A couple years ago we released our first baby dashboard design. I’ll admit it was a bit rudimentary. It tracked only the most basic measures and offered little insight into your baby’s current mindset. I was a new father and had a relatively superficial understanding of the nuances of babies, not to mention actionable baby metrics.
With the arrival of my second child, I set to work designing a dashboard that would give a parent all the important information they need, presented in ways that let them react to baby data even in a harried household. Let me present the prototype of our new Baby Dashboard 2.0, modeled by my daughter Maya.
We use the same heads-up display technology as in our first release, but now with more sophisticated data collection techniques we’ve included a meltdown prediction chart and real-time translation engine.
There are a few features in here that I believe demonstrate important fundamentally design principles for great Information Experiences:
- Choose metrics and information that a user can act on. Information that is just interesting isn’t worth a random pile of ones and zeros. You need information that you can act on. In BD 2.0, we wanted to deliver news you could use, in the moment. The “meltdown fuse”, for example, is a way to measure how close your baby is to freaking out. As she gets tired, sick, or hungry, her fuse shortens to the point that a simple disruptive act — a loud noise, Mom walking out of the room — will set off a meltdown. You need to know how close you are to this threshold so you can minimize the smallest of disruptions.
- Draw attention to the information that is most urgent. While the dashboard provides detailed trend breakdowns, the most important thing for a parent is the current state of things. The top bar of the dashboard answers the most critical questions always on a parent’s mind: 1) How close is my baby to melting down? 2) Does my baby need any of the basics: food, sleep, or clean diaper? 3) What is my baby trying to say to me?
- Progressively reveal data as the user expresses interest. Like a busy executive, a parent doesn’t have time for all the information at once. They are on a need-to-know basis. If a parent needs to get a better sense of the potential meanings of a baby word (“daaah”), a single click will give a breakdown of the most likely interpretations.
- Different views for different audiences or perspectives. BD 2.0 provides distinct views for baby status and parent status. The parent status (not shown) was added because we recognized that the mental state of the parent was as important to a happy child as a clean diaper.
For those of you who expressed interest in licensing our Baby Dashboard 1.0 technology, please be patient while we work out the bugs in this next release.