Arq was created from the brief, “How might we foster quality education through a digital platform?” This mobile app is designed to help educate parents on how to have conversations with their child about sensitive topics in an inclusive and healthy way, while also building confidence.
Many parents feel unprepared for some of the current challenges their children can face. Arq aims to alleviate this uncertainty by providing parents with interactive, scenario-based modules to simulate real life conversations their child may face. The brand identity is Inspired from the pride flags but paired down in a modern way to set itself apart.
Low Fidelity Mockup
My team and I created a paper prototype simulating a tablet and targeted parents of children ages 6-14. We gained feedback on our idea, how we presented and worded the content, and the potential viability of it. We were also able to determine what device our product was better suited for, and the level of understanding within our target market. It was found that our interface was too text heavy and could be improved by spreading out content and incorporating more visuals to ensure effective engagement. As well, it was noted that our information has the potential to come off as pretentious or condescending so we must ensure wording and facts must be given in a sensitive way.
This iteration we learned that our content was not applicable to an individual's life. Many user’s noted that while the content was interesting and helpful, it was too generalized and therefore was hard to interpret for specific scenarios. A note made to us in an interview was that “a parent who is teaching their young child about gender expression in general is going to have a way different conversation than a parent whose child came out to them as trans,” therefore requiring different recommendations. This led to the conclusion that our content would be more useful if it were to be split into specific case studies/scenarios that parents can select based on what is most applicable to them.
After brainstorming for a few days, we chose the name “Grapevine,” playing off the idea of many children learning about sex-ed related topics “through the grapevine.” Our visual designer worked on some design elements and branding that aligned better with this name. After analyzing our survey feedback, the shift to gender identity and LGBTQ+ related topics created a very necessary third restructure. According to our testing, “grapevine” was too closely associated with unreliable information and rumours, which is not what we wanted our product seen as.
Back to the Drawing Board!
High Fidelity Mockup
Our UX changed quite substantially from what we originally had in mind for the app. In previous iterations, we wanted each module to include questions that would be separate from each other with three answers each varying in degree of correctness. This sprint we decided it would be more effective to create scenario based cases for parents to work through. This aligned better with our goal of helping parents with conversations, and
addressed feedback from our usability testing.
We wanted to avoid features and phrasing that could be perceived as preachy or forceful. Furthermore, an interactive story would help parents visualize how their child might react to different responses in these scenarios. Testing content as a high fidelity prototype enabled us to better understand tone and style integrated with the overall screen design. It also allowed us to monitor engagement and influence compared to our lower fidelity designs. We found very low rates of interaction with our “premium” button which we considered critical content. Although this was disappointing, we found an important piece of of our prototype to improve.
Looking back at our feedback, if we were to carry-on further, we think it would be critical to hire a licensed family therapist that specialises in mediating conversations and presenting information regarding sexual orientation and gender expression. This was seen as important when speaking with many parents, as they wanted the information to come from a trusted source, as well as, when speaking to individuals within the LGBTQ+ community. They quoted that all content should be fully inclusive, using proper terminology and therefore should be handled by a professional. The use of medical professionals would help us start to build complete modules and edit copy to be helpful and accurate. Ideally we would test the prototype more thoroughly with a larger variety of parents, as well as, test on some members/ activists of the LGBTQ+ community. Gathering their thoughts on the stories and content as well as how they see it impacting familial relationships.