run wild, fren

run wild, fren

The Inspiration

In the middle of 2022, run wild, fren began as an idea while I was with my dog Lil’ Chips at a dog park. An interesting thing I learned about a dog park is that it can feel like a community the more you visit it. Over time, you get to know the visitors and learn a lot about their lives with their dogs. One of the most common topics I always hear about was where to take our dogs beyond the usual spots.

After doing some research myself, I found that there were already several existing apps that solved the problem. Still, many of them needed improvements not only in their visual design but also in their experience.

Before I started this project, I spent weeks visiting different parks and talking to dog parents to understand their habits, needs, and current frustrations with finding new places to explore with their dogs.

Capturing a feeling of warmth and playfulness

When sketching out the design, I wanted to convey the experience of spending time with your dog. Dogs make people happy and allow them to spend more time outdoors. With this in mind, I went with a friendly, warm, comforting, and playful theme.

From doing research, I learned that dogs are highly attracted to the color yellow so I used that as the primary color of my design. Besides using colors found in nature, I also went with softer shapes and playful layouts to drive the point home.

Setting it apart from existing apps

With plenty of apps already out there, I had to consider how to set it apart from them. I created a matrix to list out my top competitors to understand their strengths and weaknesses. I also went back to my synthesized notes of conversations with other pet parents.

One thing that stood out to me was that people chose a particular location based on a series of criteria. For instance, people wanted to know if a place has shade or whether they had a separate space for smaller dogs to play. I presented this information in the easiest way possible through fun icons and simple keywords.

I also learned that reviews play a huge role in how people make decisions. With many type of rating systems out there, I considered what would make the most sense to our audience.

After going through several reviews online from different review apps, the most common concerns that pet parents talked about were safety, cleanliness, and the size of the area. Having a rating scale was helpful, but I also wanted to provide context about how the rating was made.

Where we are now

Though this project was so much fun to build, the biggest challenge I have is getting it out there for people to use. I don’t have a team of developers and marketing experts to help me promote it. I had to build everything from the ground up including front and back-end programming, scouting locations and gathering information, photography, managing social media, and even writing content.

This project has challenged me in many ways but I enjoyed brainstorming ideas, creating a sustainable design system, and of course, I get to explore new places with Lil’ Chips!

As of this moment, I’m focusing on boosting organic growth through SEO by optimizing content and writing articles. run wild, fren is still a work in progress. If you want to see more of it, check out the live website here.