Cognoa Sleep therapy
Cognoa helps parents assess their children’s development. To continue supporting parents after providing an initial evaluation Cognoa began building digital therapeutics products. I helped drive the decision to focus on sleep therapy as the first product to market.
I led the end to end design of Cognoa’s sleep therapy app from identifying the problem to final designs and developing the iOS app in Swift. As of May 2016, 96% of parents that have completed the program have seen an improvement in their child’s sleep.
User Research, Visual Design, Product Strategy and Growth
With over 140K parents who have a wide range of problems we had a difficult decision. Who do we try to help first? Through an analysis of our user data we learned that 30% of parents identified sleep as a major concern. In my user research I learned that sleep problems impact the entire family, causing health issues for everyone. It’s very clear to a parent when their child’s sleep improves and I believed that would make it much easier for us to determine the success of our product.
I collaborated with the nation’s top children’s sleep therapists to develop the content and exercises that were first prototyped through an email program. My job was to translate the experience of traditional sleep therapy into a mobile experience. I viewed this challenge as a drug delivery problem. I needed to make the delivery of our solution as easy and effective as possible.
Our typical parent has a chaotic, exhausting life so it’s important for the experience to be simple, fast and reassuring.
The design process lasted 8 weeks with development beginning halfway through. I began with an all-team design sprint that aggregated our collective knowledge. Using this knowledge I produced a prototype that was tested with five parents of children with sleeping problems. I acquired and screened the parents using Craigslist.
Research and Prototyping
Over the course of two weeks I conducted two rounds of tests with 20 participants. At the end of each round I synthesized the findings and reviewed them with the team. This gave others the opportunity to add different perspectives, making our insights more well-rounded. I then prioritized the insights and created action items.
While conducting this research the engineering team was building the initial set of APIs, which I helped define.
Once I had a confident prototype I began creating the final designs using a system of styles and components that I created. This design system allowed me to iterate quickly and made it easier for other designers to contribute to the design.
For this project I also played the role of developer. I implemented the interfaces and interactions in Swift. Our lead iOS developer followed me, implementing the APIs and data model. Since I was implementing the designs the lag from passing work from designer to developer was completely cut out. This allowed us to develop the app in a much shorter amount of time.
Designing the Questionnaire
Cognoa’s sleep therapy program needed to be as effective as traditional therapy. To measure success we partnered with a leading sleep therapist who is using our product as one form of treatment. To confidently compare the results we had to use the same evaluations. This meant translating the type of questionnaires you complete in waiting rooms into a mobile experience for sleep deprived parents.
The evaluations were are based on the Likert Scale. Through user testing I learned that it is difficult for parents to remember the original question being asked if it is not repeated. I also observed that selecting answers and scrolling felt painfully slow. To resolve these issues I designed a questionnaire that fixed the main question at the top of the screen and automatically scrolled to the next question once an answer had been selected. Time to complete the entire questionnaire dropped by 50% and was noticeably easier than the traditional paper format.
Designing the Home Screen
My initial belief was that the Home screen, the screen seen when the app is opened, needed to be an overview of the current place in the program with quick access to important features. While feedback was positive, I noticed that many parents wanted to access lessons faster.
To improve access to the user’s current lesson I redesigned the home to be the current lesson with flexibility for empty states and instructions. I knew that the lessons on their own worked based on the success of the email prototype. Burying the lessons in the app was similar to making parents click through an email to view their lesson. The goal is to deliver the solution as quickly and effectively as possible.
Designing the Daily Check-in
A critical component of improving our program’s efficacy was the introduction of progress tracking. I designed a simple workflow that the parent completes each day. I collaborated with our sleep therapists, data scientist, and chief science officer to determine the smallest set of questions that we could ask to measure effectiveness and make improvements to our product. I interviewed parents to understand what information that were most interested in tracking. I was surprised to learn that no matter how many daily questions we asked the majority felt that it was the right amount. As a result of this research and collaboration I selected the eight questions that would be most helpful to the parent and our company.
When we began to spec and build the APIs it was brought to my attention that constantly saving and sending the check-in data would be technically problematic. It was important to me that not all questions had to be answered for the parent to save their data. Some information we track my not be useful to every parent. To resolve the technical issue and maintain flexibility for the parent I designed a workflow that had the parent confirm each data element they wanted to save. This added slightly more work for the parent but did improve the quality of our data by ensuring that the parent was submitting something they had thought through.
Jess is one of the most creative and authentic ui designers that I have worked with. He is always open to suggestion and strives to come up with the most elegant and usable design. He is easy to work with and always tries to learn more about the technical side of the app implementation which I appreciate very much as a developer.