The design challenge is to create a digital intervention to address a human-centred problem.
Human-centred or User-centred Design
The approach that we are taking for this submission is the user-centred or human-centred approach.
This means that the user or the human is at the core of all decisions. Product design decisions will be based on user-research, putting the human (the user) at the centre and looking at their needs, their hopes and fears in order to gain insight to what they find to be most desirable. Technical feasibility and financially viability then follows the user-research.
Double-Diamond Design Process
The Double-Diamond Design Process is the process that allows for divergence – convergence of teams. It is a collaboration method that builds on benefits of both working alone (divergence) and in a group (convergence).
This includes the following phases:
Research and Discovery Phase
Note that even though they are typically referred to as phases, in reality, this is not a linear process. The process is iterative and there is a lot of back and forth throughout the phases to ensure the creation of a good user-centred product.
Here are the top 5 reasons parents turn to tech to help parent:
Ensure kids are safe 75%
Be able to connect with children whenever/wherever they are 54%
Know where children are and who they are with 49%
It helps to more easily manage family’s hectic schedules 37%
Despite technological advances, only about half of the parents interviewed use technology to know where their children are. This is a design opportunity!
RESEARCH, DISCOVERY AND SYNTHESIS
Initial research shows that there are opportunities for design intervention in helping parents monitor their children. This research aims to gain insight into the needs of busy parents with regards to the use of technology. Specifically, this study will look for parental insights into needs related to communicating or checking-in with their primary-aged kids throughout the day
In order to ease their worries, I believe that parents want ways to communicate with their children directly throughout the day. I will know that I am right when there is agreement with this statement among participants interviewed. I believe that designing this product for busy parents will allow them more opportunities to better parent and nurture their children. I will know that this is true when I see at least an 80% agreement among participants that such a product would be helpful.
Research Objectives and Methodology
Research Method: In-person/Virtual Interviews
Self-identified busy parents aged 24 – 45 years of age with primary-aged children (4 – 11 year olds) that attend school full-time
Date and Time: Between March 28 – April 1, 2022
Key Insights Summary and Themes
From this research, we are able to have a better picture of who our potential users are, their pain points, their needs and their goals and these are captured in a Persona.
To keep the design solution user-centred, potential users are personified into a persona – Candace Moore. Her biography, needs, goals and pain points, and most importantly, her story – is a representation of our users.
Experience Map and How Might We Statement
An experience map is a visualization of an entire end-to-end experience that a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal. Through mapping - we are able to highlight pain-points, frustrations and challenges and, consequently, find opportunities for design interventions. Candace Moore’s experience map begins when she is first separated from her daughter (when she drops her off at school) to when she sees her again (when the daughter arrives home).
Based on what we have uncovered from our persona and our experience map, we can confidently develop a focused How Might We Statement:
How might we enable busy parents to monitor their primary-aged children in order to increase their ability to parent their kids?
Now that there is a better understanding of the problem space, a focused approach in finding a solution, and an understanding of potential users, the Ideation phase can begin.
Here is a list of user stories showing tasks that the persona, Candace Moore, may need to complete within the possible solution
From these themes or epics, a core epic is chosen to focus efforts on creating the main functionality of the app. The epic chosen (or the core epic) is the ability to monitor and assist the child.
Initially, the focus of the design intervention was to give parents the ability to communicate with their children throughout the day. However, after considering other communication and chat apps already available, it has been decided that there are other apps that could address this problem space. From then on, the focus of the design solution turned to monitoring and assisting the child.
What is needed in the design solution?
After choosing the core epic, the functionalities that the app needs to have can be listed as:
• The ability to track a child
• The ability to set geofences or virtual perimeters/boundaries around safe locations
• The option to set alarms at specific times when virtual boundaries are crossed
• The option to control the notifications received when these boundaries are crossed
• The ability to send or seek help when the parent is not around
Now that thinking is transitioning from research and strategy into design, all efforts are shifting from abstract ideas and processes into visual artifacts that begin to represent the structure and interactivity of the product.
How could the app potentially work?
Geofences/Geofencing – a geofence is a virtual perimeter that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define real-world geographical boundaries.
It is the same technology used for ankle bracelets in law enforcement (e.g. if someone is under house arrest) or in marketing (coupon codes for sale promotion sent to smart phones within a geographical area) or fleet management (if a driver passes an assigned geographical area).
In order to track a child, the child will need a tracking device such as a phone, a smart watch or a Tile. The app is intended to track this device.
To set a perimeter, a designated safe location will need to be identified.
Every time a child passes through these virtual perimeter or boundaries a notification/alert will be sent by the app per the settings set by the parent.
USABILITY TESTING - ROUND 1
A task flow was developed to map out the path that the user could take in order to complete the task of adding a designated safe location for their child's profile.
Below are sketches of screens that show how the various tasks from the task flow can be completed.
Round 1 Wireframes
Following the sketches, wireframes are created to get a vision of the overall structure and layout of the product. It gives an idea of where buttons, images, and texts will be placed.
Interactions between the wireframes are added and the flow is turned into a prototype. This prototype is what is used for the first round of testing and can be found here.
Round 1 Sessions Output Executive Summary
1. How to edit locations such as “Mom’s work” or “Dad’s work” which are not designated safe locations, but may need to be updated?
Does the other parent really need to see the other parent’s location?
Perhaps switch the focus to just the child?
2. Should there be an overlay screen to indicate that changes have been added after adding a location – overlay confirmation screen?
The initial concept for the app was to create a family tracker app. However, it was causing obvious confusion among the testers as to the purpose of the app and its main function. By focusing the app to just the child (ren), the purpose of the app is more apparent.
USABILITY TESTING - ROUND 2
Following the first round of testing, it is evident that the task flow is not working as intended. Since not all participants are able to complete their task, a redesign is needed.
This means going back to the drawing board to:
reassess the task flow
create additional sketches for wireframes and user testing prototypes
improving on the test script
Revised Task Flow
Changes to the task flow are largely made the make the task simpler and more straightforward, particularly in the home/main screen.
Once the task flow has been finalized, Round 2 sketching began. Sketches for the revised main screen were explored, as well as concepts for a side menu. The focus for the app has also been turned to just the child (not including the parents).
Adjustments were made to the wireframe in order to address some of the issues from the first round of testing. These changes are elaborated below and the complete wireframes can be found here.
Adding interactions to our wireframes, the prototype for round 2 usabilty testing can be found here.
Round 2 Sessions Output - Executive Summary
FINAL MID-FIDELITY PROTOTYPE
Changes made as a result of the feedback from the second round of user-testing can be found in the images below. The final mid-fidelity prototype is here.
Turning the mid-fidelity prototype to a high-fidelity prototype requires creating a brand for the app. Here are there steps taken towards this brand development.
Red Fox in the Forest
If there is one sentence that describes what I am going for – this would be it. The forest being a metaphor for the big scary world where it is so easy to get lost. The red fox as the creature that thrives in it. The vibe is that of old stories and fairy tales that would appeal to the secondary user – the kids. Green is the colour of safety, calm and is meant to invoke assurances of safety for worried parents. The dark greens allow for those hints of oranges and reds to stand out and SafelySee the little ones.
Branding and Iconography
Here are some options explored for branding and iconography.
USER-CENTRED DESIGN SOLUTION
Using GPS and mobile device location technology, SafelySee is a location sharing app designed for parents to track their children’s location at all times.
High Fidelity Mock-ups
Here are the screens for the high fidelity prototype. As the final product, this is now ready to be shown to clients. The final high-fidelity mock-ups can be found here.
Here are some of the most important impact of my design intervention:
Prevents children from getting lost
Allows parents to find their kids
Provides parents with a tool to be able to monitor their children’s whereabouts at all times
Helps to reduce parental worry
Allows parents to collect data about their children’s activities
Allows parents to make use of technology to help them parent their children
The iterative process of design – that the process required many pivots and changes in direction based on research findings
The importance of having the user (their goals, pain points, motivations and behaviour) as the centre of any design intervention.
The importance of properly defining the problem space as the starting point of any process.
The importance of conducting secondary research – seeing what is already out there, what other companies are doing to address the problem, also looking at trends and what is coming
During the process, I struggled with creating and testing wireframes. The first round of user testing for me, was unclear. Moving forward, I do intend to learn more about the process of usability testing in general – assessing what I could have done better and any areas of improvement (is it the test scripts, is it the wireframes, method used for the usability testing). Recognizing this, I am fully aware that I still have room to grow and learn.
If I had more time to further work on this app, I would have expanded on the SOS functionality of the app. This is a key feature and is one of the things that make the app stand out from all the others. I would further explore this functionality.