Service Dog Standards


Build a member-based, ecommerce website using the creative direction of the client.

Service Dog Standards is an online membership site designed to connect Trainers and Service Dog Handlers who voluntarily hold themselves and their animal accountable to a higher standard by publicly agreeing a specific set of training and behavior guidelines that go above and beyond the law.

Our job was to build the new system based off design mockups we received.

After a rough start, we realized we did not have a complete picture of the project. Key pieces were missing in the assets received. We decided to return to the drawing board with a focus on user experience. I created personas and user flows to detail each part of the system. Then I created a high-fidelity prototype in Adobe XD to demonstrate the full process. Using the prototype we were able to properly architect a system that was lean, feature-rich and scalable.

Through the user experience process we uncovered an opportunity. The focus had been on tools built for the service dog handler.  But what about the service dog trainer? That got me thinking…

  1. What if we focused on trainers instead of the service dog handler? Trainers could use the system to promote and legitimize their business.
  2. What if we used the trainers to build our member-base? We could allow them to create service dog profiles for animals they are currently training or are ready for a handler. We could build the functionality for them to hand off profiles to handlers and encourage them to accept the standards.
  3. What if trainers were incentivized to create profiles and bring handers into the community? Then as a result, ask them to purchase a certification package. Thereby using the trainers to sell our products for us.

The client loved the idea. So much so, they decided to rebrand United States Service Dog Registry to Service Dog Standards. If I’ve learned anything in the past 20 years, it’s to do your homework before starting anything. Plan slow and execute fast. The process is important because it works! This is a perfect example of outcome over output.