A management and messaging system to assist parent cooperatives in scheduling childcare.
When my daughter and I moved to Ann Arbor in the fall of 2017, we found that the afterschool childcare program at her elementary school was full. Even the alternative childcare options in the area were completely booked. The local YMCA even had a 2-year waitlist. We do not have the budget for daily babysitters, so we decided to try something different. After brainstorming on this idea in SI582, Interaction Design, I came up with a solution.
Having been involved in a co-op before, I thought one way to solve our problem would be to create a childcare co-op with other parents in the area. After looking into this possibility, I realized that there are not many tools available for managing all of the information that co-ops need to share. During the SI588 course, I was able to create a prototype of a platform that would solve my problem. The Kid Cooperative is a co-op management tool that would support parenting groups by managing communication, point systems, and a shared calendar.
A large part of my design process relies heavily on research, fact-checking assumptions, and diagramming processes. I developed a deeper understanding of what may be required by a co-op from background research and competitive analysis. With this information, I was able to create tools and functions to address the specific user’s needs. During this phase, my design changed in concept from being a platform for one Ann Arbor-based co-op to a co-op management platform. I could not justify the need for a location-specific site and instead thought that a site for anyone, anywhere made more sense.
Sketches & Ideation
From initial sketches of potential solutions to sketching user stories, I tested a wide variety of diverse concepts. The brainstorming process provided me with many opportunities to refine my original co-op idea as well as try out less practical solutions. Through testing many different perspectives on the problem, I became better at understanding the idea as a whole.
These prototypes were tested during in-class usability tests with 3 Interaction Design students. The results of these tests were used to iterate on the design of the prototype interface.
Impact of research
This was a individual project created in the University of Michigan's School of Information Interaction Design course.