The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that new mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of their child’s life, however, a study carried out by the journal of Maternal and Child Nutrition found that mothers can be made to feel ‘marginalised and shamed’ when breastfeeding in public, also stating that mothers can be put off breastfeeding completely by negative comments or fear of public disapproval.
Start4Life, Public Health England’s parenting advice service, found that more than a third of mother’s that do breastfeed shy away from doing so in public, with 1 in 5 feeling that people do not want them to breastfeed in public.
With over 500,000 new mothers each year in the UK, and over 90% of these owning smartphones, we set out to use technology to try and support new mothers, helping them in their quest to find friendly and comfortable public locations to feed their baby, whether breastfeeding or not.
Branding, UX/UI design, app development
Here at Mallard & Claret we’re user experience and technology experts, not baby experts, so we set out to find some new mums to help shape the requirements for the app before designing the solution.
During our research we engaged with a focus group of mums via Whatsapp over several months, with ideas shared, frustrations raised and ultimately user stories created, organically occurring through natural conversation.
The research allowed us to generate a set of user stories and functional requirements, many of which we could never have guessed without the input of the mums. Amongst these included features such as being able to filter locations with microwaves to warm up their bottled milk formula, or to identify places offering free drinks to breastfeeding mums.
These user stories were then organised into a priority list of functional requirements, which was then used as a reference guide during the UX design process.
There are often two schools of thought in the UX world when it comes to new user onboarding – the process of introducing your users to your product for the first time.
The first school of thought is that if your app has been well designed and is easy-to-use, then onboarding users shouldn’t be necessary. The second school of thought is that whilst your user interface shouldn’t be complicated, you can’t expect users to instantly know how to use something they have never seen before.
We sit somewhere in the middle. To assume one of these school of thoughts is correct and the other incorrect is to assume that all users are the same, which is the biggest single UX mistake one can make. Some users need a helping hand, while others like to work stuff out themselves – so with Milk Station, we catered for both these scenarios with some helpful onboarding screens that users can skip if they so wish.
The key functionality of the app is allowing mums to find places nearby to feed their baby, and this is done automatically based on the app user’s current location. Beyond that, the main feature that sets this app apart is its rich and powerful filtering system.
Within the app, users are able to filter locations by proximity, rating, comfort, privacy and a whole range of facilities, including wifi, disabled access, pram access, or whether the location is more suited to long stay or short stay visits.
Maintaining an app with thousands of locations is a big challenge, and not one we have the sufficient resources to manage ourselves – this is a side project after all!
To make our lives easy, we developed an intelligent rating system within the app, taking a base score from Google Reviews and then allowing individual app users to rate each location, from which we display the average score. This allows the app to be self-managed by the mums that use it, and a feature to report mistakes or mis-use allows us to quickly and easily moderate any locations flagged for review.
Whilst users are able to add new locations to the app themselves, which we can then moderate and make live in a matter of minutes, we needed to make sure that on the launch day the app already had a good base set of locations.
To make this process easy, we developed a sophisticated administration system where we could search for chains or categories (e.g. Cafes) and add them to the app in their hundreds or thousands, all within minutes. This meant that within a day, we already had a good set of London locations present on the app, and within a week we had most of the UK.
Best UX agency in London, Award winning UX/UI agency