creative juice / ux + design

ux design gone to the dogs


We are pleased to have a special guest post today, by Allovus Project Manager/UX Designer J. Alison Grauman. Take it away, Alison!

My experience as a user interaction designer started in 1989, when I worked as a contractor for Microsoft. I was hired by Virginia Howlett, joining the newly formed usability group, located in building 5.

Eight years later I left Microsoft after having given birth to my daughter, Alexandra. From home, I continued to work freelance, but I also loved looking for opportunities to apply my design skills to various household projects. There is one recent project in particular I would like to share with you.

Last December, our family dog of nine years, Checkers, died quite unexpectedly. I was truly devastated, but knew that I couldn’t be without a dog for long. In my grieving, I decided to focus my energy on how I might improve the overall dog-owning experience next time around. It was then that I had the idea to create an indoor dog potty.

Fire Hydrant

I hit on the idea when I realized that we had a rarely-used shower in the laundry room, and the laundry room, with its heated tile flooring, was the perfect place to leave our new pup when we left the house. I was obsessed with this project for a few weeks, and though I knew it was bordering on crazy, I was having so much fun, I was determined to complete my vision and see if an indoor dog potty could actually work.

Sign and TP

After a series of usability trials, I’m happy to report that the dog potty has been a great success with dogs and dog lovers alike! We now leave our puppy in the laundry room, knowing that when we return all deposits will be in their proper place.


5 thoughts on “ux design gone to the dogs

  1. I love it! Would it be okay if I brought two “user friendly” customers over to see how they would adapt to this??

  2. I have a small foo-foo dog and an indoor cat. I’m considering copying your genius idea. I wonder if I could put the kitty litter box in there too. I don’t know if my cat will go for this change but it won’t hurt to try. I think I would need to put up a wall or something around the litter box because cats like privacy, and that would help to keep the litter from scattering onto the turf. Maybe I could cut a door on a large plastic storage box.

    I’m curious to know what’s under the turf. I wonder if I should use a strong chicken-wire-like material. And I wondered if I should use plastic material to create a funnel into the drain. I have the regular spray head, that may or not work for cleaning. If not, I’d have to buy a hose spray.

    You came up with a great idea with this one. I hope to hear from you soon.


    • Thanks for the comment! Here is Alison’s response:

      Hi Susan,

      I don’t have any experience placing a cat litter box in the dog potty, but I’d say that it could work if the area is big enough. I’d recommend, though, getting a self-contained cat litter box with at top already on it to contain the litter, and provide the needed privacy.

      Regarding the structure of the grass, I built a frame out of PVC pipes, then toped that with some of those plastic inter-locking tiles that you often see on gym locker room floors. The tiles are easy to clean, allow liquid to pass through, and provide the rigidity that I needed to support the grass. This foundation is not strong enough for me to stand on, but it does the job, and is easy to remove if needed. I did have to trim the tiles with a table saw to get them to fit perfectly. You could try using wire mesh instead of the tiles, but I’d make sure that the metal used in the mesh couldn’t rust and stain the floor of your shower.

      I hope this helps!


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