Never stop walking.
As my app is created for dog walkers it was obvious I would be spending a lot of time on dog walks to observe my users, conduct some user testing and collect photos of my app in use. Observation became a big part of my design process to really understand my users needs.
During my research I went on many walks with Harry and Barra individually to observe their experience and behaviours when out on a walk to see what I could learn about my users. I focused my observations heavily on Harry in the early stages as I had a lot of access to him during that period of my design process. I also had a personal relation to Harry's owner which created a good environment for observing and conversations. Harry was the biggest inspiration for my walk filters due to his walking experience and how it can be very different to most other dogs. Whilst observing Harry it was clear how much his sore paw effected his walking ability and also how far he could walk and how long for. He had to be walked in areas that had grass as he found it too difficult to walk on hard surfaces as it was very painful, this also meant that his owner had to drive to locations to start his walk as he lived in an urban environment, this is what inspired my starting point filter as it was clear that sometimes owners have to start at different locations for various reasons.
In contrast to my walks with Harry I also went on many walks with Barra which were very energy filled and training focused on the most part, these walks were also a lot longer and varied in location. It was different to see how much time went into naturally training Barra to be more obedient during walks when coming across other walkers, dogs or farm animals as he lives in a rural setting. This is what mainly inspired me to add in the prompts during a walk to offer the opportunity to add obedience training.
My observations were a large part of my research process and it allowed me to have to opportunity to talk to my users whilst in this setting, It allowed me to collect some valued insights early on in my research phase.