Designing a baby app, for adults.

PROBLEM

New parents are often faced with the problem of not knowing where they can go with their baby. The BabyPoint app seeks to address that by helping parent’s find baby-friendly places where they can eat, drink and socialise.

As the first designer on the team, my role in this project, was to take the Founder’s vision from a concept, to a brand with shipped products.

CREATING A BRAND

We came together & brainstormed how the BabyPoint brand should be perceived by the user and then I headed the logo design. I produced an array of different sketches and we worked together to single out the best one. I then digitised them and got more feedback. The other two concepts seemed too feminine for our market. The pin concept was perfect because it was gender neutral and self-explanatory.

We used the theories of colour psychology to guide us initially and rule out what wouldn’t work. I produced more iterations and then we let our prospective users vote on which colour they’d like to see. Green won!

USER RESEARCH

646,900 babies were born in NHS hospitals in the past year.

That’s a lot of babies! We spoke to some new parents to find out what their concerns were. From these initial user interviews, I analysed the data using the card-sorting method and represented it in a more tangible format, this way we could work with the data & make sure the product solved real problems.

We found the biggest concerns to be organisation and confidence. So we immediately aimed to create an experience that presents the BabyPoint app as an easy tool to help plan the day ahead – thus making the user feel more organised and confident to leave the house.

Based on our research, I created personas.

The BabyPoint app would primarily be used by parents. We found that if we met their user needs, we would also meet our goal of frequent usage. Through user interviews, we found that parents would prefer not to pay for the app, so we planned to monetize the app through other means.

I teamed up with the CTO to define our MVP feature set. In just two steps, David would have access to all the surrounding baby-friendly businesses.

I created a user flow, straightforward enough for Natalie & efficient enough for David.

ITERATION, ITERATION, ITERATION!

I then began wireframing, to make sure that the experience would be intuitive but also a delight to use. Starting low fidelity, figuring out what is best placed where, and then moving on to a higher fidelity. The cycle went something like..

Wireframe -> Test -> Resolve -> REPEAT

With research, I had worked out that most of our users would be using the app in a scenario where they are out and want to find a place now. Pram in one hand, phone in the other.

It was important the home screen was a map view because it worked as a great means to tell the user ‘Here is where you are and here are the baby-friendly places accessible to you’. It’s also a pattern that our users are familiar with. I kept the home screen minimalist with regards to the data being presented – I wanted to show only what was relevant to the user at the current moment.

CONTEXTUAL MENU

We needed an interaction that allowed users to search for a facility quickly and with one hand. For example, a scenario where a parent was out with their baby and needed to breastfeed, or a scenario where a parent needs to change their baby’s nappy ASAP

I decided to implement a contextual menu, that pops up when you press and hold down anywhere on the screen. This allowed users to search for emergency facilities with one hand.

We spoke to more parents to find out what they typically need in ’emergency circumstances’ – this helped me to work out which options to include in the menu. The menu needed to be concise, to reduce the thought process when selecting options. So I reduced it to 3 key emergency options. This is also a key factor that separated it from the ever-growing main search options list.

COACHMARK TUTORIAL

Whilst creating personas I anticipated that most of the users would have a medium technology expertise. So to ensure the app is intuitive & also to teach them of the contextual menu I implemented a concise coach mark tutorial during the onboarding process.

People learn better by doing, so I gave the users the ability to play with the contextual menu during the onboarding tutorial. This would also make the whole ‘tutorial’ process seem less tedious.

I wanted to give them the best start to using the app, with little room for failure.

HOW DO USERS SAVE BUSINESSES?

A user might want to save a business and for this use case, a bookmark icon would be most appropriate. However from a business owners perspective, bookmarking seemed ambiguous. Business users wouldn’t be able to tell whether a parent saved their business for a good reason or bad reason and it was important that this function is beneficial to both parties.

Favouriting a business is a much more quantifiable action, it allows both businesses and parents to express themselves. It could also be used in the future to benefit other parents. For example:

73 people have favourited this restaurant

It proved best to represent the favourite action with a heart as opposed to a star. Though, during A/B testing, our users responded well to both. Since we planned on using starred feedback in later versions, I decided to keep the heart to prevent confusion.

MOBILE, PHABLET & TABLET

I resolved how the design would work on phablet & tablet, in the scenario where a user is planning their day in advance whilst at home. When redesigning for a bigger screen I was able to add the functionality of viewing list and map view at the same time.

VISUAL DESIGN

I produced an array of designs that fell within the existing brand guidelines. I chose to mock up the splashscreen (this is the first screen that users will see) and the home screen (this is the screen that users will see the most). Whilst designing I tried to remain gender neutral in colours and also bear in mind that the app is for adults that have children, not children themselves.

I added the ‘hello’ to make the app seem friendly, it worked well because of the tone of the brand.

The dark screen proved most popular as it was vastly different to competitors and reminded users of a chalkboard, which gave off a playful aura.

I also designed a map to suit the new UI.

screencapture-mapbox-studio-styles-chrysking-civ4c13f6000m2is5jvurzlet-edit-1483364590340
LIST VIEW

Whilst wireframing the icons in the list view seemed to work well. However, when I added colour the icons became hard to read. I experimented with different options to resolve this. We found blocks of colour were the most recognisable at a glance.

Initially, we gave users the opportunity to call businesses directly from the list view. But since implementing a reservation feature, we decided to remove this function. We did this to avoid users calling the businesses directly to make reservations. Users can still call businesses directly, but now it is on the business profile page.

The red block symbolises a place that is  ‘BabyBorn’ (A place that has every facility listed and more). It made logical sense to place it alone in the list view. However, during user testing it got mistaken for a place having 1 facility, as a result users were less like to choose this place. I solved this by adding the red block to the beginning, making the bar the longest.

1.1 SplashScreen
1.2 Home
1.3 Exclusive Menu
Nappy
Breastfeed
Hot Water
1.3 Exclusive Menu copy

Easy to recognise Icons

Initial research told us that parents worry about the facilities in a place, I  implemented easily recognisable icons so that they can make stress-free informed decisions about where they go.

To counteract the seriousness that comes with a dark UI, I chose a playful child inspired palette for the icons.

Quick Search

We know that parents are constantly multitasking. So we implemented a ‘Quick Search’ feature that allows users to search with one hand.

User Generated Content

Users have the ability to add different businesses to the app and can rate their experience too.

RESULTS

The app has proven to be popular with many parents across the UK. It had even been featured in The Sunday Times before it had launched. The user generated content concepts proved to be really successful and actually created a culture of BabyPointers (people that wanted to find and manage multiple baby-friendly places) that had voluntarily committed to populating the app before we had launched.