I am a researcher and UX designer who puts people before technology and seeks out data-driven answers so I can discover how best to create usable, efficient, and pleasing experiences.
Thank you for your interest.
Knee High Cooperative Daycare is a parent-run daycare in which members contribute work hours while caring for each other’s children in exchange for a reduced rate. The organization is unique in a number of respects, but so are its challenges.
First, it has a high turnover among members and workers because it is mainly staffed by members of the local university community. This includes undergraduates who work as assistants to members, and parent members whose children eventually get too old to be part of the daycare and leave.
For Knee High, this means that there is a challenge for the organization to retain tacit and actual knowledge about how Knee High works. For its outward communications, such as its website, these challenges mean that the organization needs to be direct in educating new members and workers about its organization to ensure that it can fill its revolving membership and workforce.
For Knee High, a look at its internal documentation and training procedures was a necessity. Members, in addition to caring for children, were also responsible for roles such as treasurer, scheduler, health and safety monitoring, and more.
These jobs, including their tasks and how to do them best, was often lost because outgoing members provided little information to remaining members on how to accomplish their tasks.
I led a systems analysis team who observed the group during crucial meetings and poured through its documentation and manauls. From this data, we created a number of models examining tasks, culture, and work flows to better understand the organizations resources and challenges. We also conducted several informant interviews with members to better understand the culture and get an insiders perspective on how members felt about their daycare.
Then, we drafted a risk analysis to evaluate a range of options. While the options were tenable for the group, some would cost the group in monetary resources while others would cost them time, both being valuable and in limited supply for parents.
At the end of our work, we recommended a restructuring of their internal electronic file system, which was hosted on the university’s ERP. We also recommended new tasks for members that included created new training documentation and meetings with new job holders at the end of membership. Our options included whether the document organization and creation would be done by the group, one specially tasked member, or a temporary employee. The group chose to take the tasks on themselves and adopted most of our recommendations.
For the website, the goal was to attract new employees and members. This required explaining the unique benefits of Knee High and instilling a sense that Knee High was a fun place to work/be a member of. Additionally, the site had to communicate that this was a daycare you could trust with your children, a tough but manageable commitment, and a place for responsible members and workers who loved children.
Structurally, the site also needed to be tailored to the outside groups of new members and workers. Previously, the sites navigation and page-layout suffered from the Frankenstein-ian additions of new content and pages endemic to most websites. It also included information and assets that was directed to existing members. This was distracting and could be found in the group's internal documents, so it was also unnecessary.
Lastly, the site confined one of its greatest assets, pictures of cute children, to a secluded gallery section. It robbed the site of a lot of aesthetic quality that could really help sell Knee High as an organization to potential members and workers.
I refocused the site to the two key users groups—new members and new employees. I removed documentation/information available to current members and employees on internal systems to ensure the site was properly structured.
I also restructured the navigation to speak directly to the sites two key user groups, ensuring that returning users could easily find ways to apply for members or employment. However, I did ensure that these users were exposed to important information in scan-able ways. This information included information about the commitment an employee or member has to make when they choose to join Knee High.
I kept the site in WordPress because members, some who might not be familiar with web technologies, would have to update and change the site. I also used Twitter Bootstrap to ensure that the site would work on mobile, tablet, and desktop environments.
And, of course, I included as many pictures of children as possible throughout the site.