The problem space for spark was simple: walking your dog is a great way to get out, meet people, and explore the city; we wanted to enhance it through a system which would help with each of those core elements of the activity.
The Spark app tied together the hardware components of spark to help dog owners build community, stay fit, and ensure the excellent health of their canine companions. The app did this through 3 primary user flows accessible from the home screen, Walk (above left), Social (center), and Metrics (right). Wherever the user is in the Spark app tapping their avatar in the top left takes them back to the home screen.
A user journey (above) was developed using one of the personas which helped to align the stakeholders as well as to inform the direction and features of the app, in it you can see some of the significant milestones in the use of the Spark system.
The primary feature of Spark was taking your dog for a walk and meeting people while you did it. (Above) is the user flow of going for one of your favorite walks, (below) are the Hot and Discover screens displaying walks popular with other users or new walks by distance.
Whenever the user meets someone they may choose to create a friend request through a handshake, these requests and friends you have made are found in the Shakes menu through the social functionality of Spark.
One of Sparks primary user facing objectives was to foster community, and so its social functionality was intended to allow you to make friends by walking your dog. You can see if your friends are out for a walk or invite them to walk from this screen, walk requests and scheduled walks are managed through the scheduled tab.
Scheduling with spark is easy, any time you initiate a walk with the go button you can invite friends and schedule for a time in the future.
The Spark system is accessible through just the app, however there are also two hardware components if the user would like to augment and their quantified selves through more granular data collection.
The Spark Band and Collar track exertion and ergonomics while also enhancing social functionality. An accelerometer in the collar not only counts your pets steps but also establishes a healthy baseline of movement for your dog and then tracks changes against this baseline, if there is a deviation it notifies the user so they can take appropriate action (below). The wearable band has NFC technology which tracks handshakes with other users, creating an automated friend request that may be accepted later via the phone app. At the time of the development of the hardware heart rate tracking through the wrist was not widespread or reliable, however if I was to design it again today the Spark Band would also include a heart rate sensor.
The analytics section of the Spark app (above) displays information, and also acts as a gateway to purchase if the user does not already own Spark's hardware components. In addition to collecting data the app may also make suggestions based on past activity or your dogs particular breed, here it connects the user with an affiliate brand of dog food and suggests particular walks.
Spark was a group project I was a part of in my third year at Emily Carr, at the time I worked primarily on the industrial design of the system, after the term was over I went back to the project and designed an app intended to tie the system together.
I was lucky to work with a great team on spark, many of the features in the app were conceived during the initial brainstorming sessions and I couldn't have done it without the expertise of Vivian Lin, Cindy Chen, Ryan White, and JJ Mah. This process photo and the other photos of the system in use were taken by JJ Mah, Ryan White mocked up an original App which inspired the splash and login screen, and the circular motif seen throughout the app was inspired by Vivan Lin's research on encirclement.
After the term was over I went back to what we had done to develop the Spark App. The App was intended to have a wide range of functionality and was also a social app; this combination is a recipe for sprawl (what if it was like Facebook ect...), so throughout the development of the app I tried to emphasize focus and simplicity by starting with spaghetti and pairing it down throughout the project.
After research and rough sketches to keep things fluid I moved over to photoshop to coalesce insights into something a little more structured, creating a rough layout with artboards and then sketching overtop to refine.
After getting a better overview of the rough framework I began to refine each screen in the wireframe. Many screens were discarded or merged and I began to rough out transition animations between them.
With a good idea of broad strokes I jumped into specific user flows fleshing out the screens for each, moving feature by feature from left to right. As I refined each flow I tried to condense and simplify it as well to keep things as simple and frictionless as possible, some screens were removed and others combined.
Working with the team on the original project I lead the development of the hardware components, with sketching, rapid prototyping, and CAD for evaluation and presentation.