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“Empire State Strays”

Creators: Hayley, Dalila, and Grace
Middle School Students from Mouse Design League (DIIT) at the Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria
Screen Shot 2022 05 13 at 12 01 53 PM

About this Project:

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that New York has a huge stray problem. No matter what borough you’re in, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ve seen a stray cat duck beneath a car and out of sight, or maybe a stray dog sitting outside of a building. Our app aims to fix this by providing people with a safe and easy way to report stray animals.

When we started creating the wireframe for our app, one of our biggest struggles was deciding on a look that worked well for the tone of our app and something simplistic for our users of all ages. We went back and forth with a color scheme that conveyed certain emotions to help our users feel pity and want to help save stray animals. This was a decision we made after having the colors be bright and happy (light pinks, blues, etc). Another big change we made to our app was the name. Originally it was named ‘Save the Strays’ and then we decided to change it to ‘Empire State Strays’ to give it a more professional feel.

Project Media


Screen Shot 2022 05 13 at 12 01 53 PM Screen Shot 2022 05 13 at 12 02 05 PM Screen Shot 2022 05 13 at 12 02 16 PM



More About this Project

Our prototype was created for the intended use of mobile devices only due to it being an app for phones. It does not look as intended on a laptop so viewing it on phones is the best option.

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Community Feedback:

Great Design
Makes Me Think

Feedback from the Judges:

Caroline Espinal
👏 Manager & Designer at NERD Escapes — Emoti-Con Judge
Very lovely project! As a proud mama of two rescued cats, I love seeing such an innovative approach to helping the strays in our city. Great job applying feedback and having a good focus on the design of the app as well! Building something easy to navigate and visually appealing will continue to show your understanding of how important UI (User Interface Design) is to growing your audience!

Nice work building the design around how your audience can use it to connect the community and work together to make NYC a better place to live in, for both humans and pets!

Eileen Marks DiFabio
👏 Instructional technology director at NYCDOE — Emoti-Con Judge
This project presents a great solution for a very common issue. I love how you considered how to positively impact both strays and our citizens. I am wondering how you might use the map even more? For example, could the map ping to local non kill shelters when a stray is found? Great job soliciting feedback from your peers and incorporating this into your project. I also think it is great that you included a fundraising piece.

Robert Bertagna
👏 Product Manager at RIA in a Box — Emoti-Con Judge
Hi Hayley, Dalila, and Grace - great job creating a feature rich site that tackles a problem near and dear to your hearts. During your video presentation, it was clear you had done the thought work of putting yourself in the shoes on your future users. By considering the needs and circumstances of your users, you were able to design an application to cater to various use cases. Additionally, I love the catchy yet clear name!

As a next step, I'd encourage you consider the use case of someone who lost their pet. How would they report their lost animal? How could that interact with your systems for reporting sightings of strays? How could you help these users find their pets? Overall, great work and I'd love to have something like this the next time I see a lost pet!

Miguel Asse
👏 Product and Business Strategy Lead, Analytics at Google — Emoti-Con Judge
Great job! I really liked how you combined user research and feedback, incorporating design principles (color) and had a great demo that was recorded. Having the flexibility to take feedback and alter your design approach and decisions is really important to development.

Overall great job! One thought on how to improve would be including users to upload photos of strays and details they could provide to help assist no-kill shelters with identification.

Feedback from the Community:

Em 👏 a Middle School Student
I love your idea. This will benefit the city in positive ways.
Randy 👏 a Middle School Student
This app really takes an initiative when it comes to the problem of strays in nyc. I would love to help rescue strays so I really like this app!
Gregor 👏 a Technology Professional
Bianca 👏 a Technology Professional
I think this app can be extreamly beneficial to the city and help save thousands of stray animals. As someone who loves animals and sees many strays daily, I would definitely use this app! Great job!
Danyell Tonka 👏 a High School Student
What an amazing idea! This is by far the most creative app i have seen!
Dalila 👏 a Middle School Student from Empire State Strays
Hi Robert,

From a design point of view, I could definitely see a feature like that being added to our app. Ideally, it would allow users to report their own lost animals and attach an image. Additionally, any reported strays would have their images and information added to the 'Adopt' page of our app within a few days, where owners can filter by where the animal was found, the type or breed of the animal, and other specifics in order to identify if their lost pet was reported as a stray. From there, they could contact the shelter it was reported to and retrieve their animal.

Thank you for your question!
- Dalila, Empire State Strays
Jordhan 👏 a High School Student from Staten Island
I love the beautiful design of your app. I could really see myself using this on a day to day basis. I'm rooting for you guys!
Marybelle :D 👏 a Middle School Student
I lvoe this app!
Chasen 👏 a Community Member from Empire State Strays
incredibl e

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