maria-ramirez 

Parenting Foundational Research

Year: 2021  |  Role: UX Researcher  |  Tools: Zoom Cloud Meetings, Google Workspace, Figma | Client: Colegio Los Samanes

🔎Overview

Los Samanes School is an educational institution established in 2004 in Ibagué, Colombia. Every year their educational management is evaluated by the Ministry of National Education. As part of this assessment, the support and parenting tools offered to families by the school are reviewed.

🎯Research objective

The main objective of this research was to understand the needs, beliefs, and behaviors of parents to inform the creation of a new parenting training tool. 

Research process

🟣Primary research
🟢Research insights

Research process

🟣Primary research
🟡Research outcomes
🟢Research insights

Secondary research

My first step was to execute a Context Study

To kick start this project, I did desk research and talked with experts about the topic of Parenting.

Relevant concepts

Parenting styles: “the use of democratic parenting practices brings positive outcomes for children and adolescents. Conversely, the authoritarian and permissive practices are pointed out as a cause of negative consequences in general”

Good parenting practices are essential as they allow:

🖍Suitable social skills

🖍Stress regulation

🖍Emotional development

🖍Better academic performance

🖍Cognitive development

🖍Psychological adjustment

Seeking to understand a bigger picture through Competitive Analysis

I wanted to know the offer of mobile applications and websites specializing in thematic parenting. I reviewed five products using an excel matrix to compare and analyze features and value propositions.

Weldon App

Parent Lab App

Happy Child App

💬Relevant findings

In this competitve analysis I found some prevailing features as follows:

  • Activities to achieve goals with family members.
  • Short courses designed for busy parents to learn the essentials of parenting.
  • Different types of media such as podcast, video, text, images are utilized to convey content.
  • Frequently asked questions sections address different prevailing parenting situations.
  • Other common features are group chats for parents, book clubs, and guided meditation.

Primary research

Understanding parenting from the standpoint of parents

I conducted five semi-structured interviews with parents from Los Samanes School to understand their experiences, perceptions, and needs as parents of children and teens.

Participant Demographics: 

Five participants, three mothers, and two fathers among 28 and 53 years old.

Goal: 

Understand parenting practices and the ways parents learn new parenting tools to improve their family lives and routines.

💬Relevant findings

Thanks to these interviews, I could get to know general perceptions and patterns among the participants:

  • Parents share stories with friends and family to learn through experiences.
  • They think that every child is different and that there is no “one size fits all” recipe.
  • After receiving guidance and advice, parents generally analyze the information to put into practice only what fits their preferences.
  • Parents live with uncertainty and constantly ask themselves: am I doing it right?

Research outcomes

Personas definition

Using the data from the interviews, I created Personas to present to the school counseling team the two different groups of users/parents involved in this research and summarize their goals and frustrations.

Empathy mapping process

Persona #1 – Maria Cristina

Persona #2 – Jorge

Creating a User Journey Map to reflect on the emotional journey of parents

I created a journey map of the parenting information search process based on user interviews. This allowed me to uncover more findings of parents’ emotional journey when searching for information to take over complex situations with their children.

Insights

01

Parents think that there is no “one size fits all” recipe.

02

Parents are selective, they prefer information and advice that fit their lifestyle and beliefs.

03

Parents value professional opinion, they like content created by trusted professionals. 

04

Parents prefer practice-oriented information, they like hands-on activities and content formats that fit their busy lives.

05

Support networks and experiences exchange are significant to parents since it allow them to feel accompanied and motivated.

06

Experience is one of the sources of knowledge that parents prefer to learn about parenting.

07

Intuition is a key element in parenting since parents privilege it when making decisions related to their children. 

08

Parents are constantly afraid and doubting which cause them stress and possibly also their children.

After delivering the insights to the the school counseling team and the principal my suggestions to follow up with the project were:

  • Redefine the problem space.
  •  Get a better understanding of the more scientific side of the problem space. 
  • Complement and refine the list of insights to create a coherent framework of concepts to guide the ideation and design phases of the project, if approved by the school principal.
  • Conduct a new round of user interviews and apply a survey with more targeted questions based on the first research insights to make new discoveries  on the redefined problem space.

Personal Reflections

  • Parenting is a matter of people’s private lives, therefore making valuable discoveries may require a detailed and dedicated research. In my opinion, it is necessary to be very aware of biases when addressing this topic.
  • The advice of experts on the subject should be present from the early stages of the investigation to support the steps to follow.

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