Sniffer - A 'Dog Friendly Restaurant' Finder

Design for Improving Dining Experiences

The project aimed at redefining dining experiences by discovering interesting user stories and experience touch points that would form the building blocks for developing a new product or service. The scope of the project was open to interpretation based on the user’s behavior, needs & frustrations identified during the research phase.


  • Researcher
  • User Experience Designer
  • Visual Designer

Skills & Tools

  • User Interview & Observation
  • Sketching for Storyboarding & Ideation
  • Sketch for Visual Design
  • Marvel & Invision for Prototyping

User Research

The Design challenge mainly focuses on identifying a dining scenario and understanding the user’s emotions, attitudes, motivations and needs within the selected context. I chose to observe and study my favourite bagel shop, Einstein bagels. To me it always represented a bagel culture where people of all age groups come to relax, eat, catch up with friends and also work by themselves. It's a quick bite option for those on the move like busy professionals who want to grab a coffee before they head to work, or people returning from active morning routines. It's also famous for its delivery and takeaway options.

The research goal was to observe the cafe from different customer journey touchpoints such as menu & ordering, checkout, condiment area, seating, environment and service. A wide variety of customers were interviewed in order to study and analyze the common pros and cons of the current dining experience.

Affinity & Persona Empathy Mapping

The dining challenge was not about the site but more about identifying common problems users face in similar scenarios. Observation and Interview results generated few unique categories based on which a persona was built and probable user expectations were drawn to develop key product ideas.

Patterns identified

  • Ordering System
  • Seasonal Decor
  • Signage and Labels
  • Furry Friends
  • Kristie needs a 'fast and easy ordering system' because she would like to make efficient use of her limited time at the cafe.
  • Kristie needs an 'easier way to know about new seasonal selections' because she feels the need to decide quickly, especially during peak hours.
  • Kristie needs to 'know about doggie bagels' because she likes to treat her dog occasionally

Of all of the above persona expectations I chose to go with the third which was the most unique and compelling one and created a new 'point of view statement' for Kristen.

Exploring Product Ideas

In order to stay on track while brainstorming for ideas, I rephrased the 'Point of view' statement into a 'how might we' Question. Interesting solutions were listed and categorized using the '4 category' and 'bingo' methods


Brochure distributed at neighborhood pet stores, providing information about dog-friendly restaurants, treats & coupons.


Mobile app that helps locate dog friendly restaurants and further connects to each site and lists treats and facilities available.


Outdoor covered patio area designated for dogs with dining and play zones for neighborhood dogs and their owners to socialize.


Collars with tracking system to register dog with the neighborhood restaurants to familiarize dogs with the specific restaurants.

Paper Prototyping & Testing

The digital prototype solution from the above list was selected for the rapid prototyping and user testing phase. Testing protocol was divided into 3 main tasks to analyze metrics such as ease of use, lostness and User Testing results were captured into a Feedback Grid

Task 1

Open the app and start to explore top recommendations in your neighborhood

Task 2

Use filters and try to finding the best options with an open patio.

Feedback from test round 1


  • Simple and useful
  • Filter reset
  • List and map toggle


  • No Like and save options!


  • Can I (user) get information about dog related events?
  • Can we (user) report a restaurant for abuse?


  • User can be given access to update restaurant info.
  • User can post photos of their experience.

Task 3

Add the restaurant you like to favourites

Task 4

Review a restaurant

Feedback from test round 2


  • Review/Report abuse option is great


  • local dog events not working in filters, move to search options


  • Can I find restaurants near pet stores and clinics?


  • Add discounts and seasonal offers as a section


Sign up for new account and set your profile, fido's profile, location etc.

Search, Filters, Select

Select category restaurnt & search for Phara's restaurant with features like play area for Fido, within 2miles of your current location by applying appropriate filters

Deals and Discounts

View available deals on Phara's page, get voucher and save it for later

What I learned

The overall experience if this project was intersence yet enjoyable, took me back to basics and opened my mind to the following (image:below)

I approached this project initially with an idea of improving the ordering system at Einstein bagels but research directed the entire define & design phase towards an unual user category and that is the key inspiration for Sniffer.

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