ZOTT: Parent Experience

Creating the ZOTT Parent Experience

 Photo credit: ZOTT.tv

Photo credit: ZOTT.tv

 
“We leverage innovation and technology to ease the pain and suffering of patients dealing with life-threatening illnesses while working to ensure their rights to play, learn and socialize.”
— GameChanger Charity mission statement

GameChanger Charity spent years developing relationships with hospitals and child-life specialists to provide play, learning, and socialization opportunities through technology, like VR games, for hospitalized children. They recognized the need for better access to in-room entertainment fitting a wider range of children's needs. This awareness led to the creation of ZOTT.

 The project team from UCI

The project team from UCI

ZOTT is a patient experience platform where hospitalized children, and their families and caregivers, can access across all of their devices safe, unique content and social experiences. 

I was thrilled to partner with ZOTT over my six-month capstone in the MHCID program. I primarily worked as the product owner and a user researcher. I also offered UX design support. 

The Challenge

The platform is growing and rapidly evolving, so there are several opportunities to explore. During our first meeting with our client, my team and I were able to determine several areas in which we could contribute to ZOTT. Our primary direction was to optimize ZOTT's content curation and CMS for hospital staff, and our secondary goal was to develop a parent experience to transform parents from over-the-shoulder users to more involved participants. 

Primary goal: Optimization of ZOTT’s back-end content curation interface (CMS).
Secondary goal: Develop a parent experience. 

Exploratory research

We began with a competitive analysis of five other products with a parent experience or a CMS for users: NETFLIX, YouTube Kids, Amazon FreeTime, WordPress and YouTube.

I examined YouTube Kids and Amazon FreeTime and found features that could serve as generative ideas for ZOTT, such as parental controls, monitoring capabilities, and interactions around pre-emptive and reactionary blocking of content. 

We also paired with content curators from ZOTT for a detailed exploration of the CMS and prepared a usability test for evaluating the platform. Soon, however, we hit our first obstacle. It proved almost impossible to obtain access to the small pool of users, including child life staff, pediatric patients and their families from ZOTT’s nine pilot hospitals. 

Interviews with staff and parents

We decided to interview parents of children who had recently spent 24 hours hospitalized (at any hospital) to learn more about their general device usage and how devices were used in the hospital. We wanted to know where ZOTT might fit in to their experience and how the family handled digital devices.

I created a screener, recruited participants and scheduled four parents. In my hour-long interviews with each of them, I learned about how they used devices in their homes and that there was a big difference in how they used devices at the hospital. I found that parents' rules and norms regarding their children's device usage were thrown out the window while in the hospital. Additionally, all parents were interested in their children's digital safety, especially from unwanted contact or conversations, and in monitoring device usage to some degree.

 The identity models and design implications I created after interviewing parents of hospitalized children and teens.

The identity models and design implications I created after interviewing parents of hospitalized children and teens.

From the three staff members that our team was able to interview, we found that the design of the CMS was not the issue prohibiting wider-spread use.

Research insights

The key insights from the research evidenced that ZOTT wasn’t being used by patients or staff because the staff didn't always have the time to introduce patients to the platform. That same lack of time kept staff from utilizing the CMS.

Parents, on the other hand, have time to fill and a need for distractions, so they are comfortable turning to screens more often and for longer amounts of time than they would at home. 

Staff also reported that if a parent is interested in ZOTT, the platform gets more use by the child. 

Pivot to parent onboarding

We presented our findings to ZOTT and proposed pivoting our project focus towards the parent onboarding experience. We anticipated that relieving the burden of introduction from the staff would be beneficial to those partners. Also, we could increase platform engagement by focusing on generating parental interest. ZOTT agreed that this new direction was valid and supported our shift in direction.

New primary goal: Develop a parent experience with a better introduction to the platform.

New research

We started on our new path by reading and synthesizing published academic research that addressed the best practices for designing digital device experiences for families, such as joint media engagement and emerging understandings about productive usage, which reframes the focus from limiting screen time and restricting device usage to developing habits of self-regulation.

We correlated the findings from the academic literature with the insights derived from the earlier competitive analysis. This helped us identify already-existing features in ZOTT that we could emphasize to generate parent interest, as well determine additional features that could be included in the new parent experience and onboarding process. 

 At this point, we knew what competitors were doing and we knew what academic research suggested, but we didn't have a clear idea of what parents would actually appreciate. To get this feedback, we crafted a survey for parents of children who use digital devices. From their feedback regarding which features resonated with them, we had enough feedback to move into the design phase.

Design phase

We developed a user flow of the new onboarding experience for parents. We then moved forward with paper sketches and copy iterations before moving into wireframes.

 The new introductory flow with onboarding and a parent dashboard

The new introductory flow with onboarding and a parent dashboard

 Screenshot from presenting my onboarding sketches and copy ideas with the team

Screenshot from presenting my onboarding sketches and copy ideas with the team

 The high fidelity version of the parent onboarding screens

The high fidelity version of the parent onboarding screens

The wireframes were converted to an interactive prototype that we tested with a mix of people to get early feedback on the concept. We learned a couple things about the flagging features and dashboard structure that we refined in the high fidelity prototypes. 

 Sharing usability test feedback via video chat with teammates

Sharing usability test feedback via video chat with teammates

We crafted a testing protocol for another prototype, this one using the high fidelity designs, to get additional feedback from remote moderated usability tests with six parents of children ages 2-18.

User reactions

The test of the high fidelity prototype yielded overall positive feedback. We used a scoring method to quantify our users’ reactions to this site against an industry-recognized baseline. Testers gave our prototype a System Usability Score (SUS) in the 90th percentile, meaning there were nearly no usability issues.

 SUS score from our user testing participants

SUS score from our user testing participants

“For a first-time user I feel like I’m a returning user, and that can only mean brownie points.”

“I really like that you can select an age group, so if I have to step away, I don’t have to worry about unwanted content popping up. It would really put my mind at ease.”

Key Takeaways

Based on the usability tests, we identified and addressed a few areas in which to strengthen the experience, such as clarifying the cost, improving the findability of the flagging icon, simplifying the hand-over from a parent to a child and framing content blocking as a positive experience.

 One of our key takeaways from the usability test

One of our key takeaways from the usability test

Partner reactions

I led our biweekly meetings with ZOTT, wherein my UCI capstone team and I met throughout the project with the director of product to present our work, discuss feedback and strategize about possible solutions as issues arose. In our final meeting concluding six months worth of research and designs, we presented the results of the final usability test, how that led to the final high fidelity designs and the opportunities for the platform that we had uncovered throughout the process. Our partner was excited about our work, particularly the parts about pricing and how that concern reflected the user's emotional state in the hospital. 

“Fantastic work, that was great information. You found really interesting insights... particularly around needing to identify that the product is free. I’m wondering how much time it would’ve taken me out in the wild to uncover that, so I appreciate you bringing it up and the way you presented it. Great work.”
— Jarrod Jodoin, Vice President, Product at ZOTT