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Sprout

A Baby Tracker & Baby Development Mobile App

 
 

About the Project

Sprout is a mobile phone app that helps new moms and parents manage their newborn baby's daily routine activities and keep track of the baby's physical growth and cognitive development. This is a school project for the course Advanced UX Design.

My Role

Teamed up with two classmates, I was mainly responsible for conducting user research, collecting and synthesizing research data, mapping the user journey and potential opportunities, coordinating ideation and brainstorming, sketching, and creating iterative prototypes.

 
 

My friend gave birth to a baby boy recently. She was exhausted by taking care of the newborn.

I am eager to use my knowledge and skills to help new mothers with managing the new life schedule and keeping track of their baby's growth and development.

 
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User Research

The original assigned topic for this school project is "calendar". To understand what a calendar means and does for new mothers, we created an interview protocol targeting at women who were pregnant and had recently given birth. The purpose of the interview was to figure out some major design principles for our final product by mapping a user's journey interacting with a mobile phone app. The findings from our user interviews were precious as they provided us with opportunities that would lead to our design insights.

 

What did moms say...?

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I use an mobile phone app to record when I feed my baby, how long he sleeps, and when I need to change the diaper. But the app somehow has too many features on the home screen, which annoys me when I am trying to breastfeed.
Me and my husband wrote down everything on a notebook, including the feeding schedule, feeding amount, diaper changing schedule, stuff like that. It's nice to have something that everyone in the family could check and read.
Hmm, I don't use a phone app to record the feeding schedule. Not because they are not useful, it's just that I don't know how I can use the phone while cradling the baby at the same time.
I wish there would be something that could help us document our daughter's growing. My husband now just uses the notebook and camera on the phone to record any funny moments, but it's so hard to manage after you have a bunch of them.
 
 
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How did we understand the qualitative data?

 
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Findings from user interviews were externalized and clustered through the affinity diagram.

This activity was helpful for us to build the information architecture.

 
 

We found that new mothers need to...

 

1. Log a baby’s daily routine activities, including mother's nursing/feeding, diaper changing, baby's time and quality of sleep

2. Keep track of a baby’s physical growth and cognitive development

3. Get emotional support from different people and through different ways

 
 

So we created the experience map to illustrate our findings and product opportunities.

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Competitive Analysis

 

Feature Comparison

We conducted competitive analysis on current baby apps to compare and evaluate features, performances, strategies, thus to have a clear view about features of our product and how they should work together. We wanted our product features to be able to help the moms with taking care of newborn babies. We also didn't want it to become redundant with overwhelming information. Therefore, we decided that instead of a knowledge-based product, we would like to have our app as a function-based product, which means it will focus more on managing a baby's life routine and documenting a baby's growth.

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User Flow Comparison

We mainly looked at how other products designed their homepage, feeding flow, and milestone flow. By comparing the layout of different home screens, we discussed the pros and cons of each home screen. Looking at the feeding flow and the milestone flow of these apps, we noticed that there were much differences among different apps. To decide our design solution, we looked back at our research data to think of which design would better facilitate our users' needs.

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Ideation

Design Questions

Following the design implications, we ideated around a set of design questions for generating ideas during our brainstorming sessions.

  • What kinds of situation moms will most likely be in when they are using the app?
  • What are the main features new mothers would need to use this app?
  • How are we going to prioritize the features, if there are several of them are considered to be equally important?
  • How much mobility moms will have when they are using the app while deal with the baby at the same time?
  • In a limited time (one semester), what are the major features we would like to and be able to present to the stakeholders?
 

User Flow

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The user records the feeding duration by tapping ‘start’ and ‘end’. Auto regular alarm is available if needed. If it is set, the user will go through this cycle again and again regularly.

 

This is the flow of using the ‘milestone’ feature to record a baby’s physical or cognitive development. During this process, the user is allowed to import photos and videos as ‘evidence’. 

 

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Low-Fidelity Prototyping

 
 
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Use the app to record and manage feeding schedule

The first flow we designed was the function of recording feeding progress. From user research, we learned that there is a standard timeline for babies to eat. Generally newborn babies (0-3) months need to eat around every 3 hours, then it becomes the mom’s job to remember when she needs to nurse, how long she nurses each time, and if there is anything unusual during the process. Thus, most moms need a timer to record the progress as well as an alarm to remind them when to do it for the next time. In the low-fi prototype of the feeding page, the user is able to track the feeding progress in real time with the timer and save it as a record, as well as set the alarm for the next round feeding.

 
 
 
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Memorize the most precious moments for the baby and the family

The second flow we developed in our app is documenting the important moments or any "milestone" moment. Parents love taking photos and videos of some significant moments, such as first time crawling or walking. Other than that, such a type of documentation method also helps to tell if the baby is reaching a particular developmental stage normally.

 
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High-Fidelity Prototyping

 
 
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Prioritize the most important feature by placing the buttons prominently

From our user testing, we learned that if a mom was going to use the feeding feature of the app, most of them would expect to find the button quickly and use it easily, as feeding a baby needs a lot of efforts and attentions. Therefore, make this feature easy to access became our first priority. In order to achieve that goal, we laid out some most frequently used features on the home screen, and once the user hit the "Feed" button on the top-left corner, she would be able to see two large buttons on the next screen, "Timer" and "Input". "Timer" allows the user to start a timing session for one feeding, and "Input" allows the user to enter a feeding that was not recorded using the app. After the user hits the "Timer" button, she would be taken to the feeding page where she could start timing a new feeding.

 
 
 
 

Simplify the major functioning page to provide a easy and pleasant user experience

The feeding page is our major task for this project, as it seems to be the most necessary function for every new mom, and it is also the page that is the most difficult to be tailored to fit everyone's needs. Therefore, a lot of ideations, testing, and redesigns have happened to this page. From several rounds of testing, we made sure that all features listed on this page were all very essential and we tried our best to place them on the most appropriate locations to make sure users would not get confused or frustrated when they are interacting with the interface.

 
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Choose the most appropriate label name to eliminate ambiguity

In our low-fidelity prototype, the "Milestone" feature was designed to help parents document their most memorable events and activities with the children. However, it came out that the original "milestone" page brought a lot of confusions to our users. So we decided to rename that page as "Moment" and make it simple. We left the areas quite open to the users so that they have the choice to decide what to put down. By not limiting options for the users, this design has actually saved their time on selecting a specific milestone (as how we originally designed). What's more, we would like to emphasize the function of adding photos or videos because new parents love seeing their baby's photos everywhere. From our user testing, we were happy to see that this task was quite well designed as most users found the "Moment" page meaningful to them and the photo/video importing feature was created efficiently.

 
 
 
 

Provide social media options to improve emotional support for moms

Providing emotional support was one of our initial design goals after we finished synthesizing user research data. Once the use has added a new entry on the "Moment" page, she will be taken to a page where she could share her entry on different social media platforms. We would like to encourage new mothers to get back to their normal social life as soon as possible after they give birth by sharing their emotions with others.

 
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Unable to Use the Phone?

Using the mobile app still requires several steps, beginning with picking up the phone to starting timing with certain accuracy. It would be hard if the mother is cradling the baby alone. Also, some mothers mentioned that their babies will try to grab the phone from them.

 
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Sprout Button

Start and end timing just by a simple tap

 
 
 
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Play with It


 
 
Presentation at Pratt InfoShow May 2017

Presentation at Pratt InfoShow May 2017

This project was finished within 3 months of school days, while all of us also had other projects to work on simultaneously. The project went pretty well at the beginning as we found that pregnant and new moms were really a group of people we were interested in helping with. And as we talked to more users, we found it more clear what the real user needs fell into and that helped us a lot on shaping our design ideas. However, I think that if we had a chance to go back, I would like to spend more time on reading and analyzing our users' data. The more I dived into the design phase, the more I felt like I needed to understand our users more. In this project, besides analyzing data from the user research phase, we also spent a lot of time on thinking of our user testing results. By the end of the project, I deeply understood the importance of conducting user testing and I believe if we could have more participants to help us with the testing, we would be able to come up with a lot more insights that we could apply in our design.

 

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