Designing Peace of Mind for New Parents
After coming home with a new-born, first-time parents are often stressed, clueless and sleep-deprived. Being parents is a difficult job that people often have to figure out while doing it for the first time. And babies under 12 months old often demand a lot of attention and care at random hour of the day. Despite all these, parents want to do everything to ensure their babies are happy and healthy.
Two years since the Glow’s founding, we already had Glow that helps couples get pregnant and Glow Nurture to track their pregnancy. Making a baby app would both expand our market and fulfill our users’ needs, so we set out to solve new parents’ headache.
On launch day, Glow baby was also featured under Best New Apps and Health category in Apple App Store. Till this day, we have over 5,000 reviews at over 4.5 stars on iOS & Android app stores (as of May 2017).
I was the lead designer and partial product manager for Glow Baby. I felt very fortunate to be able to design something from ground up but at the same time working with a very experienced and supportive team. My responsibilities included:
- Product management: interviewing users, drafting user testing plans, planning feature, drafting product specs & hosting kick-off meetings with entire team
- Design: designing wireframes, UX flows, pixel mocks, UI animations and marketing/advertisement images
- QA: checking every beta build for bugs and UI fixes
- Coding: Updating Glow’s website and creating Email blasts
The biggest challenge for me personally was that in the very beginning I had no idea what it is like to have a baby, so I could not rely on my experience to make design or product decisions. There’s no easy solution except to immerse myself in the world of parents and talk to parents as much as I can whenever I try to verify ideas or designs.
Within the company, the product team gathered all the mothers as our think tank and hosted initial brainstorms with them before designing anything. The mothers shared their experience and pain points during baby’s first year which was extremely helpful for the product team to plan the app and for me to personally understand this experience. This group also became a Slack channel in which I gather quick feedback for my design ideas.
Yet five moms’ experience cannot represent everybody, and that’s where the Glow community comes in. We used the polling feature in our community to collect opinions from real users. When I was designing the pumping tracking feature, I realized that every mom at Glow tracked pumping in a different way. So I asked our head of research to help post a poll which gave us very helpful data the second day.
We also used usertesting.com to help find new parents to test competitor’s apps and our own app after it’s launched.
Personally in preparation for Glow Baby, I downloaded and used 20+ baby apps, signed up for emails from BabyCenter and the Bump, watched breastfeeding and breast pump videos, and looked up baby poop on Google Images. I also interviewed mothers within and outside our user base.
The Evolution of Home Page
Eat, sleep and pee/poop are three most essential and frequent activities for babies under one-year-old, and parents are most concerned whether these activities are going normally. It took me many rounds of trials to figure out the right layout for logging and presenting information.
The Beloved Pattern Chart
Pattern Chart is one of our users’ favorite features and frequently mentioned in app reviews:
I love that I can see all the days together and notice any patterns so I can create a better schedule for her as I start to sleep train. – Calisurf27
(I) Start to see patterns for your baby form. Like my daughter poops between 3pm-9pm so I brace myself for diaper changes during that period of time. – KatieKat419
But it was not planned to be in the first version in the beginning. The Minimum Viable Product was going to be a scrollable list:
The list is easier to build and satisfies the basic need to view history and edit records. But during the design process, we realized that it doesn’t do justice to parents’ extra work to log those data, which was our initial goal.
Even though the design for history view has already started, we decided to rethink the entire feature and eventually landed on a calendar-like user experience – not only can users view history, patterns and daily summaries, they can also alter records from within the chart. Detecting the pattern requires a higher density of information on one screen, but editing requires objects to be big enough for tapping. We resolved this conflict by adding a zooming interaction.
Other Playful Details
We did not just copy the iOS designs to Android. We respected UX practices and layout constraints on Android and created designs that work well on Android.
On iOS, we designed the UI & pull-down gesture so that users can complete logs with only one hand because parents usually need to hold the baby with the other hand.