Training a dog can be confusing and time consuming, but hiring a professional trainer is expensive. That’s why a team of animal behaviorists and computer vision experts founded Companion, a startup dedicated to helping dog owners train their pets through an automated, in-home behavioral training platform that combines machine learning, robotics, and advanced computer vision. After Companion approached frog with a working prototype, frog and Tuesday Capital decided to invest in and collaborate with the company to help optimize the physical design of their product, refine their brand, and craft a user experience that more fully realized their vision of fostering deeper relationships and understanding between pets and humans.
In order to understand the fundamental value and experience of their brand, Companion provided us with functional prototypes so that frogs—and their dogs—were able to interact with the device daily. This opportunity provided powerful insights into the possible interactions between person, pet, and platform. We combined these firsthand learnings with the expertise of Companion’s behavioral specialists to define the overall design direction and key interaction features. To support the mission of building closer relationships between people and their pets, we developed an approachable design language that evokes the playfulness and empathy of dog behavior. At the same time, however, we realized that both the physical device and digital experience must be clean and professional, conveying authenticity, confidence, and expertise that dog owners can trust.
The frog team developed and presented multiple versions of an MVP app experience using remote collaborative interface tools, allowing the Companion team to experience and explore the options on their personal mobile devices, just as real users would. After experiencing the possibilities for themselves, the Companion team selected a final direction and we began building a comprehensive brand and UX playbook that provides detailed definitions, documentation, and assets for Companion’s brand strategy, brand identity, and UX. It also establishes a complete design language system and asset library that Companion can use to build new features quickly while maintaining the consistency, quality, and identity of their brand.
Alongside the updated branding and digital experience, frog’s industrial design team helped optimize the Companion device. In addition to aesthetic updates, the internal components were repositioned for optimized performance and manufacturability. The internal microphone and camera were repositioned to provide clearer audio reception and video capture of live dog behavior, while the speakers were moved from the bottom of the device to the sides in order to ensure that dogs hear training commands as clearly as possible.
Companion’s new brand identity and product design evoke the warmth and comfort of animal companionship while projecting the expert knowledge of animal behavior built into its underlying technology. The new interaction features and remote capabilities of the Companion app close the loop between human, pet, and platform by making Companion’s expertise accessible and transparent via remote controls and monitoring, automatic tracking and analysis of training data, and direct access to Companion’s team of professional trainers.