bay area barks persona overview

Bay Area Barks User Experience: Design through Discovery – Chapter 1

In the sixteen years I’ve worked in the field of web design and development, the most successful projects followed the User Experience (UX) building blocks of Discovery, Strategy and Design.

Without a UX process to guide new applications and update existing applications, the team WILL miss key features and waste time doing rework. (See for an excellent explanation and tutorial on the UX process.)

To demonstrate UX best practices in action, I’ve created a blog series outlining the creation of a fictitious dog walking application called “Bay Area Barks”.

Bay Area Barks Application Description

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to over 7 million people with beautiful national parks and ocean vistas. It also has a wonderful mediterranean climate allowing year-round hiking availability.

Bay Area Barks helps dog owners find fun walks appropriate for a dog’s breed and age, with the ability to search for local leash laws and terrain information.


Drawing on my many decades of dog ownership and participation in Greyhound Rescue, I created the following personas for Bay Area Barks:

Mary has relocated from Chicago to Mountain View, CA and wants to resume her weekend hikes with her dog.

Unlike hiking around Chicago, the SF Bay area has steep terrain and rattlesnakes! Mary would like to know what kind of trail she’s headed out on before she goes.


Martin has just adopted a 2 year old Border Collie with a high energy level. He needs to find some challenging trails to work off some of the new dog’s energy on the weekends, but can jog with the dog during the week.


Megan’s 9 year old Labrador Retriever still loves his walks, but can’t handle the steep grades of the mountain trails at his age.

Megan wants to find some flat trails for her older dog but isn’t sure where to start.


Michael and his dog had a bad experience at a dog park that resulted in stitches for both MIchael and the dog! Now that everyone has healed up, Micheal and his dog want to exercise where dogs are required to be on leash.

It’s very important to Michael that the trails he hikes enforce a six foot leash law so aggressive dogs can be bought under control quickly.

Next post I’ll discuss the Bay Area Barks customer journey map.