Client Project at Upenn IPD
Laural Hill Pet Project
Design Consultation for the West Laural Hill Cemetery
Service Design Challenge
West Laurel Hill Cemetery is a cemetery located in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, United States. It was founded in 1869 and is the site of many notable burials. There is currently a small pet cemetery and a pet services building at West Laurel Hill, where "Aquamation" ( a flameless cremation process) is offered for animals. The team is interested in learning of potential additional services they could offer to pet owners as a way of bringing new revenue streams into the organization.
Design Constraints & Criterias
Accessible to Pet Owners
Easy to Implement & Maintain
Keeping affordability and convenience in mind for the average pet parent should be central
Must contribute to a measurable increase in revenue, and not be cost prohibitive
No need to hire new employees and does not require constant revising
To learn more about pet owners' journey and their experiences with pet death, 20 pet owners from a broad range of demographics were interviewed
To learn more about the types of pet owners walking their dogs through West Laurel Hill, we conducted intercept interviews and spoke with 14 people
Laural Hill‘s Previous Clients
To learn more about the overall service experiences that Laural Hill offers and people's attitudes towards burial/cremation (Aquamation), 5 previous Laural's clients were interviewed
Current Services & Products
Aquamation & Burial
Most chose cremation, and many have their pets ashes sitting on a shelf in their homes
Vast majority of this group chose cremation, because they felt it was the default option
“I asked for my first cat’s ashes and later on I figured out I don’t know what to do with the urn. So I didn’t ask for my second pet’s ashes, but I kind of feel bad about it.”
Most walkers were aware of the services at The Laurels, but it had no impact on their choice to walk in the cemetery
Nearly all said they walked there because of the peace and quiet, and immersion in nature
Dog walkers come to the cemetery for the peace and quiet, and enjoy the solitude
Laural Hill's Previous Clients
Pet owners who had used the Laurels services previously were very happy, and very likely to use them again
Vast majority of this group chose burial, or cremation with burial
Trends Observed From Interviews
Walkers and previous clients didn’t like the idea of services that would disrupt the peace of Laurel Hill
Most of the first time pet owners did not plan for their pets burial needs until it was upon them
Most chose cremation, and have their pets ashes sitting on a shelf in their homes
Nearly everyone felt that pets were part of their family, and many mentioned wanting to find a way to show respect in death
Meet Rebecca & Scout
Rebecca has had her dog Scout ever since he was a puppy. Scout has lived a long, full life, and Rebecca knows that won’t be with her forever. She has started thinking about what will happen to Scout once he passes away, and is trying to figure out her options. Rebecca has had many pets before Scout, and several of their ashes are still sitting in a closet in her bedroom. Rebecca doesn’t like having them stored there, but she can’t get rid of them either.
Lack of Preparation
Lack of Emotional Support
Lack of Respect & Closure
Lack of Space
How Might We help pet owners plan ahead for the death of their pets?
How Might We help pet owners cope with the sadness of coming home to an empty home after pet loss?
How Might We help pet owners find a way to respectfully and conveniently store their pet's ashes?
Identifying Needs & What Laural Hill Can Do to Help
Emotional needs are essential during the early stage of the journey; However, Laural Hill would love to maximize what they have currently and expand their services economically and efficiently. As a result, it is important to address and prioritize the needs after pet parents received the pet's remains.
Pet owners feel obligated to keep their pet's ashes, but don't know what to do with them, and getting the ashes returned is the beginning of a new process for the pet owner.
Many pet owners dislike having their previous pets ashes in the home, but are unsure what to do with them
When is pet is cremated, owners can struggle to find the same sense of closure they could get from a burial
It is important to many pet owners that their pets remains be treated with the same respect as human remains
How Might We help pet parents find a way to respectfully and conveniently store their pet's ashes and find the sense of closure?
Ideation & Prototyping