Lumi – A supportive tool for parents & caretakers of children — a UX/UI Application case study.
By Ariel Kew-Ladret
Role: Researcher / Wireframer / Writer / UI & UX Designer / Illustrator
Timeline: 10 weeks
Project Type: Final Project
Platform: IOS 11
Modalities: Sketch, Pen & Paper, InVision, Illustrator, Procreate
*Please note this case study was done as my final project for the full-time UX Design Program at BrainStation.
Problem Space: ‘Navigating Difficult Conversations’ at home during the pandemic
Collectively, we are navigating a new territory of uncertainty with the Global Pandemic of COVID-19. During this time, these drastic shifts in lifestyle have the potential to shake the foundations of our long term collective mental wellbeing, and of course the wellbeing of our most impressionable population, our children. There are many factors at play when it comes to coping with the daily stresses parenting in general, let alone navigating a global crisis.
The potential effects of isolation are vast as the role of community resources, teachers, and mentors have drastically changed, and more responsibility is falling on the shoulders of parents and caretakers. Not only are parents struggling to manage their own anxieties and fears, but they are faced with a new challenge of finding constructive and engaging ways to address the depth of concerns and questions coming from children.
Design Challenge & Process
Prior to starting to plan our design intervention, we work through a defined sequence of steps in order to gain a full understanding of the scope and potential needs of the key players involved.
How might we help reduce anxieties in the family unit during this critical time in order to have better tools, resilience, and coping strategies for better long term adjustment?
Research is essential in the development of any solution. It is imperative to the foundations of building empathy and beginning the development process in empathizing with the User.
Psychologists and educators are stressing the importance of offering diverse coping strategies and strongly encourage parents and caretakers to model balance, routine, and most importantly facilitating open, safe, and empathetic discussions.
In planning my interviews, I came up with a set of assumptions based on my research findings:
– With all of the uncertainty of COVID- 19 there are a lot of questions asked by parents and their children.
– There are many online helplines, services, counseling, blogs, podcasts dedicated to helping teach people how to constructive speak to their families about what is happening in the world right now. There are apps for adults, not many for the family unit as a whole.
– Parents are seeking to find a solution to the ongoing concern and anxiety they sense in their children.
– These issues could potentially be alleviated with a conversational resource or toolset.
– Parents are seeking resources for both themselves and their children during this time.
My ultimate goal was to seek out the following:
What is the observed impact on children?
What is the parent’s experience?
What is the unmet need in homes?
90% of participants stated they used online resources to support them in their caretaking and parenting practices.
All participants found themselves using Google 1-3 times a week as support to questions or concerns their children had about the pandemic.
65% stated they used Pinterest for added inspiration and planning activities.
Another essential component of Secondary research is understanding and assessing other existing solutions, in varying degrees of success.
Free Meditation app with a social playlist sharing component. There is a large variety of exercises and meditations that are geared towards children.
Probably the most well known and user-friendly meditation App that applies gamification to the practice of mindfulness.
To create a curated multi-resource platform for parents and children to facilitate a healthy and supportive culture around coping strategies during the time of this global crisis and beyond.
Pen to Paper
The next steps were created on good old fashioned pen to paper in order to ideate, assess, and make revisions accessible as needed.
After reviewing all of my notes, plans, interviews, and competitor analysis, I felt that while a supportive chatbot may be a helpful feature in the longterm, and certainly a future consideration, I needed to widen my scope of offerings to truly create a unique and supportive, experience for my User.
I went back to my ‘How Might We’ statement, and combed through my interviews to shed more insight into their core needs. I was able to deduce that overall, parents felt alienated from their families and communities and are seeking ways to find support beyond themselves. That is how thought offering ‘Shared Stories’ amongst family members and would help to serve and uplift both the parents and their children during this time of need. Additionally, I felt it would provide my Application with an edge, as I could not identify a single platform containing this kind of feature.
There are many online helplines, government services, counseling resources, blogs, and podcasts dedicated to helping parents facilitate constructive conversations with their children about what is currently happening in the world right now. There are apps for adults, but not many for the family unit as a whole.
Refining the ‘Problem Space’
Through the process of conducting interviews and Secondary research into the unique set of challenges families are currently facing during the Pandemic, I refined my problem space into a single ‘How Might We’ question:
How might we support parents and caretakers during this critical time to create the foundations of resilience and ease in their children?
After compiling all data and research, I developed a Primary and Secondary Character Persona, to help guide me further in decision making and aid in empathizing with the ‘Target User’ and their journey.
Another way to assess the needs, goals, pain points and frustration of the User is to create an empathy map of the imagined experience before Design Intervention.
The Task Flow
My intervention consists of exercises, articles, short courses, and a social parenting function where the User is able to like and share articles with other family members and loved ones. One of the main features of the prototype is that it gives the User the ability to send requests for friends or family members to ‘narrate’ from a selection of mindfulness-based children’s literature save it into a library. This feature is intended to assist parents in easing the effects of isolation, and offers an opportunity for unique messages, positive interaction, and create an overall sense of support and connection. Here is a sample of the simple task flow of reviewing and receiving a story that I decided to narrow in on to demonstrate how the application would be experienced from the perspective of our Primary Persona, ‘Skye’. Because of the nature of the multi-offering based platform I designed, I chose to narrow in on a single unique task flow:
To send and receive mindfulness-based children’s stories with family and loved ones.
At this stage of the development, the project is starting to have some shape. I began by putting pen to paper to create some paper wireframes and conducted user tests in the Marvel POP App. The results informed how I would plan the digital wireframes going forward.
The purpose of user testing is to resolve common issues and pain points within the design and apply the notes and make adjustments to the prototype in between iterations. Within the scope of the features I developed and tested, I was able to further refine my set of assumptions and generate ideas to solve the problem space in between iterations In order to gain a proper assessment I looked for the following 3 areas of measurable feedback from my users while conducting my user tests:
- Success in Completion of Assigned Tasks
- Ease while Navigating the Feature
- Overall Satisfaction and Positive Response
After my first round of testing, all of the users completed 90% of the designated tasks without confusion however, the process allowed me to observe misinterpretations of the naming conventions and sections which I took into consideration corrected for the second iteration.
The common misinterpretations were as follows:
1. Users were confused about Q & A and what FAQ
2. Users did not understand the fraction portion to indicate course progress
3. Users did not understand the ‘Emotional Dictionary’ and Resources Sections
4. Users commented there were too many steps involved
5. Users stated they didn’t know if the meditations were for them of for their children
Colors and Typography
Sample Marketing Site
There is no question, society as we know it is changing. Conversations about Mental Health are have become more commonplace in recent years, and now more than ever since the recent implications of isolation measures and global crisis.
Luckily, we live in a time where the resource is literally at our fingertips. There are thousands of ways to cope, but time and time again studies show that mindfulness and meditation are a proven strategy to ease mental anxiety and stress
Additionally to serving symptoms of mental distress, mindfulness promotes creativity and intimacy.
I believe that implementing these simple strategies in your own life, and in the lives of your family could potentially create a postive movement in that way that we move forward in society now and for generations to come.