Mama

Breaking the Stigma of New Mom's Health

3 million mothers suffer from “Baby Blues” annually. Among them, 10-20% progress to postpartum depression. Mama is an app that is a comprehensive guide to support new mom’s wellbeing.

Background

MIT Hacking Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, and Artificial Intelligence Los Angeles hosted a weekend hackathon for mental health. Our app won the award for best business model. Having gone through a mental health journey of my own, I felt very aligned to this project as I was shocked to learn that while there are millions of mothers having their first child, they are isolated and suffer from a form of depression they cannot easily identify.

The Challenge

3 million mothers suffer from “Baby Blues” annually. Among them, 10-20% progress to postpartum depression. We discovered that more care is focused on the baby than the mother’s own health postpartum. Resources on what to do after the baby is born lacked reliability and accuracy. How might we create a resource that supports moms' mental health?

The Outcome

Mama is an app that is a comprehensive guide to support new mom’s wellbeing. We provide a guided health journey, uplifting community, and curated resources. At a premium, moms can request for services of doulas, nurses, therapists or babysitters.

My Role

UX Designer
Product Manager

Our Team

Engineer
UX Designer
Product Marketing

Scope

1st iteration: 1.5 days
2nd iteration: 1 month

Our Process

discovery

Research to understand and empathize with user needs and behavior

User interviews, surveys, competitor analysis, affinity mapping

IDEATION

Brainstorm potential solutions to the pain points identified

Brainstorming, sketching, user flows, co-creation workshops

Design

Design the interface to visualize the solution in various fidelities

Wireframes, mockups, clickable prototypes

TEST

Test the design and iterate based on findings

Usability testing, user interviews

Discovery

User Research

At the onset, we needed to identify the problem. We conducted 2 user interviews and a survey which 114 mothers responded. Our goal was to understand what challenges mothers went through after birth.

Interview Insights
“When I was pregnant, the doctor checks on you & the baby, but after the birth it’s all about the baby.
“I would suddenly feel angry or start crying and wonder if these feelings were normal
All of my focus is on the baby, I didn’t know when to take a shower, eat or sleep.”
“I read “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” to prepare for pregnancy. I wish I read more on what to do after the birth.

Some post-it notes where we jotted down challenges mothers mentioned during the interviews.

Survey Insights
  • 75% of moms felt depressed when they became a new mom
  • Only 28% of moms sought medical attention on their mental health after their baby’s birth
  • 79% of moms felt they did not take care, or took minimum care of their health after the baby was born
What We Learned
  • Mothers feel alone going through motherhood and want a community
  • Mothers feel they prioritize the baby’s health over their own
  • Mothers want more accurate information and easily access relevant advice

Competitor Analysis

During the interviews, we asked what resources the moms currently used, and looked into what was available in market.

What We Learned
  • Many of the apps focus on the baby’s development or solely on community
  • Facebook and Meetup groups are widely used, however, lack in professional accuracy on advice.
  • Health systems provide the most professional information, but is less accessible than online resources
  • No equivalent resource to the book “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” for mothers after birth.

Affinity Mapping

We analyzed the insights from our interviews and the current market. As we organized the information through affinity mapping, we discovered a gap between what is available in the market and what mothers want. Most of the challenges mothers faced were related to community and accessing relevant information.

Affinity map of challenges we learned through interviews.

Gap in User Needs and Products in the Market
  • New moms want a credible resource for mom’s health, not just the baby.
  • New moms feel isolated and seek community, but do not want to feel mom shamed.
  • There are services for mental health, but only if the mom seeks it. There is a lack of easily accessible credible resources that guide the mom through their own health journey postpartum.
Our Problem Reframed

We redefined the problem after seeing the gap of the market and user need.

“How might we create a positive community and make information on mother’s mental health easily accessible? ”

Ideate

Brainstorming

We began discussing various elements of the service. Once we narrowed down our considerations, we created user flows of key screens and made market evaluations to make our business model concrete.

Our team brainstorming based on our research findings

What We Considered
  1. The medium (web vs app vs book)
  2. Type of information we would provide
  3. Type of services we would provide
  4. Business model (B2C vs B2B vs Clinical Trials)
  5. Data we would collect
  6. Integrations with 3rd party
  7. How to create a positive community (no mom-shaming)

User Flows

We decided on a few key features including a daily check in on mom’s feelings, guided mental health journey, stories, and media such as laugh therapy which we sketched.

Some initial screens sketched

Business Model

We wanted to make this service accessible to everyone. With a community aspect, we felt low barrier to entry is key. We were challenged in creating a sustainable business through B2C. After many deliberations, we decided to keep the service B2C, but approach developing and marketing through B2B.

Our Approach to a Sustainable Business
  • Partner with enterprises to incorporate our app as part of parental leave benefits
  • Partner with online baby registries, to add the app available to purchase on baby shower registries.
  • Partner with health systems or medical professionals to create content
  • Incorporate a freemium model in the future
  • Initial target market as employed millennial mothers
Market Evaluations
  • Total Addressable Market: 3.9m moms giving birth annually
  • Serviceable Available Market: 960k employed millennial mothers

Design

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

Our initial mockups were constraint with time due to the hackathon. While normally we would start with low fidelity wireframes to map out and focus on the functionality, we decided to go straight into mid-fidelity wireframes to communicate both vision and functionality appropriately for the hackathon presentation.

Our team brainstorming based on our research findings

High Fidelity Mockups

In our second iteration after the hackathon ended, we built on top of the mid-fidelity wireframes to create mockups based off of the feedback received from further research.

Prototype

We created a clickable prototype to better conceptualize how the app may function.

Test

Usability Testing

From feedback from user interviews and usability testing we improved the wireframes through multiple iterations to the designs shown above

Improvements we made through refinement
  • Changes in main features - emphasis on connecting with professionals
  • Navigation and content hierarchy
  • UI (typography, color and illustrations) updated to give a more friendly feeling

Takeaway and Confirmations

Research to empathize

I am not a mother and have not experienced any of what our users go through. That made it even more important to empathize with the user and understanding them more through user research.

KEep iterating

Every time we spoke with mothers or professionals, and created wires there was more we could improve on. Iterating gets us closer to a better product.

Our team pitching Mama during the hackathon.

Our team and host with award for Best Business Model in Mental Health.

See other Work