Methods Used: Kano Analysis, Remote Moderated Research, Surveys, Usability Testing, User Interviews, Wireframing, Rapid Digital Prototyping
My Role: Writing and conducting questionnaires and interviews, developing key feature sets, digital prototyping, writing and editing findings and recommendations report.
Deliverable: high fidelity digital prototype, findings and recommendations report.
Tools: Adobe XD, Sketch, Google Surveys & Hangouts, Quicktime
Ready Play is a Twin Cities startup founded by parents, for parents to tackle a universal need: scheduling Summer activities for their kids. When they came to our team they had an early prototype and some initial research. They needed a clear focus for the next stage of development before their Fall Beta.
Building A Village In The Middle of Nowhere
The child care and child activity space is littered with failed apps. The Competitor Audit I performed showed us that even well funded startups with piles of VC cash and teams composed of YouTube and Google veterans were floundering.
Right away, I understood the central conundrum was this: parents were crying out for an app that would handle all their kids’ activities, but they needed a robust variety of providers - and providers would not buy in without wide adoption by parents. An anchor feature was needed that served unique needs for both sets of users, giving them all a reason to move to this village together.
Synthesizing ideas from our brainstorming session with Ready Play’s founders and adapting the best features offered by the competition was a jumping off point, but we couldn’t limit ourselves. The data was telling us that because parents were underserved, they were still relying on each other for word of mouth and support. So, we looked at everything from Icelandic ride sharing sites to apps with a strong community component like Warm Showers and Couchsurfing.
It was clear that what distinguished successful apps and sites was the combination of core Utility with the shared values of a Community. Informed by this, seven feature cards were developed and user reaction to them gauged through a Kano analysis: participants were asked how they would feel if a feature was present, how they would feel if it was absent, and whether they would expect either to be the case.
We also needed to gauge reactions to the current prototype, so I drafted a usability test and questionnaire to be run concurrently.
The Sponsorship feature I developed scored extremely highly among respondents
Community: Finding the Anchor
As we gathered data, one feature differentiated itself: the ability to discreetly sponsor families in need in their communities was drawing strong positive reactions. Moreover, since the feature would provide assistance and participants to organizations such as the Ys, Parks and Rec, and Community Ed, it served a core need for both sets of users - parents and providers. Providers would have an incentive to adopt the platform, in turn providing choice and convenience to parents. I decided to iterate further.
Integrating Sponsorship into onboarding, I designed a series of screens that would allow parents using Ready Play for the first time to pick an area of interest, such as STEM or Theatre, an area of need - such as transportation or equipment, and a specific community and neighborhood to choose to support.
While building out a possible anchor feature, it was crucial to iterate on core app functionality. Our usability test had show us that the calendar was confusing for users. The team redesigned the screen to decrease visual clutter and allow the important details of scheduling to live behind discreet tabs. Since the feed and provider search screens had scored highly, by shoring up the calendar Ready Play could move forward with robust core functionality.
The Path Ahead
I drew up high level recommendations and takeaways for the Ready Pay team: concentrating on building a useful tool rather than a social network, and building out Sponsorship to drive provider adoption and seed Ready Play with a strong stable of camps and activities.
Further positioning Ready Play as a B Corporation that builds strong communities while helping parents will help garner positive press and build word of mouth, which our research told us over 80% of parents relied on. Ready Play has a real opportunity to succeed in a challenging space by providing utility and building community - and leveraging something many people forget in their push to market: people care about one another, and want to help.
Providing people tools to be kind is a path forward everyone can feel good about.