Designing a social network for sharing baby photos
UX Designer (Research, Visual Design, Interaction Design, User Testing)
4 weeks
Figma, Pencil & Paper
iOS design, interaction design logo design, visual design, branding
Designing a prototype of Beluvd, an app that allows users to add content, share it, discuss it, and revisit it. Effectually, a social network for baby media.
This speculative project was designing the key screens of an app that solves a problem for users. I chose to address the dearth of dedicated digital products for sharing baby photos and videos.
What solution can I provide for the lack of dedicated media sharing apps in Babytech?
Research: there's a portmanteau for everything
Conducting secondary research for this project was absolutely imperative: the idea came to be due to a perceived gap in the market, but just how wide was it?

I started with a quick industry overview to grasp who I'm designing for, what the landscape looks like, and where my project fits into it. I found some really interesting stuff re: parenthood and photo-sharing habits.

Baby albums have entered the 21st century and the baby industry isn't slowing down at all. Some key facts:

1. 92% of 2-year-olds have some level of online presence (The Atlantic)
2. Sharing media of one's own baby has it's own portmanteau moniker: 'sharenting' ( BBC)
3. The online presence of children through their parents' accounts will be a huge contributor to identity fraud by 2030 (The New Yorker)
4. Investors have injected $500 million in funding into Babytech companies since 2013 ( Forbes)
5. About 72% of parents want their own parents to think they are doing a good job raising their children, 52% care a lot that their friends (52%) do ( PEW)

I also found some vital demographic info on prospective users:

1. The average age of first-time mothers in America is now up from 21 to 26, while for fathers, it's increased from 27 to 31." (NY Times)
2. Married couples make up 68 percent of all families with children under age 18 ( USCB)
3. One-in-seven U.S. infants (14%) were multiracial or multiethnic in 2015, nearly triple the share in 1980 ( PEW)
I knew there weren't effective solutions for the gap in babytech re: 'sharenting'. Secondary research helped me grasp who the user I'm designing for is and what their behavior is, statistically.
Knowing about what options are available to users is just as important as figuring out who they are. A competitive analysis is perfect for this. I found a few apps that certainly cater to parents and their media storage needs, though often with the endgame of printing of physical keepsakes. I also compared their strengths and weaknesses to assess what features are must-haves and what I can improve on.
This competitive analysis examined the other options avaialble to users, and spotlit how they cater mainly to printing physical keepsakes and feature dated design.
Through demographic research and working backwards from the competitive analysis to ascertain user needs, I developed these provisional personas (precursors to the real persona in stage 2) to get an idea of who to interview during empathy research.
These personas utilized the secondary research to determine what traits I would require in my interviewees to ensure the empathy research was relevant to the user.
To get down to the nitty gritty of what users actually need, I interviewed 5 people, all parents, and grandparents. Focusing on their general experiences with the babies in their life and their media sharing habits, here are a couple of quotes I pulled that encompass the interview process:

"A negative experience would be I can't find the video that I'm looking for, or picture that I'm looking for if the picture is more than a month searching is a little bit difficult."

"It's much more easier to have every picture connected in one place. So everybody can have an access. Instead of just sending it back and forth."

I made an empathy map to dissect the interview responses and group them together into common clusters.
I interviewed 5 people that participate in the sharing of baby media to organize this empathy map which categorizes common pain points and behaviors i.e. issues locating specific content and needing a dedicated place for their media.
which indicated the following needs
These clusters were then synthesized into insights
To be able to have discussions alongside shared media
To have a method to find specific media
To have a place to store photos of the baby
Most users share photos of the babies in their lives through messaging apps
Most users have difficulty locating specific media in the collections on their phone
Most users look at pictures & videos they’ve taken of the baby because it gives them positive feelings
Define: Houston, (let's find) a problem
Knowing our users' needs and other insights from empathy research allows for the creation of a primary persona.

Priyanka is a new mom who documents her child's growth and all the other cute stuff she does- and, of course, shares with family! The brand affiliations reflect three aspects of parenting the interviewees frequently mentioned, and the goals/needs and frustrations/ motivations reflect the empathy research in stage 1.

Designing for the primary persona should account for the needs (if not all) of the secondary and tertiary users too- especially in this scenario where the motivations and frustrations were largely the same across interviewees of different use cases.
Priyanka is a synthesis of the frustrations and motivations uncovered during empathy research. I designed for her through the rest of the process.
POV statements encapsulate users' needs, and HMW questions transfer them to the designer's remit. By literally asking 'how might we do so-and-so?", I can start generating potential solutions to the needs uncovered in empathy research.

The insights and needs from empathy mappng comprise the first two columns in this diagram, and the last two is where they are formatted into actionable statements.
To start generating solutions, I converted the user's needs to 'How Might We' questions. This makes pain points more actionable from my, the designer's, POV.
Using the HMW statements to brainstorm and generate potential solutions, the product started to come into focus.

This value proposition diagram is a way to reiterate Priyanka's needs while directly defining the product in the context of the user experiencing it.

As this was a new brand/project this diagram was really helpful in solidifying its purpose.
After brainstorming, I further connected the possible solutions to Priyanka's wants through this value proposition diagram. As this was a new brand/project this diagram was really helpful
in solidifying its purpose.
The features in the above diagram, while fitting, are apirational. By assigning criteria (effort, confidence in implementation, and the user need being addressed), I could sort those features and all others I considered into different priority levels.

These define the strategy and order of attack in designing the app, and the Priority 1/2 groups define the MVP and relative goals for the end of the 4 weeks.

I determined that the features I would focus on delivering were the timeline of photos, the creation of albums, and categorizing content for easy location.
I narrowed down the features enumerated in the value proposition diagram into reasonable goals for the project's time frame through this roadmap, using criteria like confidence in delivery. I decided on the timeline, albums, and categorization.
Ideate: What's the big idea?!
At this stage of the design process, I knew the features likely to end up in final prototype. The organization of these features and the content within them- the information architecture- needed to be defined.

This app map accomplishes this by illustrating the structure of the screens that users will navigate through.
Starting in on the interaction design, I knew I'd be building out an MVP that allowed users to share and categorize their media. The informaion architecture of the app was organized in this app map.
The aforementioned navigation within the app map's structure can vary in myriad ways- but this task flow grounds the proposed flows to the user's needs.

The below tasks address the three needs uncovered in earlier stages: storing, discussing, and locating content.
The task flow explores how Priyanka would use the app map to accomplish the needs uncovered in empathy research: storing, discussing, and locating.
The above task flows were enmeshed and expanded upon to develop this userflow, which encompasses lots of different user journeys and all the forks in the road, so to speak. This userflow was a great learning experience for me as it was my first foray into content-driven navigation, where users "move freely through content, or the content itself defines the navigation," as defined by iOS's Human-Interface Guidelines. Instead of the flows culminating in an end task (i.e. a checkout), the user's experience isn't quite so linear.
The tasks flows were combined and expanded on to create this userflow; it accounts for the various user journeys that are possible within the content-driven navigation of the app map.
Design : bringing life's rich tapestry to the screen
I knew the journey users would take, but what would they see? These low-fidelity wireframes were a way to visualize how to include the differencefeatures I was proposing within the limited real estate of a mobile screen. Keep scrolling to see the dramatic in final product!
I sketched out lo-fi wireframes to start visualizing how the interaction design will be communicated to the user through the interface.
The groundwork of the low-fidelity wireframes gave way to these mid-fidelity wireframes, which leave out the visual design aspects to focus on layout. These wireframes are labelled with key features and gestures required to access them.
The mid-fi wireframes established structure and layout.
I expanded on the above mid-fidelity wireframes by designing additional screens that comprise different user journeys. This allowed me to link them together to create a testable prototype to ascertain if the proposed features are navigable and intuitive.

Please see the final prototype under 'Testing and Beyond'!
Alongside additional screens, the above wireframes were linked to create a testable prototype that addressed key tasks.
Testing & Beyond: Testing ➪ failure. Failure ➪ understanding.
Once the prototype was complete, it was time to put it to the test, literally- a moderated remote think-aloud test with task assessment. Five participants who are parents, grandparents, or other parts of the sharing network in their family were asked to complete 6 tasks to assess the usability of the prototype:

1. You're Priya. This app is where your photos/videos of your baby are stored and shared amongst your family members. Sign in.
2. Check your notifications and select the first.
3. Leave a reply to Pop Pop's comment on the photo.
4. Find and open the photo of Kaya (your baby) standing through filtering by 'Milestones' and 'Best Smiles'.
5. Open the 6-Monthday! Album.
6. Add a photo of Kaya, and tag it as “Sleeping Angel".
I tested with 5 people who could be hypothetical users. Instead of testing flows, I asked them to complete smaller tasks that make up those flows to pinpoint specific issues.
The testing validated a lot of the ideas behind the navigation and information architecture of the app, but testers had several issues with the filtration/tagging aspects in tasks 4 and 6.

Task Completion Rate: 86% across all tasks. This was mainly due to difficulty with the gesture for task 4, and an issue understanding the task wording of Task 6.

Error Free Rate: 90%.

I organized an affinity map to determine common comments amongst testers. Like empathy mapping, this technique involves transcribing observations and then organizing them into similar groups.

This clarified areas of improvement (i.e. comment hierarchy, gesture discoverability,etc.). I then determined recommendations for improvement- see below.
Testing and the subsequent affinity map proved that there were some issues discovering the filtration on the main timeline or struggles with the swiping gesture.
Positive interactions:
  • 5/5 participants successfully completed tasks 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6
  • 5/5 participants made no errors in tasks 1 and 2
  • 4/5 successfully completed task 6 and made no errors in task 5
  • 3/5 participants (all familiar with other photo sharing apps) said most of the navigation was intuitive

Additional Comments
  • On the filter icon: “I think it might help me to know if it had a little arrow that was pointing to the left. And that when I hovered over it, it kind of did some micro interaction where it like popped out like it wanted to come out and that thing out.”
  • On the ‘Add’ Icon: “It could be a little bigger, it could be a little bit more apparent, it could probably be bigger than the filter thing.”
  • “This filtration thing is really cool now that I know how to use it, I just think it should open when I tap it too”
5/5 participants had issues with the filtration mechanism- they were all able to locate it but were confused by the gesture required, 40% needed prompting to figure it out.
Add an ‘apply’ CTA in the filtration card
2/5 participants didn’t realize that the filters automatically applied
Remove the ‘reply’ label and replace with a reply icon to the right of each comment
4/5 participants expressed confusion regarding commenting, as the hierarchy of replies wasn’t clear

Change the ‘filter by’ copy to something like ‘assign a tag’

2/5 participants struggled with the tagging process in adding a photo, they didn’t understand what tagging was in that context.

Add a caret next to the filter icon to indicate the gesture
A major issue that arose during testing resulted from a risk I took where the filter icon opens a card with chip tags if the user swipes, but this gesture wasn't intuitive in the mid-fideltiy prototype. Taking on the feedback that an indication of the gesture required would help clarify the action, I added a chevron to the left of the filter icon- you can see this on the left.

On the right is the 3rd recommendation in action, removing the 'reply' label and replacing it with an icon to the right of each comment. This is aimed at mitigating the confusion caused by a single 'reply' label under each thread, which caused some testers to think they were replying to a reply as opposed to the parent comment.
Below you can see two recommendations made to ease the issues uncovered in testing. I added a chevron to indicate the filtration pulls out to the left, and used an icon to clarify the hierarchy of comments.
Once the prototype included the recommendations from user testing, it was time to establish the aesthetic direction to move toward a high-fidelity prototype. I determined brand attributes to ground this process in the bigger picture of what the app needs to communicate to users:
I determined specific attributes to ground the visual design against as it was developed.
While several of these reflect the focus of the app (adorable, gentle, joyous babies!) the others are related to function. Beluvd is about sharing amongst our familiars, the enduring nature of keepsakes and baby albums, and the opportunity to reflect on a youngster's growth. I used these attributes to compile a moodboard of logo, type, and color inspiration. Many of the images I collated used brights and pastels, as well as chunky or rounded sans-serifs. After finding 'Opificio', a typeface which had joyous and familiar rounding, I developed variations on a type-based logo. I settled on one of the simplest for readability's sake, but employed a bezier curve to emphasize the interconnectedness of the app.
Every visual design choice, whether it was the type, iconography, or color, referenced the above attributes. Below are logo sketches and the final choice.
I fleshed out the rest of the visual design by manipulating colors from my moodboard and settling on the Raleway typeface. It has design elements reminiscient of vintage toys, which communicate something familiar and enduring. Once I applied these elements to the prototype, I imported various components to create this UI kit for future reference and handoff.
The UI Kit consolidates the visual design decisions made with the brand attributes in mind. It serves as a master doc for reference/handoff.
TIme for the finished product. Below you can see the application of the UI Kit on several of the original mid-fi wireframes. Below that you can see the prototype in action, but feel free to click through it here.

This was a really fun foray into current trends, like glassmorphism and gradients.
Applying the UI Kit and visual design resulted in these hi-fi wireframes and prototypes. Swipe to see the difference in mid to hi-fi!
Locating content through filters.
Discussing content with loved ones.
Adding content.
User testing indicated that most features of Beluvd were navigable, but I would look forward to testing the high-fidelity prototype were this project to continue. Measurable KPIs upon launch would include number of downloads, number of active users, user retention, and session length.

After testing and iterating on the new hi-fi prototype, I would launch while measuring KPIs like # of downloads, active users, and user retention.
The main challenges were:

- this was my first foray into iOS design
- sometimes our ambition can impede functionality

The former provided an opportunity to envelop myself in Apple's human-interface guidelines, and I now feel confident in my knowledge and ability to dissect guidelines and design systems.

The second challenge was a hard pill to swallow but a valuable lesson. Let me explain: I set out to stretch myself with regards to my prototyping abilities and UI design skills. This, however, also impeded the function of my product. I learned how to create more realistic gestures in Figma, but found that this caused a lot of confusion in user testing. I'm hopeful that further additions will make the filtration feature function better- only more testing will tell.

With regards to the UI design, I made a lot of strides in this project. I was excited to introduce lots of color and cool trends- but quickly found upon application that these elements can in fact be distractions from what users actually want to see (which is, of course, their babies). Much like the ideation stage being my first foray into the structure of content-driven design, this stage illuminated that user-generated content is a huge part of the UI itself, with all its color, style, and dimension.
I quickly grasped apples human-interface guidelines, while also understanding that content-driven navigation translates to ensuring the content shine! I learned the UI needed to be a pedestal for user generate content and not a distraction from it.