Identify an opportunity in a problem space and design a solution.
My team found that many of our colleagues who were parents had a difficult time finding childcare help for last minute emergencies.
An app that helps parents find a trusted caregiver within their network at a moments notice.
Identifying an Opportunity
I worked on this design challenge with a team of 4 other UX Design immersive students. Our first step for this project was to choose a problem space we all agreed on and identify an opportunity with in it.
I recommended that we each write down a list of the top 6 areas we'd be interested in working in, then we shared it, narrowed it down to top 3 using dot voting, until we agreed on the problem space of well-being.
From there we started mind-mapping different ideas, and we organically all came together around the idea of developing an app to help parents connect with each other for support.
Above: Dot Voting on Problem Space; Below: Mind Map to determine opportunity.
Getting Started: Identifying our Users
Initially my team thought our app could be for new parents who did not have strong, existing networks they could rely on for childcare.
Given our tight timeline for the project, we had a difficult time recruiting enough new parents for user interviews because many of them had unpredictable schedules, so we found a mix of new and seasoned parents to interview.
Understanding our Users
We held a round of user interviews with 5 parents: 4 moms and 1 dad.
We explored the topic areas around what surprised them the most when they became parents, what some of their biggest challenges are as parents, and what their current support network currently looks like.
What are some of the biggest challenges you've experienced as a parent?
What surprised you most about becoming a parent?
Finding the Commonalities
As my team began collating all of the data we collected in our user interviews, we were having difficulty identifying common themes and groupings among our data points.
My team used the process of affinity mapping to try and quickly discover trends in our users behaviors, needs, and pain points, but the process was far from quick this time. We struggled to find the commonalities and themes.
What we discovered later on in our process after a design critique with our peers was that we were
Photo of my team in the process of Affinity Mapping
Visualizing our Primary User
Through the process of Affinity Mapping, my team discovered that the primary concerns of our users centered around:
Being stressed by circumstances beyond their control
Relying on their friends and online resources for help with parenting
Facing new challenges daily
These insights helped us to create our primary persona, who would help drive our solutions to help Joy.
Joy (she/her), age 40
Mother of 2 young boys
Identifying Opportunities to help Joy
To better understand where in Joy's day to day live our new app could fit in and help her, my team created a journey map.
Finding just the right journey map to help identify opportunities to help Joy, took 3 different iterations and plenty of feedback from peer reviews and critiques.
Eventually, after going back to the data for the third time, we were able to create a journey map for Joy to help us develop the right solution.
Joy's Journey Map
Scenario: Joy and her spouse were planning to attend a wedding out of town.
They brought their kids and had arranged to have a sitter watch them in the hotel room while they attended the wedding.
As Joy's emotions hit the lowest nadir on her journey map, my team was able to clearly identify where the area of opportunity lay.
With a better understanding of where in Joy's life we could help her, my team posed the following question to drive our design process.
How might we ...
help Joy find someone to watch her kids from a trusted source at a moment’s notice?
In addition to the User Research that we did to help us visualize and understand our primary user, my team also did some competitive research to see what already existed out the market, and where our product might fit into the picture.
The Red Circle ⭕️ is where we saw Poppins fitting into the market.
My team combined our insights from our User Research with those we gained in doing our competitive feature analysis, and came up with a list of features that we would prioritize for the MVP.
Now that my team had a clear picture of who we were designing for, what opportunities there were to help Joy, and what features we were going to prioritize including in the MVP for this design sprint, my team was ready to start sketching. We held two design studios focusing in on Poppins home screen and main task flow.
Sketch of Poppin's Homescreen
1. When Joy opens the Poppins App, she sees a screen that has recent requests from friends for help on the top. Joy has the ability to scroll through and see if she can offer support to anyone in need.
2. The main function of the app is to request help, so we put the "Find a Sitter" at the bottom half of the screen so that it was in the thumb zone for both left and right handed users.
Task Flow: Find a Sitter
In our design studio, we sketched out what Joy's task flow would look like when she opened the app to find a sitter at the last minute.
Putting Poppins to the Test ...
With our paper prototype in hand, my team spread out and held a quick round of usability testing to identify any glaring usability issues before we moved ahead with creating a mid-fidelity wireframe of Poppins.
We recruited 5 parents to test out our paper prototype and gave them the following scenario and task.
You are attending an out-of-town wedding with your spouse and you have arranged for someone to watch your two young children in the hotel room, while you and your spouse attend the wedding.
As you’re getting ready, the caregiver texts to say they can’t make it, and now you are scrambling to find a last minute caregiver.
Find a sitter on short notice to watch your kids while you and your spouse attend the wedding as planned.
Were able to easily request a sitter
Users wanted to quickly see how much a sitter would cost on the options screen
Users wondered about whether they could filter their options by location, connection level, price, star rating, etc.
Users did not like some of the pre-populated fields we had created, for example pre-filling their children's names, because they were worried about security.
Based on the feedback received from the Usability Test we did with the paper wireframes, my team created a mid-fidelity prototype that included features our users asked for, such as star ratings for sitters and hourly rates.
Based on User Feedback gathered from Usability Testing the Mid-Fidelity prototype, I would create a Hi-Fidelity Mock-Up that includes brand colors and other UI elements.
I would then look at building out other in-app features that would further support Joy in building a community of caregivers and support that she can rely on.
In further iterations, I would also do more research and testing with regard to security and trust because a major factor for parents having a difficult time finding help had to do with finding people they could trust.
In the process of researching and testing this app design, I discovered that developing an app to support parents in finding childcare can be difficult due to privacy and security concerns around children's safety.
I was reminded of when Uber explored whether they should offer services for transporting children and ultimately chose not to. When it comes down to it, parents are generally not comfortable leaving their kids with strangers, and if you cannot overcome that hurdle, you app won't get enough adopters to be viable.
In this time when more families are spread out in different cities and towns, rather than living in multigenerational house-holds like in centuries past, it is not as easy to find the help you need as a parent, and that is something that is still worth doing more research to find a solution.
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