and Visual Design).

Pen and Paper (Storyboarding).


Project Duration: almost 1mouth.

Project Type: personal project for a class assignment.

My Role: UX and UI designer.

Approach: Primary research, Ideation, UI, UX, Prototype, Video editing.


It‘s really hard to board our pet with a cheap, convenient way:

  1. Pet boarding fee is so expensive. (Common pricing for overnight boarding in a kennel is $40-$60 per night in San Francisco.)

  2. Everyone has a long-term travel plan. (Longer than 5 days)

  3. Finding a friend's to board pet is not convenient. (How much to pay? Will this disturb your friends? If I want to check the status of pets regularly, Is it very rude?)



Swap app

Swap is a platform that collects both pet parents' needing and free time, and connect them together for pets boarding. Our goal is to help them find a cheap and convenient way to board their pets. It's an efficient and simple way to offer you a perfect match.




​We provide an overview of the application, so it's easier for you to understand the mental model of SWAP. We use virtual currency(CROWN) instead of money. In order to enhance the experience of people helping each other, rather than using money to buy services. You can get crown by helping other parents. At the same time, you need to spend the credit when you need help.


By filling you and your pets’ detailed information, you have higher chance to match with other owner. We provide fast way to post a requirement. And people can find you on the home page.


A separate calendar feature allows you to receive alerts from the software. You can view information about pets and pictures in it every day. The software also comes with a chat feature that allows you to communicate with the sitter in a timely manner.


If you become a sitter,  you need to update pet‘s status every day to complete the boarding task. You no longer have to worry about the pet.





Market Research

The average cost charged by dog boarding kennels is $30 to $50 per nightwith most pet owners spending $40. Weekly boarding rates start at $150while monthly prices cost $500 on average. In 2017, $69.51 billion was spent on pets boarding in the U.S. Pet Services. Overall, finding the right dog boarding option for your dog will depend mainly on what’s available in your area and your personal preferences.


Empathy Maps & Semantic Profiles

Most parents solve their needs by looking for a boarding service. There are several ways can do: Dog Kennel, Hospital & Vet Boarding, In-Home Boarding, Dog Sitting. But each way will bring more or less concerns to the pet owner.

1. Contagious Diseases

Boarding your dog involves having it spend the entire time with other dogs whose health history you’re unaware of. With all the highly infectious diseases floating around, you’re justified to worry. One of the most contagious dog diseases is kennel cough.  Kennel cough spreads through the aerosols released by a dog when it coughs. Contaminated items such as food bowls and direct contact are other ways that a dog can get infected.

2. Kennel Syndrome

Kennel syndrome, also known as “kennelosis,” is the behavior that a dog assumes when it’s in survival mode. It comes about when a dog spends most hours in the kennel. Yes, prolonged kenneling can drive your dog crazy. Kennel syndrome manifests in either extreme aggression or extreme submission. If your pooch is in a boarding facility that kennels them for long, then it stands a chance of developing kennel syndrome.

3. Dog Traumatized After Boarding

Boarding facilities differ a lot in schedules and dog handling. Taking your dog to a boarding kennel might result in unforeseen behavioral changes depending on how they interact with other dogs and how the kennel staff treats it. Mostly, the stress is a result of the dog being kenneled with other strange dogs and the noise from all the dogs’ barking.

4. Is it really a good idea to keep your dog with friends?

Due to some of the above concerns, many dog owners choose to leave the dog for the care of friends. This is the best way for an emergency, but it seems to be not a thoughtful choice for recurring needs. How much to pay? Will this disturb your friends? If I want to check the status of pets regularly, Is it very rude?

Semantic profiles measure people's attitudes about products, services, experiences, concepts, and similar entities. They are used to compare how different pet parents think and feel about entities.


Persona info: age/ gender/ status/ location/ story/ motivations/ pain point.



Due to cost constraints, the pet's status cannot be communicated in a foster care center on time.


If you let your friends take care of your pets for a while, It is not convenient to confirm your pets' status usually.

Due to the labor cost, the rent and other hidden fees are high, so the pet's foster price is very high.

If you find a friend to help, it will be too embarrassing to talk about the price.  It seems not good for friendship.


If your social circle is small, it is difficult to find a friend to help.


Pet parent wants to know the status of the pet immediately.

People feel that pet boarding price is not worth and hopes to find another way to lower the price.

People feel it's hard to find a suitable friend to help.

How might we?

If we design a transparent, efficient system for the owner?

If we can use shared resources to reduce costs?

If we can broaden our social circle, it is not limited to friends we know?

How might we design a transparent, cheap, efficient way to board their pets?



During the class, I did brainstorming with classmates, then I formatted 9 ideas into the IDEO innovation worksheet. Among them, I gradually narrowed down into one final idea — “Swap”, a digital app.

Finalize Idea

Asking for feedback is an efficient way to confirm and iterate concepts. By presenting our findings and ideas to people, we gradually simplified our strategy — connect pet parents together to build a platform for them to help each other. 

How does it work?

Visual Identity

It took a while for me to think about what kind of feeling I wanted to give Swap as a brand. Finally, I decided to make it warmer and more friendly which is the same as the concept of Swap.

Inspiration 1

Inspiration 2

Inspiration 3

Size comparition/ Fonts/ Color system

Wireframes & Usability Tests

After designing wireframes, I kept running usability tests to ask about what they liked, what they didn’t like, the problems they found, and ideas that came out. Based on the feedback I got, I generated a clearer user flow.

Sketch 1.0

Usability Test 1.0

Test Results:

Through previous interviews and critique, I found that Swap users are complex. Because it is a collaborative app, users are divided into two camps: the user (the person who needs help) and the server (the person who provides the service). So at the beginning I tried to imitate the taxi software like uber or lift, separating the user and the server in two independent apps. But I found that my target users are not the same. The roles of my target users are often exchanged, and pet boarding service is not used as often as taxi applications. So I decided to combine both functions in one application and simplify the user's steps to make the software easier to use.

At the same time, I used virtual currency in the application to help users trade and save money. Users can help other users take care of their pets to get virtual currency. And when they need help, they can also spend virtual money in exchange for services.



Walk Through

Thanks for watching

© 2020 by Jiahao Studio.