My husband and I came up with the idea of building an useful iOS application. Useful in a sense that it would really help someone. After some time researching about potential apps, we decided to build an app to help moms to track their baby's daily activities, with the following features: Breastfeeding, Diapers, Bottle, Pump and Nursing.
Mamae is the second iOS application I design and the first one using Sketch. It was an amazing experience to design this app from scratch. Differently from iLearn: English, Mamae allows the users to unlock features with In-App Purchases.
At the time of writing this blog post, Mamae is featured in the "What's Hot" medical category on the iTunes AppStore.
Before I start designing the app, I spent a considerable amount of time reading scientific papers about baby growth and the interaction between mom and baby. It helped me to understand more the daily needs of a mother with a newborn baby. One of those discoveries was the fact that the first five minutes of breast-feeding does not contain lots of nutrients, but it is extremely important to the baby's correct hydration. I also learned that a balanced breast-feeding pattern could prevent mastitis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis), and that moms struggled to keep track of their breast-feeding session times.
Besides all the scientific content that I collected about the topics the application would cover, I also spent some time understanding the routine of a mother with a newborn. Reading many forums, I discovered that mothers are usually tired and sleepy, and often they need to take notes about their baby's routine during the night, without making noise. They usually have only one hand available, since they need to take care of the most important thing of their lives with the other one.
After one week or so, I had enough information to define the focus and priorities of Mamae. The application was designed since the beginning to be the most practical, simple and easy digital assistant a mother could use. Everything, from the colors to the text size were thought with a specific Persona (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_(user_experience)) in mind.
Going to the opposite way of similar applications, I iterated over and over again until I had removed everything that was not needed to be in the application. In the end, only the extremely necessary elements were kept.
All the elements were designed to transmit a feeling of handcrafted. The colors were selected to be the main tool on communicating the context the mom currently is.
- Pink: affection, charming, feminine, tenderness, gentleness, affection, love, intimacy and contact.
- Purple: tranquility, night, serenity and calm.
- Blue: stable, calm, liquids and transparency.
- Yellow: warning, cheerful, child, energetic.
- Green: health, balance, relaxation and security.
The color contrast is one of the most important things to keep in mind when designing an app for a tired mother. All the colors were chosen to allow not only a good context reference, but also to make it easy to communicate the needed information. Since the app is data focused, it was extremelly important to make it easy to access, visualize and understand the data displayed by it.
Almost 98% of the content in the app is displayed using Helvetica. Designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger (and probably the most used typeface in the world), it is simple and clean, perfect to display the numerical data that Mamae is filled with.
When I think about my mother, a few things come to my mind, like: love, care, respect, elegance, humbleness, affection, etc. The challenge of describing it all with one image is tough. I chose a simple, humble and hand-designed heart.
Mamae app contains five instruments: Nursing, Bottle, Pumping, Diaper and Sleep. Each instrument allows the mother to save information about her baby. When the mother enters in any instrument section, she is able to see all the important information at once.
In case of Nursing, she's able to see which breast was used to the last breast-feeding session and also information about the date, time and duration of it. The section also offers huge action buttons, where the mom can easily access the core functions of the instrument.
Using the Nursing section as an example, the mom is able to quickly start a new breast-feeding session by choosing "Left" or "Right". The action of touching on any of those button will start the timer. The UI always focus on the most important information in the current context.
Displaying raw data to the mom is OK, she's able to see the latest items and take action based on that. But what happens if she wants to better understand her baby patterns for the last month? What about last year? That's where a nice chart view comes to the stage. If you take a look on similar apps, you will find confuse and extremely bloated charts, that I believe only extremely stats-savvy moms would be able to use.
I decided to design the simplest and cleanest chart I could image, to give quick and easy access to her baby's pattern. To get to the chart view, the mom only needs to go to the instrument she wants to have more information (e.g. open the Nursing instrument) and put her iOS device in landscape. The nice thing about it, is that the mom can easily get to the chart with only one hand, and there is no specific UI element to be "touched" in order to get to the chart.
A few mentions where Mamae was featured at: