UX / UI DESIGN
Caring Circle is a social health network app that allows users the ability to achieve better health and wellness through connections with groups, professional services, and other caregivers. The aim is to bring people with similar needs together so that they can connect with one another and build their own support system.
TIMEFRAME: 4 WEEKS
TOOLS: SKETCH, PHOTOSHOP, ILLUSTRATOR, PRINCIPLE
How might we improve the lives of caregivers and those living with mental health problems?
For citizens living with mental health problems and illnesses, caregivers — whether relatives or people drawn from broader circles of support — are critical to recovery. Despite their crucial role, caregivers’ contributions, and the effects of care-giving on their own well-being, have long been underestimated and marginalized.
Caregivers generally provide a variety of supports including transportation, social, financial, and emotional supports for their loved ones. Often, it is not an easy task to navigate through the mental and support health systems to access these services. Studies have shown that although the caregiving experience can be beneficial for the caregiver in terms of personal growth, fulfillment, and purpose, a caregiver’s own health — both physical and emotional — can be negatively affected by the day-to-day demands of long-term care-giving as well.
Failure to support caregivers undermines mental health across the entire population, leading to poorer outcomes, both for people living with mental illnesses and their caregivers.
Caregivers need access to more resources and increased support in order to sustain their own well being.
To understand the problem scope and the care-giving experience, 5 semi-structured interviews were conducted.
From these interviews and my initial research, I deduced that there were 4 main avenues in which the effects of care-giving can be alleviated. These included:
Identify Market Opportunity
I observed other mobile applications that offer services regarding help for caregivers. Many of the apps addressed a couple of the 4 main avenues identified. However, most failed to focus on respite care and financial support.
After assessing these applications, I was able to find a unique market opportunity - a mobile app that would work as a social health network, connecting users with other caregivers and giving them access to categorized groups, events and industry professionals. Users will be able to access respite care and assistance from connections, as well as support services available on the app.
To design an experience that enables users to build a support system to reduce caregiver burden and the isolation one often feels with the job of caring for someone else. This experience will also have the ability to connect users with professional services and respite care as well.
I started by creating a few sketches to demonstrate key user flows.
I mapped out an end-to end user journey of a caregiver’s typical experience opening up the app and navigating through it to visualize areas where pain-points might arise.
To quickly test the concept, I created a lo-fi prototype on sketch that demonstrated various user flows that users would typically take while navigating through the app. The lo-fi prototype allowed me to brainstorm on main features without expending too much resources.
Getting Started with the App:
Insights and Feedback
I iterated the lo-fi prototype by conducting guerrilla usability testing with 5 participants. I recruited my participants based on people who I knew were caretakers and most likely to use the app. With the total of 5 participants, the aim was to validate the solution concept, have clarity on components, and user efficiency.
The participants provided great feedback regarding some concerns that they had:
Some features were not intuitive enough for users