Redesigning Group Feature on Kinsa Thermometer App

Emphasis on User Interviews, Empathic Design, and Rapid Prototyping


Before we jump in, more about Kinsa.

What is Kinsa?

Kinsa is a smart thermometer and iOS application that empowers moms to better take care of their sick children. Kinsa strives to build intelligence into a once-basic thermometer and turn it into a connected device that helps monitor the progression and spread of illnesses.

The FLUency Program?

Started in over 500 schools nation-wide, the FLUency program distributes free thermometers to parents at participating schools to promote the monitoring of illnesses from start to finish. 

What Was My Role?

As a product designer on the FLUency program coordinator and current users team, I worked with two fellow team members to conduct generative user interviews. I also took part in pain point synthesis, ideating and rapid prototyping.


Each participating school has a group within the Kinsa app.


For this project we were trying to answer 2 questions: 

1. What is the most relevant information for mothers?

2. How do we increase engagement?


In order to answer the questions,

we needed to know what these moms were thinking.

Without prying or being insensitive.


So We Interviewed Moms

In addition to 10 new and experienced mothers the other team members interviewed, the FLUency team interviewed 7 mothers and 5 FLUency program coordinators (these are the people who brought the FLUency program to their schools).

That's a lot of moms.

"I don't want anyone else to see anything else I put in there."

"My only concern is for what others in the community see - that's the part I'm not comfortable with."

"I don't know how that works. I would just email the nurse."


Drowning in quotes and data, we needed a way to find some patterns.


We tried Affinity Mapping

We structured pain points into buckets based on common themes. One color = one interviewee. One post-it = one pain-point. This gave us broad themes of issues and concerns, but since understanding emotions is crucial in this redesign, we needed something more.


So we constructed an empathy map.

We analysed our interviews and tried to gather four things:

What the user says

What the user thinks

What the user does

What the user feels

It is easy to take answers users give us and try to solve for those pain-points. But we wanted to get one level deeper to understand what they were thinking and feeling when they said certain things. Then, what did they do in response?


In the end, we noticed two trends


1. Privacy Concerns

Moms didn't post in forums out of concerns over children's privacy and susceptibility to ridicule if singled out. They were also concerned about what Kinsa was doing with the collected information.

2. Low Awareness

Most moms didn't know the health card even existed! Even among the ones who did, most weren't clear on how this information was curated or how it could be beneficial to them.

The underlying causes for these manifestations included insufficient onboarding, timeline, inundative structure of the group forum, and unclear copy and UI surrounding privacy.


Now that we know who we were designing for and what

to solve for, we led the Kinsa team on a design sprint.


Google-Style Design Sprint

Modeled after Google design sprints, our design sprints aimed to give stakeholders context on user pain points and refresh them for team members while ideating on possible solutions. 

We began the sprint with lightning talks - cliff note summaries of pain points and personas as fast as lightning.

Finally, we did "Crazy 8's" - successive string of eight one-minute ideation sprints where we sketched all possible solutions to user pain points we could think of.

One surprising takeaway? Lay's = Idea Fuel.


Ideas down.

Next step: prototyping!

We created samples of health report cards.


And played around with the type of information displayed on the Health Card. Once tested,

the variations would allow us to gauge what information is most important to moms.


We explored methods of formatting the group forum.


Should it be card format? Thread format?

Should it be filtered? Filtered by what?


We played with on-boarding flow... privacy reassurance pop-ups...

we even thought of gamification.


Our ideas seemed like great ones.

But did other people think so as well?



So we conducted 2 rounds of validation testing to see if we were on the right track.

We built out full clickable prototypes of the groups forum and health cards and tested them on 10 moms.

"Grade level is helpful. I might not be so reactive if it's a grade my kid doesn't come in contact with."

"[I would post anonymously] because I wouldn't want my kid to be singled out."

β€œFor laypeople, describing contagion level would be helpful so parents know what action to take.”

"The Rate of Contagion Should Be At the Top."


And here's what we found:

  • Moms find alerts about contagious illnesses most useful.

  • Moms want alerts that are relevant and actionable.

  • Moms want information that will make their lives easier. They don't just want information that raises awareness. They want relevant information pertaining to their child's grade level.

  • Moms will post with profile name unless they think the information will generate a negative impression of them or their child.


Now that we have a pretty good handle on what moms want, we created our final mockups for Kinsa.


Health Card

Feature the most relevant information...


then empower them to action.



Messages Forum

Structure it in a way that makes posts relevant, scannable, and actionable.

Make the option to post anonymously clear and up-front.

Without losing relevance by tagging grade level and symptoms.



Wasn't that fun?


Valuable Takeaways


With a fresh set of eyes and a very different perspective, we were able to work along-side the amazing Kinsa team to collaborate on creating these wonderful solutions.

Though this project employed a process emphatic on user research and empathetic design, not all projects will follow the same emphasis. The underlying design process is adjusted, different phases lengthened or shortened depending on the client, the problem, and the users.


That's all, folks! We'll see you next time!