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You+

A guide to prepare you and your network for the postpartum experience.

Why You+?

The problem:

Postpartum is the period immediately after birth. It is unpredictable, unique, and has a cultural pattern that the focus goes from the mother to child once they are born. 

How might we bring the mother's community back to the mother in order to enhance mental and social well-being during postpartum?

The solution:

You+ is a workbook with a digital counterpart that assists mothers in preparing for their individual postpartum experience. The book and app provide questions to facilitate thoughts and plans for a personalized postpartum experience. This service also incorporates the mother's network in order to increase support and social well-being.

Main learnings:
Our design research process:
Our design research process:

Look into the system surrounding the user helps us as designers dive even deeper into the problem.

Strong critiques are good! It is more like a pivot to the right direction. One step back is a new path forward.

Having a team that is close professionally and personally, creates a more resilient and collaborative team. Even in the toughest of times.

Always open up the conversation for those who don't speak up the most by asking what their perspective is on the topic. They may have the best ideas.

 
 

1. Recruitment & on-boarding

First, we scoped out our audience:

Recruit parents who have gone through the newborn process during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2019- present) to see if COVID-19 had an impact to newly mothers.

Second, we created an onboarding process that included:

1. An explanation of the project

2. A welcome letter that included:

  • Introduce Compensation

  • Requesting picture artifacts

  • Protections provided for personal information

  • A few sample questions

  • Zoom instructions as PDF or YouTube link

3. An explanation of the project

4. Consent form any recorded information

to ensure we organized our logistics before interacting with parents.

Lastly, we reached out to friends & family to be a part of our participants since we we're on a time constraint.

Tools we used during interviews:

  • Traditional note-taking

  • Artifact analysis

  • Ecosystem model of their network

  • Noting down gestures & emotes

The Welcome Letter:

Designed by whole team

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2. Participant interviewing

​We researched:

  • 6 parents who had a newborn child in the pandemic

  • 2 participants from 3 countries (United States, Japan, New Mexico)

  • Remote 1-hour zoom interviews, highly taking into consideration the time zone difference, and accomodating the individual based on their schedule

  • Compensation was included

  • Hover over picture for tools we used

Since our team was so diverse, we felt diversity within our participants was important! But, we also found that none of us have bared a child, so we conducted a user research bias meeting to make out biases known and to establish biases checks throughout the process.

Participant interviewees

Tools we used during interviews:

  • Traditional note-taking

  • Artifact analysis

  • Ecosystem model of their network

  • Noting down gestures & emotes

  • Otter.ia for voice transcription

 

3. Synthesizing Data

Data Wall

​After interviewing each individual, my team and I created a data wall on Miro to take our data from our contextual interviews and ecosystem mapping inorder to group common themes and created insights.

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Journey Maps

We then created journey maps based on each parent's experience from pre-birth all the way to postpartum. We pointed out proud points and pain points to use them as leverage points in our storytelling. Additionally we used theses leverage points to create ideate on solutions. 

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Our research concluded that:

  1. Social Media and parent's networks kept the parents feeling supported.

  2. Uncertainty & loneliness were the two main factors of lower mental well-being.

  3. Advocacy for the patients was a major factor to achieve a higher quality of care.

  4. Parents wanted enough information to make decisions, but also did not want to be overloaded with information.

 

4. Needs & outcome statement

With all our findings we narrowed down our focus to prepare us for the next part in the design process.

The Outcome:

We know our tool is successful when it improves their emotional state by connecting and assisting parents through suggesting applicable information during their own specific postpartum experience.

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The Need:

To help postpartum parents create an informed and supportive environment, during the pandemic.

 

So we designed...

 
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You+

You+ (“You Plus”) is a workbook with a digital counterpart, acting as an anticipatory guide for mothers and their postpartum experience. You+ provides guiding questions and help structure a personalized postpartum experience while incorporating the woman’s support network and care team. In You+, there are sections for mothers to designate who will be in their support network, self-reflection, and specific questions that mothers may ask their doctor (as well as a note-taking section). There is also a postpartum depression screener and FAQs about common symptoms and issues that new mothers experience.

Our service design process:

3. Iterating & prototyping

4. Final service

5. Future directions

1. Establish our design principles

Firstly, we decided to look at the current system around the parent's postpartum experience.

 

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Before designing we decided to conduct systems thinking research, and concluded that postpartum experience is highly privatized. While a mother is in this phase, the network around them, who provide them the most support, are unaware of the mother's general state & well-being, and most of the focus turns to the baby. No longer the mother. This essentially creates a disconnect between the mother and their support network.

 

We concluded that the privatization of the postpartum experience of the mother caused a decrease in mental well-being and social support.

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So, we decided to always work to generate a stronger community around the postpartum experience.

"Rebuilding the Village!"

We would do this by:

 
 

We decided to establish design prinicples to scope and focus our product on the first stage of development and to keep the team aligned.

2. Market Research

We conducted a competitive analysis by utilizing a Competition Matrix to see what is already created and learn from other products/services. We collaborated on this through Miro.

This revealed four primary categories of existing products and services: Support, information, connection, and subscriptions. We researched and noted what made their product or service successful. We kept these features in mind when ideating our service.

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3. Iterating & prototyping

How we got here

After we saw what was in the market, we iterated on some ideas together. We wanted to design a service that was new and innovative and landed on an art installation. This art installation would theme around the conversations around the postpartum experience.

But after testing with other parents, and receiving critical feedback, we had to pivot because we found pregnant mothers would not want to walk through an art exhibit.

This was a momentous part of our design process because although we were struct with realistic feedback, and felt torn from our idea, it forced us back to the drawing board, work under pressure due to a close deadline, and led us to a more practical idea.

From this experience, the biggest lesson I learned was that 1 step back is a new path forward. 

 

4. Final service & product

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What

A physical workbook, with a digital counterpart to prepare mothers for the postpartum experience. Once a page is completed, it can be captured and uploaded directly into the app, where other information can be changed or added. 

Who

This is Intentionally designed for someone who has never been through the experience of postpartum since You+ provides guided prompts, to facilitate thoughts and ideas about comfort, support, and communication. 

When

A mother would complete the service before or during pregnancy, looking forward. and later on, if a mother experiences crisis during postpartum, they can refer to the workbook or digital app for guidance.

Video creation by:  Krezia

Subtitles included

We realized within this design process, The customer journey for You+ is non-linear. Each user will utilize the service in ways that best facilitate their needs. 
 
Our research revealed many times over, that the postpartum experience is specifically individual. So we designed it in a way to provide enough structure to support a better experience, but enough flexibility to accommodate many roads for getting there. 

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Tested features

Below are some of the features that were tested prior to presenting on the final service.

This is designed to pre-designate who you might contact in certain situations.

My Network

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There were other features included in each section that was not tested, but we plan, if continued in the future, to test them. During our presentation, we handed out a physical copy of the book to our audience. Please press the button below to view the pdf. version of the book.

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5. Future directions

We realized this service was "fresh out of the oven" and has a lot of room for improvement. If we plan to continue working on this service, we would work on the next following aspects:

Project Details

Assignment: 

Semester-long class project to create and design a solution on a health-related topic:

Postpartum Depression.

Role:

Designer

  • Leadership

  • Branding

  • Project manager

  • Video creation

  • Book & app design

Team:

  • Alisa Elliot

  • Megumi Goto

  • Mirna Mejeda

  • Heidi Ward

Tools:

  • Miro

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Canva

  • Google Workspace

  • Zoom

  • Otter.ai