Title: Pregnancy to Early Years
Type of work: Service design (LiveWork research project for Department of Health)
Date: June 2015 – October 2015
Extent of the project: 4-5 months
Driven by a wish to adopt a user needs approach to major life transitions as the basis for service improvement, the digital team at the Department of Health embarked on a research project to look at the experiences of women and their partners who are having a baby. The project seeked to better understand the maternity journey through the experiences of these women and families as well as the health professionals who support them. By taking a broad view of how people interact with health and government services at this significant life transition point, we were looking to identify opportunities for improving their experience through better use of digital technology.
I worked on this project as part of a team at LiveWork over the summer 2015. For further reading, visit the blog of the digital team at the Department of Health.
Inspired by the research and needs of the people we met, we came up with 12 concepts of how to support families during pregnancy and their first few weeks with the newborn. Out of these, three were identified as having potential, and three (plus an extra) were prototyped. Linking back to the project's particular focus on digital, the prototypes were digital sketches and paper prototypes of mostly online tools that we presented back to some of the families and health professionals in order to collect their feedback. The research and insights themselves were also one of the deliverables; these were collated and shared with the Department of Health and GDS.
In the first phase of our research we carried out interviews with 9 health professionals and 11 families across the country. As part of these interviews, we asked families to try to map their 'having a baby experience'. Following the interviews we identified the high-level needs of mothers and families throughout the pregnancy into the first few weeks of their baby’s life. We also mapped which products and services are already available, and what people’s experiences were of these. We ran a number of design workshops to develop tools and models that would help us in our ideation and prototyping, e.g. an (enourmous) information map. Using all of these tools, 21 potential concepts for prototyping were created, and we whittled these down to 12 clearer, more promising concepts.