My Role: User research, data analysis, wireframe design, UX/UI design and user test.
CatSelfie is a mobile application that helps cat owners take awesome selfies with their pet. When you are using CatSelfie, a layer of real-time animation effect is shown on your screen which helps to catch the cat’s attention. You still can monitor your selfie picture behind the effect layer at the same time. Besides, this app also has the one-click auto beautify function, If you want, this app can brighten your eyes, whiten your teeth and remove your skin flaws by only one click. Expressing the pretties side of you has never been easier.
As a cat owner, I love to share my pet picture on Instagram, but I also know how difficult it is to capture a perfect picture of my cat. They can be distracted by something else, or do not want to cooperate, or just cannot stay still. I personally find taking a picture with pets to be very hard, especially when I try to take a selfie with my cat, it is like a mission impossible: using one hand to hold a camera and the other to hold a cat who struggling so hard.
This project is an individual work I made for my personal interest. I did all the jobs such as research, user interviews, frame works, prototype and animation/video editing.
FINDING PROBLEM – Identify a problem worth solving.
As an animal lover, I love to check cute animal pictures on all kinds photo sharing website. But as a cat owner, sometimes I feel jealous of people who post such perfect pet pictures.
It is because when I try to take a nice of my cat, things never goes well. I personally find taking a perfect picture with pets is very hard, especially when I try to take a selfie with my cat: using one hand to hold a camera and the other to hold her. I talked to my friends who have cat as their pet, and found out they have this same struggle as well.
However, I understand why it is difficult to capture a perfect picture of animals: they can be distracted by something else, or do not want to play along with us, or the animal nature just cannot stay still.
I want to design a Application help me and other people to take good photos for their beloved cats easier.
- Desk Research
Facts about cat ownership in the U.S:
According to APPA, it’s estimated that 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 30-37% of all households in the U.S have a cat. From this form we can see, 56% of cat owners consider their cats to be family members, 41.5% consider their cats to be pets or companions and only 2.4% of them see their cats as property.
On the other hand, I got above number when I try to search a cat picture on Instagram:
There are more than 100million pictures have been posted with the tag #cat, 560 thousand pictures are tagged with #catselfie and only 21 thousand are tagged #selfiewithcat. Famous cat Nala has more than 3.1 million followers on Instagram and she got 70k likes per post.
Megatrends mean long-term trends that reflect various fields including society, culture, and people can glance at future that what can happen.
On this case, since the problem I am trying to solve is cat owner feel difficult to take a perfect picture for their beloved pet, the trend research I made is mainly focused on what kind equipment people prefer to use to record their lives and how they share those pictures now and future.
Capturing a good picture by using a smartphone is the most common thing we do every day. According to the New York Times, “Everyone can be an artist, because everyone can take a photograph with a smart phone.” Compare to professional equipment, smartphone is portable, easy and quick to use. Technology has made it easier for ordinary people to create things, more people become creators. When you browsing on Flickr or Instagram, you may find that tons of amazing photos are taken by smartphone. More and more people will give up the professional cameras, instead, they will use a smart phone and editing apps to produce high quality pictures.
- Social Network
Since the concept of “network society” was proposed by Manuel Castells in 1996, new media and network communication have become important research issues in the field of communication and media study. The Internet and digital technology has changed the broadcasting model of Stuart’s “Encoding/Decoding”. Today, social networks, blogs, photo-sharing websites give an opportunity to the audience being content producers. In today’s time, when all records of one person’s habits, his likes and dislikes, are either stored on paper. All those information can be found on social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram, and we are volunteerly put them all out there.
Why are people willing to share so much information online?
As an audience:
Abercrombie and Longhurst raised the theory of “diffused audiences”, which is a very different type of audience-experience produced by further fundamental social and cultural changes. These two scholars believe in contemporary society, everybody plays a role of audience anytime and anywhere. Being an audience is no longer an exceptional event, nor an everyday event. Rather it is constitution of everyday life. (N. Abercrombie and B. Longhurst, 1998, p. 68)
As a performer:
Our society is a “performative society’ as called by Kershaw (1994). In this sense, performance has been distinguished from theatre. In other words, there is some extent of performance involved in several human mundane activities. In the virtual community, users may pretend to be some kind of person which they cannot be in the real world.
Social Media is a platform that allows its users to share their personal lives with others online (in turn inspiring and encouraging interaction – interactivity, is in fact the key selling point of Social Media – its users are “rewarded” in the form of social comments and new social connection which drives them to keep disclosing their personal details).
I conducted interviews with 7 cat owners who are not professional photographer and love to share or see other’s sharing of pet pictures. In order to explore their processes and emotions regarding cat documentation and sharing.
These interviews were very interesting, I gained really interesting insights and heard great stories.
- Taking a good photo for cat is hard enough, but taking a selfie with them is much harder.
- Cat owners love to take a picture with their beloved pet, but they hate to force their cat to play along with.
- The reason why some cats shy away from camera is because they feel insecure.
- Do not use flash light, it might hurt cats’ eyes.
- It is very difficult to take a good picture for black cat.
- Need a beauty filter, both cat and its owner should look good on that pic.
- They can be very easily distracted by something else.
- Redefining The Need: Selfie
After talking to those cat owners, we all agree that taking a good photo of cats is difficult indeed. It may require dozen times trying or may require others’ help, but it eventually can be accomplished. The trickiest part of taking a good photo of cat, it’s taking selfie with them. How to use two hands to control a cat and a camera at the same time, it is the hardest thing ever. So, I re-identified the users’ need and decided to make this project focus on the selfie feature.
- Main Challenges:
- How can you catch cats’ attention? How to make them look at the camera?
- How to make both pet and owner look amazing at the same time?
- How to meet the showing/sharing need of users?
- High Light Features:
- Attention attracting effect.
- One-click auto beautify effect.
- Share feature.
Brainstorming & Ideation
To find the most efficient way to catch cats’ attentions, I did a lot of research about the nature of cats, tried to find out all potential solutions such as using food or toy to allure cats. Then I test all those possible solutions on several cats, here is the results and conclusions.
Use their favorite snack to bait them, almost every cat has fallen. They even decided to cooperate with the photo shooting.
The only flaw is you have to carry cat food anywhere just in case you want to take a selfie.
At the very beginning, all cats showed their interests to others on the screen. All they did were just watching and observing.
But they also lost interest, move on and mind their own business very quickly.
Cats do not respond to every day common sounds, such as the sound of footsteps or clapping hands.
But they do respond to some special sounds they do not hear every day, for example, we tried the sound effects of vacuum, screams and dog bark.
But some cats may be scared when they hear strange sound.
Cats show great interest in toys. When we wave it in front of them, almost every cat can not resist to reach out and catch the moving toy.
I think using cat toy is a very effective way to attract cats’ attentions. However, the reason of the toy is attractive is because it is moving, so I am afraid it may cause some trouble when we try to shot a perfect and stable photo.
I created an animation that simulate an irregular movement of laser light on a black background. And we played the animation for each cat.
It turns out this is the best method to catch cats’ attentions. All cat seems unable to reject the magic bright moving spot, they cannot move their eyes away from the screen, and some cats even tried to catch the red dot.
I believe it is the best solution to help us taking perfect cat photos.
Prototyping is iterating ideas to make the best experience for users. In this step, a journey map is help to build the comprehensive journey that can enhance value of its features and giving the thoughtful experience to people who are trying to take a selfie with their cat.
CatSelfie is a smartphone application, its key features are designed to meet users’ needs – to take a good selfie with their cats. To provide the best experience for them, I iterated the journey map couple of rounds.
Actual experiences were made for each screens. Hand sketching gave me a lot of opportunity to iterate and pivot ideas when necessary and it was great tool for communicate.
Making Wireframe & UI Screen
I made some real-time animations to catch cat’s attentions, hope them can focus on screen and allow their owners take a good selfie. Besides the laser light effect I mentioned before, I think the animations of Schrödinger’s crazy head and rainbow Nyan cat are very interesting and attractive to cat and human as well. Click each button, the relevant animation will be triggered and played on your smart phone.
High Light Features:
- A layer of Real-time animation effect will be shown on your screen which helps to catch the cat’s attention.When your cat is too busy staring at the laser light or Schrödinger’s crazy head to refuse your selfie request, you know it is the perfect moment to press the shutter!
- One click auto beautify effect. Who wants to have an embarrassed selfie? Nobody! If you like, this app can brighten your eyes, whiten your teeth and remove your skin flaws by only one click. Expressing the pretties side of you has never been easier.
- One click to share! When you are done editing, you can share to popular social sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat right from CatSelfie. Invite your friends to view and play, you will never be bored again!
More successful test shots!