User Research, Heuristic Evaluation, User Interface Design
ParentsConnect is a community based mobile app aimed to foster strong support system for young parents in the same neighborhoods. My team in Human-Computer Interaction were all responsible for the entire process of user research, while Yuchen and I collaborated and were responsible for the user interface design.
We noticed that there is a lack of support system for young parents living in the Tompkins/Ithaca region since many are graduate students or staff with families living across the country. As an exploratory user research, we first interviewed many parents to confirm the problem and any pain points associated.
From the many young parents we interviewed, we found that some of their main pain points is the difficult to find parents-friendly socials in the community and, with their busy work and parenting schedules, to connect with parents in the same stage of parenthood as them outside of their immediate workplace or church groups.
We compiled data points from our interviews and clustered the ideas in an affinity diagram to find common themes. From these, we realized that some of the main challenges the parents face and the wants and needs of our users.
It seems that the parents are able to schedule events with friends through texting, etc, but the main barrier to connecting with new friends is the lack of centralized location of community events. They usually find scattered information of events from list-serves, flyers, etc but there seems to be a high barrier of commitment to going to these events without connecting to other parents and committing to meet up.
We worked together to draw up story boards and iterate over different design solutions through low-fi mockups, paper prototyping, and user feedback.
After running through some usability testing, we realized that there are several discrepancies between what is expected by the actual users/young parents and what we believe to be obvious. It is clear from this experience that iteration and re-evaluation is key to truly getting a design closer to satiating a user's need.