Not enough families sign up to foster
Foster babies are children removed from their parent(s) due to issues like abuse. They need temporary caretakers (foster families) while the court decides if the biological family is suitable to parent. If the family is deemed unsuitable, foster families have the option to adopt the foster baby. Given these uncertainties, many feel intimidated to foster and don’t sign up. The previous website didn’t have an online application and the information architecture made it difficult to navigate information about fostering.
Through auditing previous website, I analyzed that a high % of users were leaving the homepage without interacting with it
This prompted us to focus on the Angels website due to the poor site metrics. To supplement the issues found in the audit, I analyzed the metrics from the non-profit’s last site report.
- Poor navigation and way-finding of critical information
- Lack of concise context
- Vague value proposition
Through searching through user feedback forums, I discovered that the most popular complaint about Procore's fund transfer feature is that users are limited to only one-to-one transfers
- It is time-consuming to complete make 2+ more fund transfers at once
- Project Managers feel that budget modifications in Procore are redundant because they can only create one transfer at a time when they need to create multiple at once
In our team's analysis of other non-profit foster family agencies, their websites are overloaded with confusing terminology — making it overwhelming for new parents who are new to foster
We Our County, Our Kids seemed more open to helping parents while Aspiranet was visually more engaging. All of these non-profits seemed to were overloaded with confusing terminology.
Through mapping the foster care journey with Angel Foster Care's leadership team, we identified that the back-facing operations that help parents complete the fostering process is fragmented
Our team met with social workers and non-profit leadership to create journey maps of the fostering process. This user research helped us understand the different types of parents that sign up and the complicated journey that occurs for resource families. Altogether, this research helped us streamline the signup process for parents and the application review process for Angels Foster Care.
Prospective foster parents don't sign up to foster primarily due to the lack of context and transparency about the fostering process
Our team interviewed a total of 11 participants - those who were interested in fostering or were already resource parents. We conducted generative interviews to understand why parents don't sign up to foster or have trouble with completing the fostering process. Our goal was to understand the end-to-end journey of learning about fostering all the way to fostering the child.
Lack of transparency: Key information like fostering costs was difficult to find
Lack of connection: Information about foster care and stock photos felt emotionally distant
Lack of support: Lack of social worker support when trying to get more foster process details
Resource family interview - having fostered and have adopted
Various types of foster families include parents who are from well-to-do families, are gay couples, are religious, or struggle to conceive
Prospective parents are generally well-to-do families between 30-70. Many of them decide to foster because they cannot bear children, such as gay couples. Some foster because they’re looking to expand their family while some do it for religious reasons. Our goal was to be all-inclusive of all races and all couples regardless of sexual orientation.
Thought processes of prospective resource families (previously known as foster families) when signing up to foster span learning about the risks and knowing who else is involved
Based on the 11 user interviews, 2 user story mapping sessions, and competitor analysis, our team created this mental model diagram to outline the various thought processes that occur based on different tasks. Below are the user goals:
- Thoroughly understand the logistics of fostering
- Feel secure and supported throughout the fostering process
Providing clear and transparent context to help families with their decision to foster
Based on the user research, the designers, researchers, and I created design goals + principles:
Cater to main audiences who foster: Couples who are age 30+, gay, religious, or infertile
Transparent context about fostering process: Parents need to be informed about realities of fostering
Streamline information architecture for finding critical info about fostering: Key infomation about fostering should be easy to find so parents don’t feel lost and confused about the process
Provide constant avenues of support: Parents need to understand how Angels will support them
Invoke a sense ofbelonging: Help parents feel connected to foster babies before signing up
Through card-sorting, we learned that parents don't know what fostering programs Angels Foster Care offers and prioritize learning about the fostering process at a more in-depth level
The design team and I conducted 5 card-sort tests (research method) with current resource families. We found the following trends:
Parenting Program: For all participants, this was confusing. They felt that “certification” was more clear since that is what parents are aiming to achieve.
General Overview vs. In-Depth Answers Parents felt that the sub pages should give a brief overview about foster care while specific questions would be in FAQ
Prioritized learning Parents easily separated fostering process from certification process. All parents emphasized the need to distinguish fostering from certification.
Gathering the research, the design team and I created the following site map, which provided 2 primary tracks — to learn more about the fostering as a whole and then another track on how to get certified to foster. We also made the FAQ tab more apparent to ease any anxieties about fostering — a huge life decision.
Sketching ways to help parents learn or sign up to foster
Throughout this process, our team constantly referred back to the mental model diagram. We would ask ourselves, “does this design support the thought processes and tasks prospective parents ask?”. I gave feedback to each of the designers for the design studio sessions, which approximated 6 hours for all site pages.
Through testing a wireframe prototype, our new designs made it easier to find critical info about fostering and make the fostering process feel less daunting
Across 3 test participants, ranging from people interested in fostering to a resource parent. The usability rating was a 5/5. Here are some key quotes:
- “It’s not scary. It could be scary, but it seems welcoming. I love the open-door policy [about asking for help].” - Tori Owens
- “I feel like it’s very clear. Even if I didn’t know and I went on this site, I’d be vested, especially if I was somebody who wanted a child.” - Kristy Phillips
Establishing trust through branding by creating a soothing color palette to reduce anxiety about fostering while conveying a positive sense of family/belonging
Moodboard by Michael Kubota, UX/UI Designer
Representing the diverse backgrounds of resource families through photography
Many online photos don’t represent the backgrounds of families that fPreviously, we weren’t catering to our LGTQ demographics because the stock photos featured only heterosexual couples. They also didn’t reflect the diversity of foster families since foster babies are not always white. To help parents feel welcomed and have a more accurate representation of fostering, I directed photoshoots, shot and edited photos, recruited models, and more.
An educational, supportive, and seamless experience that encourages prospective resource families to foster
This was an amazing journey with the team. We learned that research drives branding, content strategy, and design in their own unique ways. Our non-profit stakeholders are so excited for this web release. This project launched at the beginning of February. Since our launch, we have reduced the bounce rate by approximately 15%.View website
Creating an inviting collection of icons, typography, and color palette
Michel Kubota designed the icons and colors. He and I both worked on typography.
After launching redesigned website, we reduced site bounce rate by 15% and company logos/branding are being used
The non-profit was incredibly joyful and have received many compliments on the new site. They also saved money by migrating their CMS to Squarespace and Google Analytics.
Finding meaning through design and social impact
When I started my own non-profit for foster care children in college and failed at making it successful, I was unsure how I could ever make an impact on the community I came from. Volunteering for Angels helped me realize that I was more than capable of achieving this. My favorite part of this project was getting to meet foster parents, learn about their hardships, and see foster children playfully running around the house.