Tag Abandoned Seal Pups on the Beach to Save Them

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Image by Neil Cooper

1. About the Project

Personal Project Simon Moos as part of Talent Garden's UX Design Bootcamp

Duration: 2 weeks

Tools: Pen and paper, Figma

 

The product of my personal project is an app called Seal Spotter that helps users to tag abandoned seal pups if they find them on the beach.
Using GPS and the option to add photos of the exact location helps to rescue the animals in the quickest and most secure manner without being intrusive and disturbing them.

 

The Problem

Abandonded seal pups (“Heuler”) are endangered and usually need external help to survive without their mothers. Since they often strand in protected landscapes or wildlife sanctuaries, they cannot be spotted precisely in most cases. It is crucial not to disturb or even touch the seal pups.

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Image by Robert Katzki
Vision

The most important trait of the app for me was that it should have purpose.

I also wanted the app to have a certain playful look but it should still be clear that the purpose of the product is serious.

Value Proposition

The main purpose of the app is Animal Safety, Environment Protection and Education.


Concrete goals included:

  • Locating the seal pups precicely without disturbing them

  • The app also includes options to donate, a shop, and information about facilities (see section 4).

 
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2. Product Definition

Fig. 1: Tag a Seal Feature

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3. Research & Analysis​

Research Overview

Research was conducted in person and remotely using a questionnaire with the following ten questions:

 

  1. ​​Did you ever encounter an abandoned seal pup?

  2. What would you do if you would find an abandoned seal pup?

  3. Why do you think so many seal pups get separated from their mothers?

  4. What do you think happens to abandoned seal pups?

  5. Do you think an app for rescuing abandoned seal pups would be useful?

  6. Why do you think people would use this app?

  7. Can you imagine using this app?

  8. Do you use apps that serve an educational purpose?

  9. How do you think an app for saving seal pups should be designed?

  10. What do you think the app should include apart from the main feature?

Research Findings

The answers of the questionnaire resulted in the following findings:

  • The app must be simple and easy to use

  • The app should be educational

  • Good purpose of the app is important

  • Further information about the operator would be useful

  • Getting feedback about the rescued seals would be great

  • Including a shop would be nice

Personas

Out of the research findings three personas were created: One main persona and two secondary personas.

 
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Main Persona Olaf, 29

  • Loves to take hikes on the beach

  • Cares about the environment

  • Is a vegetarian

Biography

Olaf lives in Emden in Northern Germany. He works at the Deutsche Bahn and loves to be outside. He also very much loves to travel, especially to Scandinavia. The environment is very important to him and he regularly donates money to animal shelters.

Gains

  • Wants to save animals

  • Wants to be engaged in nature

  • Wants to have an impact on the environment

Pains

  • App should be easy to use

  • App must be applicable when you need it

  • The process to tag a seal should not take too much time

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Secondary Persona Christina, 18
  • Loves the sea

  • Likes to draw

  • Travels a lot

Gains

  • Cares about animal a lot

  • Wants to be outside

  • Wants to change the world

Pains

  • Hates complicated apps

  • Hates littering

  • Doesn’t like phone calls

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Secondary Persona Werner, 52

  • Loves cycling

  • Likes to bowl

  • Goes bird watching daily

 

Gains

  • Wants to help seals

  • Wants to save the Oceans

  • Spending more time outside

Pains

  • App must be easy to use

  • App should be for free

  • Hates apps that are slow

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4. Ideation

 

Since one of the research findings was that the app should be simple and easy to use, I tried to keep it tidy and not have too many options to not outshine the main function of the app, which is to tag a seal.

 
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Fig. 2a: Early Sketches of Main Features

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Fig. 2b: Early Sketches of Main Features

The research finding resulted in the following features of the app:

Main Features
  • Tag a Seal

  • Information and Education

  • Donation and Sponsorship

  • Shop

Main Purpose
  • Animal Safety

  • Environment Protection

  • Education

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5. Design
 
Design Principles

Prior to creating a design system, the principles on which the design of the app is based was determined by analyzing the research findings as well as Nielsen’s Usability Heuristics.

The analysis resulted in the following five design principles:

  1. Easiness

  2. Purpose

  3. Intuition

  4. Playfulness

  5. Clearness

 

Design System

Since the whole project is based around the sea and beaches, I went for a maritime color scheme with navy blue as main color and a light beige color called Baby Seal as main background color of the app. For the primary buttons and some design elements, a stroke using a dotted red and white line was chosen to resemble a life belt. For the GPS Marker to tag the seals, a light pink was chosen to stand out on the map.

For the Logo, the font style called Fisherman was chosen because of its maritime look. For the main text a slab style font (Roboto Slab) was used to give the design a classic, timesless look.

 
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Fig. 3: Color Style Guide

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Fig. 4: Font Type Style

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Fig. 5: GPS Marker, Header, Navigation Bar, and Button Design

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6. Prototype

 

Below you find the high fidelity prototype used the final user testing session.

 

Click on the image to try out the prototype yourself:

 
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Fig. 6: Final Prototype

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7. Conclusion

With the personal project, I mostly wanted to focus on the User Interface (UI) parts, starting from scratch without any specific guidelines since I'm more experienced in the whole research part.

I enjoyed the whole process of focussing only on the project for a whole two weeks and had a blast working in Figma. The project confirmed to me that I want to work in Figma professionally. 

I'm very happy to have started my personal portfolio with a project that is meaningful to me and I may even try to present the idea to a Seehundstation in Germany soon. ⚓