Recently my wife and I welcomed our first baby. I’d like to say that I was excited, but honestly it was petrifying. We rolled our baby out through those hospital doors, armed with some printed handouts and an invitation to call a hotline.
We pencil-filled in our hospital worksheet to track our baby’s progress for a few days before looking for an easier route. We were initially confused by the many baby tracking apps out there, but we settled on one that seemed right and didn’t cost much. Even though it was digital, the challenge of recording feeds, diapers, and nap times were difficult because of unclear iconography, UI usability, and onboard strategy.
During my initial research, I asked myself, “What if Google built a baby tracker?” With Google’s voice assistant technology, its control over relevant and accessible content, and its product integration through android and software solutions, I felt like it could be a great fit. I wanted to design a solution that leverages those qualities and empowers parents during one of the most stressful times in their lives.
Stripping down these baby tracker applications, I wanted to learn how technology could guide parents with baby tracking and design/prototype a solution.
Designing this technology with Google Home seemed perfect in the hands of those who need extra hands.
User Onboarding best practices
As with any new device or tech, it’s important that I develop user flows with an instruction design plan in place.
Communications within brand guidelines
Google products obey the world of material design. I would need to audit my designs according to that standard.
Raising a child is such a unique experience for each parent that it made it difficult to make any sweeping conclusions about the app. Instead of doing surveys to get general information about parents’ needs, I opted for doing a series of in-depth interviews with parents both expecting their first child and parents who recently had their first child within 6 months. My main goal was to see their differences in understanding regarding child care.
- New parents are willing to reach out to their internet family.
- A baby’s routine is a mystery to new parents, still.
- Parents are actively looking for an ease to baby burden.
After the research and interviews, I realized that I was forming two targets for this product.
The Planners — A group of people interested in preparing for a child months before. They are excited to know everything about their developing baby and want to buy a product that can help them accomplish this.
The Stressed Parents — The other group that’s focused on finding solutions to their changed lifestyle. They’re using inefficient methods of baby tracking and are interested in alternatives that can give them comfort and empowerment.
These two groups had different mindsets and expectations for the product, and I knew that marketing to them with the different messaging was key.
Use Case Scenerios
With these couples in mind, we wanted to come up with situations in which the product could be beneficial to the user. These stories helped inform the user flow of the product and what performance tasks within the app would be most important.
This phase of the project was intriguing to me because it wasn’t just about designing new icons and layouts — it was about designing a new system of interaction.
I used the research to develop a new product—Google Newborn. This would be a smart baby tracker that connects you to your baby through meaningful data. This would be an app that coordinates with Google Home to provide parents with support and guidance during one of the most stressful times in their lives.
Usually, parents don’t have time to pull out their phone to record information about feeds and diapers or even sleep. Share your baby’s activities for easy recording and ask for updates about your baby’s sleeping, feeding, and diaper routine.
Tips and Encouragement
Gain insights for your baby’s care when you need it. Notifications are sent to your phone as needed, linking you to advice regarding specific inquiries and baby milestones.
Integration with Powerful Tools
All of this data can be organized through Google applications like Keep and Calendar. Have a visit to the doctor? Open your Keep app and review your progress notes. How about your baby’s routine? See your Calendar to see differences day by day.
Clean UI through color
The branding was simple given Google’s extensive material design guidelines. Most other competitive baby trackers use large amounts of iconography that I found confusing, especially for new parents. Instead, I only used basic icons supplied by Google, and then focused on the products color makeup. There are three core activities of a newborn: Feeding, sleeping, and changing diapers. I assigned a color to each to help distinguish different activities.
Mapping a voice user experience
How would the user interact with the Google Home? Looking at my use cases, I made extensive lists of how a parent could interact with Google Home and learn about their baby.
New tech means new onboarding
Google Newborn would exist without Google Home, but together the products can change a family. Our marketing incentivizes their partnership and beyond that the Newborn app will onboard customers, asking them to sync their Google Home product. As they do so, they are welcomed to an action-oriented instruction.
A newborn confidence
Armed with information and digital assistance, parents can act with surety as they care for their little loved ones. Google Home has an opportunity to not only be present in the home, but participate through Google Newborn.
This project was a great example how UX can help brands build products and initiatives that solve real problems that we have in our lives. I’d love to hear your thoughts, or if you parents out there would love for Google to make this!