Merp - Designing a Mindful Digital Pet.

A student project in the minor „User Experience Design“
at Hogeschool van Amsterdam | 2019

… Merp, who?

May I introduce? This is Merp. Together with it, you can create a more balanced lifestyle. I’ve created Merp in a students project with the briefing: „Develop a digital pet on a given personality that enhances the users life“.  Merp is a bit shy. However, it can  become an affectionate friend who is sensitive to the needs of others. Through mirroring your daily activities with the Tamagotchi device (sleep, nutrition, screen time and physical activity), Merp will remind you when your life is not in balance.

My tasks in the project.

  • Translating Merp’s personality into visual and sound design.
  • Developing a concept (purpose, functions) for the digital pet.
  • User interface design of one pager to promote Merp.
  • Prototyping of Merp.
  • User testing and continuous iterations.
  • Animation of interactions between pet and user to show personality and functionality.

Target Group

The target group for Merp is the Generation Y: People who struggle having a routine during their daily lives, because they are too busy. Still, they find a healthy and mindful lifestyle important for self-fulfillment.

User Research

In user tests we wanted to find out, whether the user interactions and visual design of the digital pet reflect its personality in the given situations. We combined prototype testing with qualitative interviews, and a card game to evaluate the pet’s emotions.

Visual Design

Merp’s body is shaped like a ball – a symbolization for health (association with sport) and balance. His big eyes and eyebrows make him look more affectionate and well-liked. We first started with hand-drawn sketches and then later finalized them with Illustrator.

Bringing Merp to life.

We illustrated Merp’s personality with interaction scenarios, first drawn as a storyboard and later being animated in After Effects. These show Merp from being very shy in the beginning to becoming more open and a good friend to the user.