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Care Squad

Empowering Caregiving Teams to Enhance Care for Loved Ones

Project Type: Conceptual

Responsibilities: UX Design, UX Research, Prototyping

Team: Solo Project

Duration: 80+ hours

ABOUT

Caring for loved ones can be challenging. Care Squad is an end-to-end app that simplifies caregiving. No more endless group texts or confusion - everything you need for the best care is in one place. Care Squad is designed to support caregiver teams for older adults, children, or pets, enabling them to collaborate, stay organized, and remain connected. 

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PROBLEM CONTEXT

The Growing Need for Coordinated Caregiver Assistance

As the number of family caregivers in the US continues to rise, it's becoming increasingly common for individuals to care for more than one loved one (National Alliance for Caregiving, 2020). While caring for loved ones can be rewarding, it can also be incredibly challenging, and the stress can quickly become overwhelming. That's why seeking support from others is so crucial. However, coordinating care among multiple caregivers can quickly become a daunting task. Here are some of their challenges:

  • Caregivers have to navigate the unique needs and schedules of each loved one while managing their own personal and professional lives
  • Caregivers may not know the unique personalities, needs, and behaviors of loved ones
  • Caregivers may not be aware of the routines and habits of loved ones

What opportunities exist to beat out competitors and cater to the needs of caregiving teams for loved ones?

THE USERS

Caregiving teams consisting of one or more care recipients who desire to improve their proficiency in providing care and work together more cohesively

Goals:

  • Centralize information to reduce the time spent by caregiver teams to look for tasks and information
  • Create a platform that is equally useful for different recipients, including elderly parents, children, or pets
  • Simplify the caregiving experience by providing an intuitive and user-friendly platform that meets the needs of all caregiving teams
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THE PROBLEM

Finding a single platform that can serve as a centralized support tool for caregiving teams to take care of all loved ones, regardless of age or species, can be challenging.

  • Existing apps typically focus on one type of care recipient 

  • Relevant information is omitted

  • Special instructions or notes are difficult to distinguish

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Pets are not included as care recipients.

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Special instructions are included in a card in this layout.

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Notes can easily be overlooked with this layout.

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Special instructions and relevant information are combined in one space.

 THE SOLUTION

Create a single app that efficiently combines features and information to keep caregivers of adults, children, or pets collaborating, organized, connected, and updated.
 

  • Streamline task requests in one centralized location for users
  • Allow team members to view and communicate about tasks with ease
  • Make it simple to include and find pertinent information
DISCOVER

What apps exist and how do they address these challenges?

To truly understand the needs of our users, I embarked on a journey of discovery that included a competitive analysis and app audit. This not only allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what's available to caregiving teams, but also helped me identify the gaps in current solutions. Through this process, I discovered that existing apps are limited in their inclusivity, with a focus on adults with health conditions, children, or pets separately. What's missing is a centralized platform that supports the entire caregiver team, no matter who they're caring for.

What would help make an app more supportive and inclusive for caregiving teams of loved ones?

I interviewed five individuals who coordinate care for adults, children, or pets, using a focused research plan to guide the in-person or phone interviews.
 
 

DEFINE

A centralized app that combines features and information is crucial for efficient collaboration, organization, and communication within teams.

Using an affinity map and analyzing the interview data, I uncovered a common theme - gaps in coordination among caregiver teams often occurred when relevant information was not easily available; I also gained insights into user needs, frustrations, and motivations.

NEEDS:

  • Reminders
  • Able to reference tasks/instructions
  • Able to find information quickly

FRUSTRATIONS:

  • Lack of communication or miscommunication
  • When more than one caregiver helping with same task
  • Dealing with unexpected issues

MOTIVATIONS:

  • Finding ways to make things enjoyable or comfortable for care recipient brings happiness
  • Feeling of satisfaction for helping
  • Feeling useful in helping

Improving the availability of relevant information enhances care and coordination among caregiver teams.
 

  • Caregiver teams waste time searching for information from different sources
  • Important details about tasks may be missing when requesting help
  • Gaps in care are likely due to communication breakdowns

To address the identified gaps, I utilized "How Might We Statements" and created user point-of-view statements based on the insights from my interviews. These guided the development of three personas with a user-centric approach.
 
 

DEVELOP
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Prioritizing Navigation and Features for the Minimum Viable Product

With the flows in place, I turned my attention to the app's navigation menu. A sitemap helped me identify the key features to include in each menu, which kept my ideas organized. Using a feature roadmap, I prioritized the essential elements to include in the minimum viable product, informed by user research and the needs of Clarissa, Juan, and Remy. By focusing on the features with the most significant impact and urgency, I ensured the app would deliver the best experience for users.

Let the design begin.

After establishing a clear direction, I started sketching wireframes to create key screens. I used my app audit as inspiration and added more details to my sketches to ensure clarity. This helped me avoid any confusion or distractions when building low-fidelity wireframes and a quick prototype in Figma. I included the most essential features in the navigation bar menu and referred to my sketches as I created the wireframes.
 
 

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Sample wireframes of the calendar page and screens for requesting help with childcare.

Using an iterative approach earlier in the design saved me time in the end.

I conducted virtual testing to get feedback on the prototype, recording responses for analysis. I focused on testing the flow and user interface for these tasks: 

  • Requesting a task with special instructions
  • Selecting, reviewing, and completing an unassigned task.

Testing the prototype with two users revealed some pain points and confusion in the user interface, which required a redesign. This early testing provided valuable insights into what didn't work well and what features users expected to see. To synthesize the feedback, I used an affinity map and noted key takeaways for the next stage of the design process, creating high-fidelity wireframes.

Conveying a compassionate, calming, and encouraging brand

To cater to the needs of caregivers who are often stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out, Care Squad's brand identity must exude compassion, care, and encouragement. To achieve this, I utilized calming colors and minimalist designs, while also ensuring color contrast issues were avoided by adapting the original color scheme.

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Bringing the app to life using colors and usability testing findings 

After the first usability test, I was more confident in creating high-fidelity wireframes. To keep Clarissa, Juan, and Remy's needs in mind, I referred to previous research findings and key takeaways. As I designed each screen, I asked myself if it would be useful for them. Some designs were adapted to better meet their needs. Seeing the screens and prototypes come together was satisfying, with colors, identified features, and priority screens.

Sometimes it takes more than one try

I conducted a second round of usability testing with three participants, using high-fidelity wireframes. Feedback was recorded and reviewed in-depth. The same two tasks from the previous test were re-tested, with one issue still persisting. I analyzed the feedback and identified key themes using an affinity map. Based on the results, I prioritized iterations for the most impactful and urgent changes.
 

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DELIVER

An app for caregiving teams of all ages and species was created.
 
 

  • Centralized space for teams to request help with tasks for loved ones
  • Caregivers can add important information for quick reference
  • Caregivers have the ability to update their team about completed tasks

The second round of usability testing informed the following changes I made.

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I improved the visibility of required fields as users were consistently confused and missed the "Required" label and asterisk. By adjusting the placement and using a brighter color, it is easier for users to identify the required fields.
 
 

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I added examples to clarify what information could be included under "helpful tips" to help users understand what to include.

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Improving visual hierarchy helps users find important information more easily.

NEXT STEPS

There is always room for improvement. 

With my latest research findings, I would:

  • Implement an onboarding process to showcase and explain features to users
  • Perform usability testing to evaluate current iterations and new features
  • Conduct additional research to better understand user needs related to other features, such as alerts and search

REFLECTION

After completing my last project, I reflected on how differently I felt during this process.

I had a cohesive design process with this project. I gained a better understanding of how each step could benefit my designs. Time management was a challenge, especially during interviewing, usability testing, and high-fidelity wireframes. To improve, I plan to focus on better planning and time management. In the future, I want to include more users during interviews and testing for deeper insights.
 
 
 

© Liz Arenas 2023