The Helper Bees is a revolutionary new model for in-home senior care. They take the time to learn about each of their potential customers and deliver the perfect helper match based on the senior’s unique personality, interests, needs, and availability.
Our challenge was to bring their service online, i.e. create a website that communicates The Helper Bee’s value and captures leads through an automated senior-helper matching tool with a >90% retention rate.
I worked with The Helper Bees’ team (Char Hu, Winston Chapman, Evan Chiappinelli) over a five month period as their UX designer to complete this project.
Researching the senior care lifecycle
The process of finding and managing in-home senior care is highly complex. People feel a wide array of emotions towards in-home care ranging from anger to skepticism to love, all of which have been shaped by past experiences. The purpose of this stakeholder workshop was to identify these different people, emotions and touchpoints that could later be validated through user research. From the workshop we generated three artifacts:INTERVIEW THEMES
After aligning with stakeholders and gaining a greater understanding of the issues associated with in-home care, we explored further by talking to ten of our current customers. Three themes were generated from our user research:
Customers cited proper experience level as the most important factor when choosing a care service. Many seniors have unique needs that require a specialized skillset, like inserting food through a feeding tube. The consequences of incompetent care can be catastrophic, so having the necessary experience to provide quality care is vital to families.
Most families seeking in-home care for the first time are learning on the fly. They talk to other people and do their own research, but it is impossible for them to know every little detail until it arises. Customers want a service that can serve as a learning experience for their family, so they can prepare for issues before they come up.
A good caregiver can help families gain some normalcy back in their lives again. Seniors feel empowered to begin some of their everyday tasks again and families are able to return to their normal schedule, while a trusted caregiver looks after their loved one.
Three Personas were developed from our user research. We used these Personas to make informed decisions when designing our website.
Kathy (The Proactive Daughter)
This persona has a busy schedule with work and kids, which doesn’t leave her much time to deal with her mom’s condition. She needs a quick solution, and after a little bit of research, she will push forward with the decision to hire a caregiver. In addition to specific tasks, she wants to find a caregiver that can be her mom’s new friend.
Elizabeth (The Reluctant Wife)
This persona is feeling guilty about hiring a caregiver because she has taken a vow to her husband. She is scared of letting a random person into her family’s personal life, so she is quite picky about all care services and will window shop for a while before making a decision. Nevertheless, she is exhausted from trying to care for her sick husband, and believes that a good caregiver could help relieve some of her burden.
Ted (The Empowered Senior)
This persona is the primary recipient of the in-home care. When searching for care, he is more concerned with experience level than compatibility, but a deep friendship with the caregiver can develop over time. He is the least hesitant persona to seek out care, because he is ready to get some help with his everyday tasks and live normally again.
From our research, a customer journey map was created for each of our three Personas. We mapped out the phases of the journey, then walked through the journey with each Persona, writing down their actions, thoughts and feelings as we went.
Placing ourselves in the mind of the customer gave context to the different thoughts and emotions we discovered in our interviews. For instance, we knew that some customers felt skeptical towards in-home care, but the map showed us exactly when and where those customers were feeling skeptical, so we could propose features to help alleviate their skepticism at the right touchpoints.
Tackling the right challenges
After developing a stronger understanding of the problems people face during the in-home care process, we created some How Might We questions to turn their challenges into opportunities. We chose our top three HMW’s as a group to prioritize for our initial solution sketches.
How Might We…
Build trust and reduce skepticism of first time visitors?
Solution: “The Trust Builder”
Create an easy way for customers to find their perfect helper match online?
Solution: “The Matchmaker”
Ensure that customers find a reliable long-term match?
Solution: “The Bee Types”
Designing a site for families
With our solution sketches in hand, we created wireframes that would serve as the foundation for our new website. We collaborated with a visual designer to create the style guide and illustrations.
We created a prototype of our Helper Bee matching form and tested it with six customers. A few of the questions were described as “clinical” and “impersonal”. By using our Bee Types that we created in ideation, we were able to reframe the questions to focus on the customer’s needs rather than their health conditions.
1. Which statement best describes your level of physical activity?
2. Which of the following best describes your current health conditions?
1. What type of Helper Bee are you looking for?
2. What type of assistance do you need?
Since launching the new website in October 2016, the site has helped 32 families find an awesome Helper Bee. Of those 32 families, 29 of them (90.6%) are currently still with The Helper Bees, exceeding our 90% goal. The new website will continue to be an invaluable customer acquisition tool as the business looks to expand beyond Central Texas in 2017.
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