Daniel Chew
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Caring Circle App

UX / UI DESIGN

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Caring Circle

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

 
 

DESIGN QUESTION

How might we improve the lives of caregivers and those living with mental health problems?

 

Overview

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 a mental illnesses and their caregivers.


Problem:

Caregivers need access to more resources and increased support in order to sustain their own well being.

PROBLEM

 

USER RESEARCH

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:

 
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COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

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.

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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.

SOLUTION

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.

 

IDEATE

I started by creating a few sketches to demonstrate key user flows.

Sketches

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USER FLOW

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.

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USABILITY TESTING

Validating

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:

  1. Some features were not intuitive enough for users

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2. Should add caregiver articles to Explore page

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3. Upcoming Events tab on Home page should be revised

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FINAL DESIGN

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I started designing high fidelity prototypes by creating a style guide for the user interface and determining major screens of the app. I used Sketch for UI design and Principle for motion design.

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Screening Questions

When users open the app, they will go through a couple of screening questions to build a profile that is compatible to the user based on the data it collects. This will enable the app to connect them with better services, groups, and other users with similar interests and needs.

 

 
 

Joining Groups/ Connect with Others

“Joining Groups” is one of the five screening questions designed to help build users’ profiles. The other questions include: Categories, Relationships, Interests, and Find Services.

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Profile Page

Once users finish with the screening questions, a profile is essentially built. On the profile page, users have access to their saved services, groups they have joined and connections they have made.

 

 
 

Explore Page

The Explore page is where users can find new events, groups, and friends to connect with. It also includes caregiving articles with tips on how to handle different situations for people living with mental illnesses and disabilities.

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Messaging People

Users can access their messages and can choose to message other users when they select the “Messages” tab on the main navigation.

 

NEXT STEPS

The next step would be to continue to develop the services tab on the secondary navigation and add a feature that would allow for financial support. As a majority of my participants involved caretakers of dementia patients, I would also like to run additional usability testing to focus on caregivers assisting individuals with other forms of mental illnesses and disabilities to see if the results would differ.