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Footsteps 2 is an EYFS tracking application that gives nurseries and parents a better insight into a child’s development. It helps nurseries quickly record progress and capture any supporting photos or videos when observing a child’s play, whilst safeguarding their children with state-of-the-art photo tagging and blurring feature. 

Footsteps 2 was a greenfield project designed to replace a legacy product which was deemed no longer fit for purpose. Over 400 new components were designed and 10+ developer team worked on the product simultaneously.

BACKGROUND

Preschool and childcare providers have to adhere to a statutory framework for providing early learning and care. This framework is called the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Parenta’s software for EYFS is called Footsteps. Parenta already had a EYFS software product but wanted it completely revampled and with new features. 

Early in the project it was decided to work primarily on delivering a desktop version of the software but after further insight the project changed to the delivery of a tablet prioritised product.

THE CHALLENGE

The preschool sector have been slow to adopt software that could reduce the time spent observing and tracking the children in their care. Many businesses still rely on pen and paper as the method of recording collected data obtained in the learning and development of children.

GOAL

The main goal is to create an application that will facilitate the recording of meaningful, detailed and essential EYFS observations. Thus saving hours of time and reduce the workload and allowing more time to be spent with the children.

PROCESS OVERVIEW

• The project was broken down into sections and delivered separately. The sections were Children, Observations, Reports, User Management, Achievements, Planning, Audit Trail, Assessments and Settings

• Stakeholder interviews

• Competitor analysis and online research

• Embracing a user-centred design process and following best practices

• Working on user flows, low and mid fidelity wireframes, high fidelity mock ups and prototypes

• Carrying out internal usability testing and iterating accordingly

• Heuristic evaluation

• Linking all the screens to Zeplin where designs are complete and ahead of the workflow

• Working on tickets in Jira

• Once ready for build, I export the designs and assets to Zeplin and update the XD prototype

• Supporting the dev team. I work with the developers to ensure the feature is inline with the desired visual and functional intent. Working alongside the developer is ideal to help them directly with the build, particularly if it involves front end work

• Assisting with QA.

PROCESS EXAMPLE

The example below is from the Children section of the system and I'll include a bit of background info into this task.

The task for the user (nursery owner/employee) is to add a new child into the sytem and collect all neccessary details about this child, a child can only be added if a parent or carer is added at the same time (no 'orphaned' children wanted in the system). All the collected data for the parent/carer as well forms a new family entry in the system.

wireframeswireframes

From initial sketches and then a low fidelity wireframe. I built a mid-fidelity prototype to test internally and to gain buy in of the concept. Following an iterative process this led onto a high-fidelity prototype for testing and subsequent approval. Below is the task flow built out in XD as well as the prototype.

View prototype

XD-taskflowXD-taskflow

DESIGN SYSTEM

When I joined the team, there was no library in place. I set the foundations for the companies software deliverables. The library grew to contain the fundamentals, atoms, molecules etc, all the components of a classic design system. My job was to manage and optimise it as the product was continued.

Footsteps-uiFootsteps-ui

SAMPLE PROTOTYPE

Tablet prototype of the 'Settings' section of the application. I utilised the features in XD to accurately communicate subtle but necessary interactions, transitions and flow.

HIGH RESOLUTION SCREENS

Various screen designs for desktop and tablet.

footsteps-screensfootsteps-screens

REFLECTION

I wasn't able to conduct qualitative and quantitative testing with real customers which would have bought up insights that would have helped with the product development. This has made it difficult to help product owners make evidence based decisions with ongoing features. Running small workshops with customers to discuss feature desirability would have been an effective way to expose important unknowns and encourage directional research.

The introduction of a design system was a new undertaking within the business. The system needs constant reference and it's success relies on a dedicated advocate.

I enjoyed working on this project and it's been received well with customers.

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