cNanny

Here to Help You Balance

Goal

To discover opportunities for a product pivot or complementary service.

Methods

Motivation

As a user researcher and strategist, I seek to solve problems by envisioning innovative products, programs, and processes that truly empower people. I always develop strategy by first developing a deep understanding of a specific problem, the people it affects, and the environments in which the problem exists. In my own work, I have been especially motivated and inspired to provide support to working women.

I have undertaken several projects to research the needs of working mothers. One project resulted in the establishment of "cNanny" an online platform that facilitated the establishment of trust and ease of interaction and contractual negotiations between parents and qualified nannies. 

Challenge

To learn about the challenges faced by working mothers on organizing and scheduling childcare, activities and school  and explore how they meet the various child-related demands on their time.

Users

Working mothers who are employed full-time or own and operate a business 35 or more hours per week. 

Process

In-depth Interviews

Six interviewees were recruited through two Facebook Groups.

Interview questions explored household make-up, childcare arrangements, children’s activities, how women balance their careers with childcare responsibilities, and the support networks, tools, and strategies they employ to assist them. Below are some of the questions that were  probed for in the 30 – 60 minute interviews:

How did you manage your job / career to enable yourself to meet the childcare, school and activity needs of your children? Do you rely on other support, such as a husband, nanny, children’s grandparents, other relatives? Who helps?

Can you tell me about a typical day with juggling work and childcare, school and activities? Like step-by-step 

When you are scheduling birthdays or play dates, what’s the method of communication or reminder for that? 

What are the constraints and challenges you face in managing these needs of your children?

​​What are some hacks you use which you found better enable you to meet these demands/needs?

Affinity Mapping

After transcribing the interviews, they were analyzed through affinity mapping.

Synthesis and Notes

Below are extracts from the synthesis I performed and select notes. 

Demographics and Work/Life Balance

Care Arrangements Key:

  1. FT Nanny / some help in equal parts from mother, mother-in-law, and sister

  2. Mom lives 2 hours away, rarely able to provide care assistance

  3. Supportive neighbors, children are older and she reports they are primarily self-sufficient

  4. Mother provides 12 hours or more of care per week, also some daily assistance from brother < 1

  5. Relies heavily on care support from mother, also ex provides childcare pick-up and drop-off assistance 4 times per week, sometimes get help from ex’s mother

  6. Teenage children take care of younger sister while mom works, occasionally gets help from a friend

Intersection of Challenges

The yellow boxes are results or consequences of these challenges.

Strategies

Working moms employ a variety of strategies to help them manage the demands on their time. These strategies include planning the week out in advance with their families, prepping and weekly batch cooking of meals, and maintaining a stock of bulk goods at home that are ordered online and home delivered. They also depend on partnerships with others, from hiring nannies to participating in school carpools. Digital support through text messaging, calendar and reminder apps are heavily relied upon by working moms, but some also keep printed schedules and calendars posted in a centrally visible location of the home, such as on the refrigerator.

 
 

Persona

Storytelling

Sometimes a story is the best method for cultivating empathy among designers and developers for end users. I often focus on writing stories for users who would benefit the most from innovations. The users profiled in my stories may only represent 20% percent of the user population; however, meeting their needs will satisfy the needs of 80% - 90% of users in the targeted market. 

 
 

Key Observations

All participants made career/job choices to accommodate family needs.

Work and family life are equal priorities for working moms.

Single moms and married moms with fixed work schedules who lack family support sacrifice sleep and family time to manage work/family life. 

There is a monetary tradeoff with work flexibility – Jobs which allow women to fully set their own hours and work part-time often provides lower pay and are coupled with irregular & weekend work hours.

Average weekly time spent on children’s activities is 6 hours, with more hours spent on irregular activities, such as play dates and birthday parties. 

Strength of support network is determined by both availability and number of members in it.

Product Recommendation of a Back-up Care App Service which incorporates:

  • Google/iPhone calendar of family and support network members,

  • Reservations/scheduling of care function, and

  • Enables parents to expand their network, such as neighbors willing to care (perhaps for nominal pay for a specified short-term period of time – this would also mean including a geo-location functionality and payment functionality).

  • Long-term road-mapping would add a planning capability/feature for parents to see calendar openings of connected friends/family members and permit them to propose and easily plan for play dates, weekend events, etc.

Outcome

Previous Case Study

Next Case Study