The Able Project
LOCATION: Muncie, Indiana
ROLE: Creative Director, Designer, Researcher
Inconsistent class schedules coupled with part-time (or even full-time) employment can pose many challenges to pet owners in college. Often times students adopt animals impulsively and later find that they are unable to care for them financially, mentally, and/or physically. This not only poses risks to the wellbeing of the animal but can also cause academic problems for the student as they try to balance more things than they have time for.
U.S. animal care centers in college towns have reported seeing surges in animal adoptions at the beginning of each academic year. In contrast to the increase in adoptions, they have also seen surges in the abandonment of such animals at the end of each academic year. Students surrendering their pets at local shelters have given a wide range of explanations for their decisions, including new jobs and family members with allergies.
In order to prevent pet abandonments by college students, we first have to prevent irresponsible adoptions. The Able Project is intended to provide college-age students in the Muncie, Indiana area with the general awareness of the money and time needed to care for different types of pets, in hopes of (a) pairing students with the right companion or (b) aiding them in making the decision to wait until they are more prepared to make the commitment.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISEMENT
Social media advertising appears on Facebook, populated for users within the age and location demographics who have made pet related searches online. This advertisement serves as a means to drive traffic to the website using a call to action to take a quiz that will help determine the best pet type for the user. After the quiz is completed, users are prompted with another call to action to download the app.
WEBSITE AND APP DESIGN
The Able Project website and app address four main points. Firstly, the app provides users with the information needed to make an informed decision about owning a pet. Users are prompted to take a quiz which will gage their available time, money, activity level, etc. against different pet species with the intention of pairing them with an animal that will be well suited to their lifestyle … weather that be a 120lbs dog or a 0.02lbs goldfish. Secondly, the app contains a breakdown of each of the most common household pet species (and breeds) providing detailed information about how to care for them and what additional time and expense commitments might arise. The third and fourth functions of the app are targeted towards those who have already adopted animals and are in need of more resources. The third is a GPS locator for different facilities that might come in handy, i.e. pet supply stores, veterinarians (particularly those that specialize in specific areas of veterinary medicine), boarding/daycare facilities. And fourthly, a functionality that actually helps pet owners find suitable housing while they are living completing their degrees at Ball State.