top of page
Indie Paws.png

Indie Paws

Indie Paws is the capstone project for my Master's degree in Human-Computer Interaction. The research project examines the cultural biases against Indie dogs as pets in India and aims to develop design solutions to promote the adoptions of these lovable dogs.

My Role

UX Designer


Jan 2022 - May 2022


Solo Project


If you've ever walked down a street in India, you've likely encountered at least half a dozen Indie dogs roaming around. Millions of Indie dogs, native to India, live on the streets, enduring harsh conditions and contributing to the spread of diseases like rabies. Despite their adaptability to the Indian climate and lower susceptibility to diseases compared to foreign breeds, Indie dogs are often neglected in favor of more fashionable foreign breeds. This preference is fueled by media influence and social status, creating a desirability bias against Indie dogs. Additionally, the lack of awareness and misinformation about the benefits of adopting Indie dogs further exacerbates the issue. The current adoption process is cumbersome, requiring in-person visits to shelters, which limits the visibility and accessibility of these dogs to potential adopters. This combination of cultural biases, misinformation, and logistical challenges results in low adoption rates, leaving millions of Indie dogs without homes and proper care.

Project Goals

1) Understand the reasons behind the desirability biases against Indie dogs in India.

2) Identify the pain points related to the dog adoption process.

3) Identify ways in which we can promote and enhance the adoption of Indie dogs.

User Research
User Research

I conducted semi-structured interviews to gather qualitative data on Indie dog adoptions. I recruited 11 participants from various parts of India for one-on-one, in-depth interviews, which lasted for 45 minutes on average. Among them, 9 had adopted a dog, 6 had volunteered in animal shelters, 2 were animal shelter managers, and 2 were animal activists. Their diverse experiences with Indie dogs provided valuable perspectives. 

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 9.54.49 PM.png
Data Analysis
Data Analysis

I used Thematic Analysis to analyze the data gathered from the interviews and found 5 major themes.

Theme #1

Reasons for desirability bias

  1. Foreign dog breeds are seen as status symbols in society.

  2. Glorification of the western culture and media

  3. The abundance of Indie dogs on the streets making people buy unique foreign breeds.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 11.58.02 PM.png

Theme #2

Misinformation on Indies

  1. Participants frequently mentioned that the Indies are very misunderstood. One of the most common myths in the society is that Indies are aggressive, likely due to their tough street survival and protective behavior, often misunderstood as aggression.

  2. Additionally, there's another misconception that Indies are unhealthy and untrainable and hard to maintain. However, as native Indian breeds, Indies thrive in the local climate and generally enjoy better health compared to foreign breeds. Also, with enough time and effort, they can be trained similar to the foreign dogs.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 11.58.17 PM.png

Theme #3

Reduced visibility of shelter dogs

  1. Most shelters use social media as the primary mode for putting dogs up for adoption. But even the most prominent shelters only have a few thousand followers which limits the visibility of the dogs up for adoption.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 11.58.27 PM.png

Theme #4

Struggles faced by animal shelters

  1. Lack of resources for verifying adopters.

  2. Lack of resources for house checks post adoption.

  3. Spreading information on potential dogs to be adopted

  4. Lack of popularity for adoptions.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 11.58.41 PM.png

Theme #5

Irresponsible pet ownership

  1. Culturally, the notion of pets as companions and family members is not widespread in India. As a result, many dogs spend most of their lives in cages or chained in a corner of the house.

  2. Participants also mentioned that many people in India impulsively buy dogs without understanding the responsibilities of pet ownership.

Screenshot 2024-06-30 at 11.58.50 PM.png

Based on the findings of my research, I defined the business goals and user goals for the project.

Business Goals

  1. Raise awareness in society about Indie dogs.

  2. Dispel myths surrounding Indie dogs.

  3. Provide adopters with reliable information on dog care.

  4. Increase the visibility of shelter dogs.

  5. Enhance the adoption rates of Indie dogs.

User Goals

  1. Easily find dogs available for adoption.

  2. Learn more about dog care.

  3. Address dog care questions as they arise.

  4. Easier dog adoption process.


With the gathered data, I put my creative mind to use and started sketching some preliminary design solutions. After a few iterations, I ended up with the following sketches.

Low-fi Wireframes

Followed by the sketches, I used Figma to design the low-fidelity wireframes. Low-fidelity wireframes included the most basic content and visuals for the User Interface. It was used to help map out the shell of the interface and basic information architecture.

Design Solutions
High-fi Design Solutions

Design Solution #1

Community Feed

Community feed was designed to address the issues of desirability bias against the Indie dogs. Thematic analysis showed me that this desirability bias is largely because of the cultural mindset of people in India. I believe that making people talk more about these issues would be a starting step in bringing a cultural change in society. In the community feed, people can share any content related to dogs. People can share their adoption story and it's impact on their lives, animal shelters can post adoption requests etc.

Community Feed (1).gif

Design Solution #2


The users can also create or join groups to share knowledge among like-minded people. These groups provide a platform for individuals to connect over shared interests, exchange tips on dog care, discuss challenges, and support each other through their pet adoption journeys. By fostering a sense of community, users can build relationships, learn from each other’s experiences, and collectively work towards promoting the adoption of Indie dogs.

Groups feature.gif

Design Solution #3

Educating The Users

The application includes a 'Resources' section, offering users reliable and verified information through videos and blogs. This feature aims to educate users on all aspects of Indie dogs and combat the spread of misinformation about them.

Resources_ Video.gif

Design Solution #4

Adoption Platform

The 'Adopt a dog' feature assists potential adopters in searching for available dogs and scheduling meetings for in-person adoptions. Its primary goal is to enhance visibility for dogs available for adoption by showcasing nearby options, thereby facilitating more adoptions and connecting dogs with loving homes efficiently.


Design Solution #5

Book a Walk

The 'Book a Walk' feature lets users schedule a walk with a dog they're interested in. Users fill out a quick form with their preferred time and date, helping the shelter gather useful information to better assist potential adopters.

Conclusion and Reflections

I'm so happy that I took this topic as my final capstone project to complete my master's degree. Growing up in India, I have seen plenty of people abuse and hurt the Indie dogs and say that Indie dogs are not worthy of being pets. Ever since I was a kid, I've always tried to help the Indies by providing food at the least. Now I'm incredibly delighted that I worked on a project that could potentially change the lives of millions of Indies in India. The most fun and the most challenging part of the project was gathering and analyzing a massive amount of data. It helped me understand and educate myself on the issues related to Indie dogs and provided me with different perspectives on approaching the problem.

bottom of page