“Nursry”- my first real UX project

A social media app designed for parents.

Dora Mucsi
6 min readFeb 13, 2021

Project Overview

A concept mobile app created during a 2-week sprint as a UX Design student.

How can parents connect with nurseries and other parents online? Is there a good app in place for this? Not that we are aware of. Nurseries and parents use chat groups on Whatsapp to share information but it is not serving their needs and desires.

I created a solution that helps young parents join the local parent community and helps them communicate with nurseries and fellow parents on a child and parent-friendly platform.

Design Process

Stage 1: Empathize with the user.

The target group are parents that use Whatsapp for their interactions with nurseries and other parents.

I conducted 3 user interviews to find out more about the environment they use the product in and their main pain points.

Key questions:

  1. How do you currently interact with the nursery and other parents?
  2. How many times did you use that platform in the past week?
  3. What is your main pain point with the current solution?
  4. What do you like about the current solution?

Stage 2: Define the problem.

The 3 interviews helped me gain an in-depth understanding of the parent’s motivations, behaviours and pain points. I summarised the responses in an affinity map and found the following key features that parents would like to see in an app:

  • Easy access to photos
  • Automatically arranged photos by time and by sender
  • Kids + parents match (who belongs to who?)
  • Calendar for birthdays (cakes and parties are very important!)
  • Ability to share information (messaging)

Chelsea, Fabian and Midori talked me through their recent experience with their children while they were playing at home. Kids have very specific interests in what photos they would like to see. It is a frequent query of their 3-year-old to show a picture of a specific friend in the nursery on a specific day.

Sort of: “Mum, show me a picture of Timmy at the birthday party!”

First of all, “who is Timmy? Which parents does he belong to? When was that birthday party.. like last year in November? How the hell will I find that picture now in my gallery? … oh god it will take ages..”

Creating a Journey Map

I generated an experience map highlighting their emotional state during this scenario:

Persona

My persona is Alex, a young parent who is an occasional user. Alex’s main frustrations are that

a) She can’t locate photos fast.

b) She is unable to match the kids with their parents.

c) She is bombarded by irrelevant information shared in the chat-group.

d) They (the parents and nursery) use several platforms (email, sharepoint, Whatsapp) for interactions.

Problem Statement: Parents need photos shared by fellow parents to be organised so that they can access them easily.

How might we statements:

  1. How might we use parent’s engagement to build an online community?
  2. How might we allocate parents into (chat)groups?
  3. How might we engage with the children?
  4. How might we make the messaging an exciting activity for old and new joiners alike?

A user flow enabled me to map out the path users would take using the app. The two main routes are either selecting “kids” or “parents”.

The “kids” section is designed for children. We can either access photos quick or we can “play”. In the photos section, we can locate images fast or create a collage. The play section is solely designed for kids with a colouring book and collage (the collage function can be accessed from several other pages). The idea of the “play” section hasn’t been taken further in this study, but it can be the subject of further development.

The flow in the parent’s section is designed for everything else. We’re able to send messages, view parents’ profiles, view all media, view calendars for birthdays and change channels.

Group-chat and individual chat options are also available for the user. Shared media is organised by date and by the sender. The children are matched to their parents. Photos can be tagged and allocated to the parent or child. The nursery also has a profile, where the birthdays are stored.

Another finding of the user interviews was that parents would love to follow the development of their child. If this platform was connected to further nurseries and schools, the parents could have access to photos and all information retrospectively. They could review photos as a gallery from the past years and see how fast their little ones grew up. Therefore the design includes channels that could give access to several school/nursery platforms.

Step 3: Ideate.

Sketched prototypes enabled quick testing on users, allowing us to observe behaviours, gain feedback and get a feel for the overall functionality of the app. Below you can see initial, rough sketches. I then used the prototyping app ‘Marvel’, to produce an interactive version.

Sketch (low-fidelity) prototype:

I tested the low-fidelity prototype with 2 users. I considered the users’ feedback to improve the solution and implemented the changes in my mid-fidelity design.

Route 1 for parents and route 2 for kids — the user’s perspective

There are 2 main flows in my design: one for the parents and one for the children, depending on whether the parents are on their own or using the mobile app with their child next to them. This separate flow allows the parents to use a more playful version of the solution where only a couple of functions are available, functions designed for children.

When they are busy with childcare and only want to show a specific photo to their children it’s an easy choice to select “kids” and quickly open up all media files for pictures or for picking a game for their children to play with who don’t own mobile phones yet.

The other route, the “parents” section is where they are able to go into the nursery’s profile and chat with fellow parents securely or access their profiles alongside the previously shared media files. Security is key here. This is a secure social media account for parents. They are also able to create a profile for themselves and for their kids. The kid’s profile is very basic, the main purpose is the identification of the family so that the parents understand who is who and the ability to tag each other’s kids in photos so that they can identify which kid is belonging to which parent.

Channels

Alongside the nursery's profile, the parents are also able to switch between different channels such as the various schools their children went to. Of course, at the stage of this age (which is our use-case) the only channel is the nursery but as the children grow they will attend different schools where the same community can be accessed.

My role, challenges, and learnings.

This was a solo project, so I created everything from scratch. I conducted 3 user interviews and 3 user tests as part of the research and iteration. I generated sketches and I developed the sketches into mid-fidelity wireframes and prototypes.

The main challenge in this exercise was to consider security and what parents and also their kids want. I wasn’t only desinging for 2 users with completely different needs but for the whole family and also the community of parents. Having Alex, the persona in mind helped a lot in creating the designs and delivering a solution that users will find useful.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed the above please get in contact. :)

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