New Boots

An app to help new caregivers to prepare for their journey ahead.

MY ROLE | User Research, Concept, UX/UI Design, Branding, Prototyping
TEAM
Sharon Byun, Experience Design 
Andrea Owens, Experience Design
Katrina Williams, Occupational Therapy
Jahan Shiekhy, Physical Therapy
TOOLKIT | InVision Studio, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Procreate
HACKATHON | 24 HOURS
2nd place winner of the 2019 Care for Caregiving Hackathon by The Lindsay Institute for Innovations in Caregiving.
Challenge
Caregivers tend to put others needs above their own. As a result, their lives become imbalanced and they stop taking care of their physical, emotional and mental health. Utilize technology to help make care management easier and less stressful for primary caregivers. 
Opportunity
There are about 4 million unpaid caregivers in U.S. and many times they take the caregiving role abruptly with lack of preparation, once the loved one is diagnosed.
There are no current effective resources for individuals who are new to the caregiving role
Solution
New Boots is an app to assist individuals in navigating and preparing their new role and identity as a caregiver for their caregiving journey.
KEY FEATURES
1. Onboarding
We used a metaphor of a backpack and essential items inside as what caregivers would need for their journey ahead. There are five main features/items; map (curated educational resources), flare (emergency contact), waterbottle (self care), communication device (caregiving team), and journal (reflection). Because the user will be new to the caregiver role, we wanted to have them spend some time learning about each items they need during the onboarding stage. 
2. Map (educational resource)
When Mary-Margaret found out her husband has Alzheimer's, the first thing she did was Google search. There were many resources out there, but it was overwhelming. On this map feature, New Boots provide a step-by-step curated educational resources from symptoms to financial planning, and contents vary depends on what the user's loved one is diagnosed with.
3. Flare (emergency contact)
Caregivers worry about the emergency situation while the loved one is out of their sight. Flare feature is for sharing insurance, medical information with the user's caregiving circle. In case of emergency, the user can easily text all the medical information to whoever is in their caregiving circle.
4. Waterbottle (self care)
Speakers at the Hackathon event emphasized on how important it is to practice self care while taking care of the loved one. Waterbottle feature would remind users to take time to do self care and also suggest what activities the users can take for self care.
PROCESS & DESIGN
Brand
Many caregivers describe their experience as a journey, and we wanted to design an app that would help them take the first step with a pair of new hiking boots. After brainstorming, we came up with a name "New Boots," and built the look and feel around that concept with a symbol of footprints making a heart and with warm and inviting colors for caregivers going through the most stressful time of their journey ahead. 
Discovery / Define / Ideation
During the Hackathon event, each team from 7 different universities in Virginia was paired with a local caregiver to get insights about their experience. Our team was paired with Mary-Margaret who had to take care of her husband Bryan for 10 years, before he passed away two years ago with Alzheimer's Disease. We listened to her story for a few hours, creating user journey to discover her pain points.
We discovered that she had the toughest time in the beginning of her journey as a caregiver because she didn't know where to go feeling lost. Also as she grows old, Mary-Margaret is now concerned about her son Walter since he would take the caregiver role in the future taking care of her. She wasn't prepared to take the caregiving role, and her son is not prepared to take that role as well. We decided to focus on helping the individuals prepare to take the new caregiving role.
We spent majority of our time researching and listening to Mary-Margaret, and moved on to naming our app, thinking about features, and started prototyping on InVision Studio.
TAKEAWAY
It was a wonderful experience working with students from various background such as physical therapy and occupational therapy, and we all brought different strengths and perspectives to the table. Coming up with a prototype in 24 hours was very challenging especially when I was 36-week pregnant. However, we worked efficiently as a team and eventually won 2nd place with a huge check to bring home and also a proposal from a local funder to sponsor for bringing our idea to life.
Currently our team is participating the VCU Pre-X program by Da Vinci Center in order to take one step closer to make our app useful to real caregivers. After our presentation at the Hackathon event, a caregiver who worked with other team approached us and told us she wished she had this app when her loved one was diagnosed. We hope that one day our app is in the market so that it can help and empower many new caregivers.
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