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This project seeks to address the issue of teacup dogs bred through unnatural means in the Chinese pet market. It aims to educate children under 12, who often express a strong preference for teacup dogs, about the congenital diseases associated with such breeding practices. 

The objective is to, to a certain degree, reduce the market demand for teacup dogs at the source.



UX Research

Art Direction

game Design

Product Management


Yiyuan Chang





2020.10 -2021.05

7 months)


How dose this project start?

I had a "teacup dog" who broked my heart. Her name was 米粒 (a grain of rice.) I became a regular at pet hospital since I brought her home. Eventually she left me on September 14, 2021, weighting only 350 grams at six month old.
This project is an opportunity for me to talk about her. I interviewed pet doctors and many other teacup dog owners. It turns out that a lot of owners (like me) don't know "teacup-dog" disease before purchase.

This project is named "米粒保卫战"/ "Ricey Defence," to honour the time we spent together, even though it was short.

photography by Yiyuan Chang, 2021

Key Challenge 1:

1. I used to empathise with the user and define the problem. However, in this project I don't know who am I designing for. I need to choose a more suitable design process for this project.

Secondary Research - Issues of Chinese pet Market

I conduct brief market research on Chinese pet market regulations, and teacup dogs' breeding method, and consumers' misinformation towards teacup dogs.

Secondary Research - Customer preference

Then I conduct deeper research to understand the relationship between consumers preference towards special-bred small sized dogs as well as their awareness of these dogs' congenital diseases.

Secondary Research - possible design approach

establishing a public welfare brand / conducting educational campaigns, and so on.

Primary Research - Interview and Survey

Secondary Research Include two moderated interviews of pet doctor and survey of 8 participants. 4 Teacup dog owners (2 males and 2 females,) and 4 teacup dog potential buyer (2 males and 2 females)

user interview schedule

interview checklist

Survey checklist

interview contacted, interview notes 

survey contacted, survey notes 

Synthesize Result

I identified some patterns from organized data, one of them is that the consumers' teacup dog diseases awareness is inversely proportional to their preference.

the group displaying the strongest preference for teacup dogs is not financially capable adults in the pet market, but rather children around the age of 8.

Key Challenge 2:

How to educating Chinese children around 8 years old about teacup dog congenital disease in a easy and acceptable way?


How might we design a board game with no request of digital devices, which is about 15 mins each round, can be played on breaks between classes, while all diseases designed as a monster with own features?


Process - Charecter design

Each disease is designed based on appearance and character, and "Ricey" is made to be more vulnerable and lovable to arouse players' desire for protection.


sketches of monsters


3 point of view digital illustration


modeling & rendering.


playcard design

Process - Game design

Game mechanics: Players are Ricey' defenders, and they need to cooperate against all disease monsters inside of Riceys' body to win the game.

study popular board games' mechanics

Process - Elements design / printing

Design elements & Printing process


Final design- digital

3D monsters

digital game broad