Roles: UX Designer, UX Researcher, Video Documentation & Financial Plan Creator
Problem Summary: Maternity ward waiting rooms are designed to be a clean, comfortable, low-stress environment for pregnant mothers and supporting partners during the early stages of labour. Early-stage labour varies between a few minutes to several hours. During this time, expectant mothers are in regular pain and discomfort, and supporting partners do not know how to help the expectant mother. To remedy this problem, we created Mumii, a mobile app and CTG (Cardiotocograph machine) extension intended to help the expectant mother and empower the supporting partner in the early stages of labour.
Solution Summary: The app is split into three sections: data; which provides straightforward contraction and fetal heartbeat data taken from the Mumii extension, tasks; which shows a list of tasks intended to help relieve pain and discomfort, and finally AR; a calming augmented reality experience using paintings in hospital hallways. Customers are hospital administrators, who would purchase a subscription to Mumii and offer it to patients. Mumii makes early-stage labour a more informative, engaging experience for the supporting partner and expectant mother. Mumii was created for GBDA 402 in March, 2017 as a solution to the hospital waiting room problem.
Mumii was my final 4th year project, Global Business and Digital Arts degree, University of Waterloo. My team and I were asked to focus on hospital waiting rooms, with instruction to pick a problem related to that space. We were free to pick the problem and the type of waiting room.
CHALLENGE 1: PICKING THE WAITING ROOM
Sketches and notes from my experience waiting in an ER waiting room for over an hour.
We started out by visiting ER waiting rooms and just... waiting. We wanted to fully experience the boredom of waiting in a hospital waiting room and observe the actions of other people waiting there. Above you can see some of my sketches and notes about different people who were sitting in the room.
After experiencing multiple hospital waiting rooms, we came back with our findings and began to brainstorm, but we got stuck quite quickly. We knew the experience of waiting was boring, but we couldn't come up with a solution we were excited about.
Some of our early (and later scrapped) ideas.
After struggling to come up with solutions, we jokingly talked about picking the maternity ward waiting room. None of us had experience in this waiting room, but we knew it was a pretty high stress environment. After talking to our TA (who had three kids), she told us about the long hours of walking around the maternity ward while she was in early stage labour. We discovered that in early-stage labour, moms are encouraged to walk around to help induce labour to the point where they are ready to push. The TA also mentioned that she kept getting upset with her husband because he wasn't helping her, even though he didn't know how to help her. This insight was where Mumii began. We picked the maternity ward waiting room and began researching.
CHALLENGE 2: USER RESEARCH
Our first user research experiment. The person on the left is playing the mom and the person on the right is playing the supporting partner. The mom is currently experiencing a contraction.
We started out by conducting user research. We wanted to simulate a pregnant mom and supporting partner in an early-stage labour situation, and then watch how each party reacted. Because it would be considered a bit inconsiderate and invasive to do this to a real pregnant mom and supporting partner, we decided to simulate the situation. We had willing user testers go in teams of two -- one of them wearing a backpack on their front (we called them the "mom"), and the other holding a list of tasks (we called them "the supporting partner"). Every two minutes, the partner with the backpack would have to freeze, put their hands over their ears and hum. They couldn't do anything until 30 seconds had passed. This was to simulate regular contractions. During this time, we paid special attention to the supporting partner to see how he/she reacted.
We discovered that the supporting partner did not know what to do when the mom was having a contraction. There was often a look of panic and confusion as they simply waited for the contraction to pass. Often times they would take the mom to the elevator to try and alleviate their pain, but this wasn't a good solution either because the mom is encouraged to walk.
This user research test allowed us to see what the general struggles might be when a mom and supporting partner experience early-stage labour in a hospital waiting room.
CHALLENGE 3: USER TESTING
A user testing a paper prototype of our application.
After we gathered all of our secondary and user research, we came up with a paper prototype of an application that was "connected" to a Cardiotocograph (CTG) machine (see foam core disk in the photo) to test our idea of having an application to help the supporting partner monitor and help the mom through early stage labour. This test allowed us to see problems with two sections of our application, and from this test we completely revamped the way we displayed the AR walking experience.
SIDE NOTE: BUSINESS PLAN
In addition to the design project, we had to come up with a rough business plan for how Mumii might become successful in the real world. For this part of the project I took on the financial analysis. I predicted how much market share we could gain in the first year, which companies we would try to partner with, and our potential revenue over five years.
THE END RESULT
The final application mock-up: Data section (left), tasks section (middle), and AR Walking Experience (right).
Mumii was a big success. I was proud that we had created something unique in a space that was previously unknown to me. While Mumii likely won't become a real-world product, this project taught me how to learn and adapt to new problem spaces, create user tests for discovery instead of just idea validation, the value of paper prototyping, and even some new excel skills with the financial analysis. :)
User Testing to Research: This was the first project where I learned to use user testing as a way to explore a new environment. The first user research test we conducted was eye-opening and significantly impacted the final product.
My Team: I was thankful to have a team that was extremely user-focused. Despite the constraint of not being allowed to talk to pregnant moms and supporting partners during early stage labour, we managed to create a simulation that opened our eyes to some of the problems in this space.
I loved the problem: I really liked our problem for this project. I was excited to solve the problems around the maternity ward waiting room and early stage labour because it was an area I had never explored before.
Failures/Things I Would Do Differently
Talk to more people in our target audience: I would still probably avoid talking to moms in early-stage labour, but I would talk to supporting partners who had just gone through the labour process, or talked to more nurses and doctors who see many moms and supporting partners in this situation on a regular basis.