Advice for Dads, by Dads – a new service that connects new fathers.
I’m a father of two and being a Dad is a fantastic experience. But when my children were born there was a great amount of support for my wife, from mothers groups, the hospital staff and the community health nurse, but not as much offered to me as a Dad. I wanted to find out, from other fathers, if my assumptions were correct and if they felt the same and if there was a need for a service that would help them find advice and connect with each other.
DEFINING THE PROBLEM
The problem I suspect is that fathers need a way to better connect with other dads, learn more about their role as a parent and seek help because they don’t have the same support as mothers.
- User interviews
- Synthesising results
- Persona development
- Competitor analysis
- Refined goals and problem statement
- Feature prioritisation
- Minimum Viable Product (MVP) scoping
- Information architecture and sitemap
- User flows
- Sketching and low-fi prototyping
- Wireframe development
- Usability testing
- Synthesising results – affinity mapping
- Refine and iterate on changes
How do other fathers feel about being a parent
I spoke to four fathers, 3 face to face and one over the phone. The example questions were taken from my discussion guide and outlined what I hoped to find out.
Discussion Guide Topics
- How they feel about being a Dad.
- How much support they have.
- Where they go for advice.
Discussion Guide Questions
- How did it feel when you first found out you were going to become a Dad?
- What’s the most important thing to you as a father?
- Who you would normally ask for advice about being a parent/father?
I collated the results into an affinity map so that I could group together the responses.
- Dad’s want to hear from each other, not just health professionals.
- Want a trusted source of information. Don’t want to have to hunt around different websites evaluate which one is best.
- Real desire to be hands-on and help with the care of their children as much as possible.
- Want to catch up with other Dads and bring their kids along. Need quick access to information, especially in a moment of crisis or high stress (baby crying).
Dad who wants to be a good Dad.
Other father’s will get where I’m coming from, they have been in the same situation.
In the middle of the night I don’t want to be leafing through books trying to find the right answer.
The qualitative insights from the user interviews were distilled into a persona
A boy, aged 1 month
Uses a laptop for work and has the latest iPhone for work.
Melbourne, but originally from Brisbane so most of his family are there
Owns his own recruitment business
At 2am in the morning when my son won’t sleep and I don’t know how to settle him I don’t want to be flicking through a book for help. I need advice fast!
Goals and Needs
- Wants to help with things he wouldn’t normally do (e.g. cook a meal).
- Support his partner; give them a break and let them rest.
- Wants to show initiative and find information and advice of his own back.
- Not rely on asking his partner the whole time what to do with the baby.
I developed a prioritisation matrix using high and low user value and high and low complexity as measurements. The feature prioritisation informed my Minimum Viable Project (MVP) for day 1 release. The MVP focuses on the core goals defined in my research phase.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
For the first release the following features are mandatory:
- Account creation and recovery
- Information/advice repository in the from of articles
- Ability to search advice based on keywords
- User can submit link/content
- User can rate content
- Mechanism to comment on threads
- User can post a link to an event (date, location etc)
- User can mark attendance to an event
Card sorts with testers from my user group helped me identify how to structure the navigation and categories for advice.
Key categories identified are:
- Settings or Tools
- Chat or Connect
- Get advice or Advice and Tips
- Filters or Topics (one participant broke out into Gender and age ranges)
Sketching enabled me to quickly get my ideas down on-page. Features become interface elements and the sitemap and IA becomes navigation items and links. I like the format of sketching as it helps me iterate through design ideas.
I started to think about how users would interact with key elements. What happens when people use the search feature? Would I enable autofill or predictive search terms?
Low-fidelity, interactive prototype
Designs were kept intentionally low-fi and without imagery, colour or branding so that I can focus on the layout and interactions. I used real-world content to make the experience feel authentic. Designs were optimised to iPhone size for testing on my device.
Best viewed on a mobile device.
CONTEXT OF APPS USE
Although my initial designs were logical, I kept thinking back to the user interviews and the context in which the app would be used.
Wireframe development – Registration process
The registration process is an important flow within the app. Leaning on best practice principles I developed the flow and screens.
- Indicated progress at key points
Step icon at the top of the page was used to inform users along the process.
- Value exchange
I wanted to clearly articulate to the user (using text above fields, tooltips and a summary at the start of each step) why certain information is being asked for and what the benefit will be to the user.
- Skip non-essential questions
Not all the information is needed at the point of signup. Although the benefit has been highlighted, users may still want to add this information later. I offered a Skip function to allow for this.
How does my prototype work with real users
Scenario 1 – Register
At work a friend has told you about the Fatherhood app and you download it to your phone. Later that day on the train home you open it for the first time. Complete the registration process so that you can start using the app.
What did I want to find out from my tests:
- Is the registration process easy to use?
- Are users aware of why they are being asked for certain information and are they comfortable handing it over?
- Is the registration process even needed at this stage of the apps use. Is it a barrier?
Scenario 2 – Find advice
It’s 2am and your baby won’t stop crying or go to sleep. You don’t want to wake your partner, but you want to work out what to do. You open the Fatherhood app to look for some advice.
What did I want to find out from my tests:
- Can users find what they want quickly?
- Is the overall design helping or hindering this task?
What I was challenged on and what did my user tests tell me about the design.
Key findings – pain points
- Categorisation of advice on the homepage needs structure.
Response/suggested solution: Listing by A-Z would be easier to navigate.
- Search was a preferred method of finding what they need.
Response/suggested solution: Give search form more prominence on the home screen.
- Registration process – better indication that skipping a step will complete the user signup process. Users were surprised that their registration was complete.
Add next/previous buttons and have a ‘review’ page so the user can assess and edit the information provided before submitting the registration
- Registration for the app, before they could start using it, was seen as a barrier.
Response/suggested solution: Introduce registration only when a user wants to contribute advice or post/respond to an event.
- Screen was seen as cluttered with too many options. Some of the navigation was skipped and overall the user felt overwhelmed.
Response/suggested solution: Reduce clutter. Keep only the elements that were perceived as essential to the task at hand. Hide secondary functions behind a menu if needed.
Rainbow chart of user test results.
Iterations to design based on user testing
Modifications to my existing screens were sketched out to encompass the feedback from my user testing.
Overall cleaner and streamlined design
- Section navigation moved to the top so it’s clear what view the user is in
- Search made much more prominent3 – Advice listed as A-Z with a jump menu to letter4 – Alternative filters for when the user just wants to browse. Points 4 (Gender) and 5 (Age) help refine the list of options/categories (Point 6)
- See above
- Categories could be ‘Sorted by’ most read, most recent and again by A-Z.
- Sub-categories would show once the user has clicked through (e.g. Bottle Feeding in Feeding)
This is as far as the project got in terms of my time on the General Assembly course.
Next steps include:
- Move the prototype to a higher fidelity – introduce colour and branding.
- Develop the tone of the copy used. Could there be an opportunity to introduce a light hearted style for some of the sections?
- Flesh out the Event screens and how they would work in more detail.
- User test the Event screens.