• Prototyping a Mobile App for Pregnancy During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Using Information Design to Strengthen Information Landscapes

      Stam, Kathryn; Thesis Advisor; Banner, Phylise; Second reader; Woodworth, Anna (2021-05)
      When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States in early 2020, pregnant people faced challenges unlike what would be expected while pregnant during “normal times.” Studies found this population to be overwhelmed by rampant misinformation or a lack of information, decreased access to health care, and uncertain social support. This project investigates and addresses the preferences of pregnant people by designing a prototype of a mobile application that seeks to increase both accessibility and availability of credible information about pregnancy and postpartum during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods include a literature review, questionnaires, interviews, personas, current app research, wireframing, and prototyping. They identify a gap in the mobile app toolbox for navigable, credible information on COVID-19 for pregnant and recently pregnant people. They also find that, contra to the goals of the project, it isn’t feasible to incorporate into the app a social support feature, due to the potential for misinformation. The project also concludes that a successful mobile application employs information design to lessen the cognitive load of users and to integrate their geographic confines; elements that support a user’s agency also strengthen the user’s information landscape. Further research ascertaining the specifics of what might be needed to make an app usable for particular marginalized or underserved populations is still needed. Finally, one of the more intriguing questions raised by this project might be how to integrate the social support identified as an important need by pregnant people into an app that values the integrity of information.