Fish keeper App- FishBook

Fishkeeper App UX Design

"A design guideline that builds design to help fishkeeping beginners plan and grow fishkeeping as a hobby"
FishBook Workable Prototype

Duration - 1 month      Team of 1        Role - Designer


Project Brief

"FishBook" is a design practice using auto-biographical and reflective design method for fishkeeping as a hobby. A design guideline and an app were designed to help fishkeeping beginners select proper equipments and fish, based on the needs I discovered through the field study and observation process.  

Project Insights

Keeping fish is a comparatively rare hobby to have. In order to start this hobby, people have to investigate piles of articles online and ask people around, and even with all that knowledge in mind, various kinds of equipment with high price can still scare beginners away.  The process of getting into the field seems to be complicated at the first glance. By getting my hands on going through all the investigation and preparation process for starting a fishkeeping hobby, I transformed the insights into a carefully-designed guideline for designing a digital assistance for beginners to plan and set their fish tanks. The guideline will help users 

1) Gain assistance to plan a fish tank

2) Make notes for desired equipment and fish

3) View and search fish tanks from other hobbyists

Design Process

By applying "Reflective Design" and "Autobiographical Design" as design research method, I went through the design process of

1. Observation - conducting background research and observation
2. Insights - concluding insights from research
3. Design Guideline - developing design guideline
4. Prototype - designing an app based on the design guideline


Starting with the question “How can I build a beautiful aquarium?”, as a fishkeeping beginner I firstly searched for internet resources online. And after getting some basic knowledge, I also went on a fish shop visit to get closer to a real tank.

01 Fish Enthusiast Community 

- When I investigated the resources online, there are several fish hobbyists’ digital forums and communities. Most of them have a series of “Fish Starter Guide” articles written for beginners. However, articles are too long and wordy, and not necessarily give clear and structured instructions for beginners. Also, beginners have to cross read different articles in order to clarify the steps and best practices for starting to keep fish.

- In the forum discussing area, people ask questions about new fishkeepers’ common questions, but the topics of questions are not always well-defined, which makes it hard to find the desired information. Beginners have to read through all discussions under each post and judge to get correct answers. 

02 Fish Store Visit

When I visited a fish shop in Buckhead, I first looked around in the shop, not knowing where to start and what questions to ask. A first staff didn’t give me a friendly introduction, but fortunately another staff did show me more clear instruction to start with. During my one-hour visit, I gained some useful information about how they introduced new customers the equipment and fish to keep.

1. Begin with either saltwater or freshwater- huge difference in investment
- Freshwater is easier and required smaller tank (10-20g)
- Saltwater requires huge investment (75-90g)

2. Recommendation for hardy fish selection

3. Recommendation for equipment- in a whole set package


01 /
Fishkeeping is a detail-oriented and expensive hobby.

- Articles on forums are difficult to read and not concise enough for starters to have an overview.
- Many equipments are required before actually starting to keep fish.
- Various kinds of fish, species and habitat influence the decision on equipment and type of the tank.

— A precise fish-tank planning assistance should be designed.

02 /
Too much information is given to beginners during a fish shop visit.

- When first entering a fish shop, a beginner doesn’t really know where to start.
- Staffs provide professional advice based on asking customers’ needs and preference.
- Information and suggestions provided by staffs are possibly biased because of shop’s profit.

— Beginners want to get unbiased and personalized suggestions through a fish shop visit.

03 /
Fishkeeping sharing and discussion platforms are not instantly-helpful and effective.

- Fishkeeping hobbyists can’t easily share and discuss on existing forums. There is no content creation option except for text.
- Beginners wanting to get help or to refer to experienced hobbyists have hard time finding resources.
- A starter can’t know exactly if his planning is proper or not, and may be misled by different opinions from forums and shop keepers.

— More socially and visually friendly platforms for fishkeeping are needed to help and engage beginners.

Design Guideline & Prototype

Based on the insights gained from observation, I simplified the complex of fishkeeping into how to plan a fish tank and to collect resources of tanks, fish and equipment. The core concepts for the guidelines include designing step-by-step instruction for setting up fish tanks, allowing users to view and search for user-generated tanks, providing functions to save and share personal tanks, and saving equipment and fish resources in a library.  

01  Step-by-step instruction to set up a fish tank

2. Take notes for equipment options

e. Take pictures of different sets of equipment
f. Fill in name, price, location and items included in the set
g. Mark and compare different sets of equipment

1. Set up the tank’s basic information

a. Name
b. Different types of tanks’ environment (Freshwater / Saltwater)
c. Gallon size of the tank
d. Level (Easy / Medium / Hard)


4. Preview and save the tank

k. Show basic information of the tank
l. Show an animated preview of the tank
m. Show equipment and fish selected for the tank
n. Allow going back to edit the tank

3. Choose what fish & species to go in the tank

h. Provide a list of fish options with attributes
i. Allow adding fish and changing quantity
j. Recommend matches and filter out incompatible species


02  View and Search for user-generated fish tanks 

a. Include basic information, equipment and fish categories
b. Mark and save preferred tanks
c. Search for specific kinds of tanks

03  Save and review personal fish tanks

a. Include basic information, equipment and fish categories
b. Allow going back to edit a fish tank’s setting

04 Library for equipment and fish

          a. Save equipment notes and species library
          b. Provide marking function to highlight preferred notes / fish
          c. Allow adding new notes and searching for specific species


Design Outcome

Scenario Walkthrough


Welcome page

Log in



View and Search for user-generated fish tanks on home page. Filter by “freshwater” category and bookmark “Molly World” tank.


Add Tank- Setting

Edit the name to “My First Tank”, set the type to “Freshwater”, size to 60 gallons, level to Easy, and click to create a tank.  

Add Tank- Equipment

Add a set of equipment note with pictures, name, price, location and items included, and mark a star if this is preferred.

Add Tank- Fish

Add/drag fish from library to my tank, adjust the quantity, and get auto correction and warning for incompatible species.


Add Tank- Preview

Preview the new tank to see animated view, equipment price, fish species and quantity, and save & share to My Tank.

My Tank

View the saved tanks, be able to edit previous tanks and see detailed information.

Library- Equipment

View the saved equipment, and be able to add and mark equipment


Library- Fish

View fish by applying different tags or searching, and be able to mark preferred fish.


Interactive Prototype