Communication between daycare professionals and parents is sometime inconsistent. This results in miscommunication around tuition payments, student absences, daily needs, and school events. This can be especially true when considering that the majority of students have two working parents who share or trade off school duties; this can add another level of communication challenges.
How do we improve our everyday interactions between parents and daycare staff? At the same time, how do we keep technology from getting in the way?
Parents who currently have children in a preschool or daycare 3-5 days a week, for 6 or more hours.
Survey: Most responders have one (84%) to two (16%) children in some form of childcare. Of that pool, the highest number of children are three- to four-years-old (58%) followed by one- to two-year-olds (37%). The majority of parents are sharing the responsibility of dropping off and picking up kids throughout the week. Any drop off or pick up issues that have been noted have to do with the way an organization has set up their drop off and pick up protocols.
Interviews: After interviewing several parents, there was one common theme: They had no idea that other schools, unless they had used more than one, did things differently (70%, according the survey). Even though this does not suggest a problem per se, when thinking in terms of how mobile we are now, it could be a shock for some who switch schools or centers at some point. The parents’ impressions were that this is how what was done at their preschool or daycare center was done generally across the board. The three most common things that were inconsistent, but were noted as needing improvement, were (1) How tuition was paid (2) How center and schools communicated with parents about their children’s needs and events, and (3) Who is taking care of their children throughout the day, week, month, and year, and how can parents better know who the caretakers are.
- 99% of parents use a smartphone (Apple OS or Android)
- Communication with organizations is typically via phone call but is noted that it’s very inconvenient because sometimes a person answers or not, they get voicemail, message never reaches the teacher or caregiver, or the parent never calls in the first place. Overall there is little confirmation of message delivery
- Over 50% pay tuition by check but would prefer an easier way (auto pay or manual)
- 12% pay with an interest bearing credit card
- 16% already are paying with debit (ACH)
- School events and needs are communicated manually through notes (60%) and printed flyers (40%)
- 20% of surveyed used Facebook in some manner with four interviewed parents who were not comfortable with the idea of using Facebook
- Out of those surveyed, 60% fully know who is caring for their child(ren) on a daily basis, while 15% don’t see knowing specifically who the caregiver is on a given day as being important
Provide a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) iOS app that can be iterated on test through prototyping and user testing. In order to achieve this, four primary features were narrowed down that could be built and tested:
- Setup and create a profile
- Subscribe to a school’s or center’s event calendar
- Check an in-app message
- Check in and check out a child from his or her school or center
Personas & User Flow Task
This project was tested using two prototypes, a low-fidelity version based on wireframes and a hi-fidelity version with visual design applied. Three users from the identified personas were asked to perform four task:
- Create a new account
- Login and check their child in to daycare or preschool
- Subscribe to a classroom calendar
- Review an in-app message
- Add calendar subscriptions to profile set up process
- Add an overlay explaining the elements on the dashboard
- Add “!” to explain the check in/out only works when in the school along with GPS
- Add Account Profiles to the setting screen so that editing can be done
The measure of success for this product is to observe a representative from each persona group perform four tasks without any difficulty or confusion. Through user testing and iterative feedback, adjustments were made. These changes included adjustments to the IA, user flow, and visual design, which enabled each user to perform the required task with a 95%± accuracy, up from 80% during early testing.
These task were:
- Set up an account with one parent and one child
- Subscribe to a classroom calendar
- View an in app message
- Check in a child at daycare or school