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No cats

An online magazine for people and their pets.


Collaborators: Karen Au, Ruth Wylie
Duration: Two weeks, HCII Interface and Interaction Design Project
Artifacts: Process Book Site

No cats is an online magazine for people and their pets. using research methods such as directed story-telling, brick and mortar observations, and competitive analysis, we designed a personzlized web experience that allows dog owners to establish and maintain their community as well as become better, more responsible owners.


Understanding the user is an essential step in good design. we used a variety of research methods to develop a clear understanding of who our users are, what our users desire, and ways to personalize the experience.

Directed story telling

Directed storytelling is a process designed to capture users' mental models of the current process and develop an understanding of their informational and emotional needs. through directed storytelling we were able to quickly capture the most significant themes of the experience of owning a dog.

Summary of findings

  • dogs as family

    dogs are members of the family and extensions of their owners. just as with other personal relationships, decisions are often based on both emotional and rational decisions.

  • two main types of dog owners (shelter vs breeder) – both need information but of different kinds

    people have consistent ways of describing their dogs. if they got their dog from a breeder, they usually lead with this information. while those who adopt from a shelter are quick to point this out. this difference extends beyond the adoption process and influences the type of information users want and need.

  • owners want multiple opinions before trusting the decision/recommendation

    several people mentioned that they consulted a variety of resources (e.g. friends, vets, websites) before making final decisions about their dog. whether it be deciding which new dog food to try or how to treat a disease, owners want information from several sources before making a decision.

  • balance of control and decision-making

    owners want to feel competent and in control. they seek information and resources that allow this to happen. owners often don't want to simply be told what to do but want to be a part of the decision-making process. our design will accommodate this goal by presenting users with sufficent, trustworthy information allowing them to make informed decisions.

  • people have different reasons for choosing to get dog/ways of interacting with them

    not all dog owners are created equal. our design recognizes and embraces each owner's uniqueness by creating a personalized website tailored for each user's specific needs.

To further our understanding we did bring and mortar observation to capture how users currently approach the task, outside of the web interface. these findings lead to understanding both the limitations and potentials of moving a real-world transaction to an online environment. We also performed competitive analysis to understand what are people doing now? what resources, both online and tangible, do people use?. See Process Book Site for more detail.


Our final design is a personalized website where dog lovers come to get information, share information, and build community. the site helps owners reach their goals of becoming better dog owners by helping them stay informed and connected. each bubble on the homepage can be expanded to see more information. the following shows all the replies to an invitation to a gathering at the beach.

The site also provides detailed and personalized reviews on local dog-friendly establishments. in addition to providing 'dogspert' or official reviews, the site also shows reviews from friends and other important information.finally since our research showed that establishing and maintaining community is a goal of our users, no cats supports this by facilitating event planning and invitations. Finally since our research showed that establishing and maintaining community is a goal of our users, no cats supports this by facilitating event planning and invitations.