The pregnancy social network
Bumply is a social network built to support women during pregnancy. It was first released as an iOS app on the Apple Store in mid-2017, and on the Google Play Store for Android in December 2017. Since its first release, its users have grown steadily to around 2000 members all over the UK.
A problem worth solving
Our story with Bumply started in 2016, when Tomas, an experienced NHS obstetrician (and now founder of Bumply Ltd), reached out to us to discuss an idea: his wife Amy was pregnant, and over the years, he had seen many mums-to-be worrying and struggling to find reliable support throughout their pregnancy. It can be one of the most exciting times of our lives, but sometimes it can also be extremely overwhelming. Having someone to talk to about this life changing experience can make all the difference, so Tomas and Amy thought it was time to build a platform where mums could find and help each other, and get reliable information about all the different stages of their journey.
To make Tomas and Amy's vision come true, we applied a 4-step process.
1. Understand goals, users and priorities
The most important phase when building a new product is at the start. Clearly identifying your target audience, what is the problem to solve and how is crucial for the success of the whole idea. At Strillobyte, we focus on designing Minimum Loveable Products (MLP); so our approach is always to identify those features that the target audience will absolutely fall in love with. This allows us to iterate quickly, and continually improve a product over time based on feedback from real users.
When we met with Tomas and Amy to define the MLP for Bumply, it became clear that the focus was to help mums to easily find and connect with each other, while at the same time keeping some elements of security and privacy.
We agreed that a mobile app containing a visual map of the network’s members would be the most effective approach. Users could choose where to appear on the map (no location tracking), quickly look at each other’s profile, and eventually connect and initiate a chat, all within the app. Group chat would also be possible by creating ‘Events’ (e.g. a coffee or a brunch).
The second main feature that the MLP needed to provide was expert guidance on pregnancy. This became a separate section in the app, with weekly articles relevant to the different stages of pregnancy, all written by real doctors and midwifes.
2. Design a prototype and validate user journeys
Having specified the content of Bumply’s first release, we set out to design a few ideas for the brand (logo, colours, tone of voice), and wireframes of the various screens of the app and how they would link and interact together. After a series of reviews with Tomas and Amy, the final designs were agreed and the Bumply app was starting to take shape.
3. From design to the App Store
With features and overall sketches signed off, the team got to work on coding the app. At Strillobyte, we follow the SCRUM Agile framework, so the list of features was converted into individual tasks for the developers and organised into bi-weekly ‘sprints’ of work. At the end of each sprint, we would have an increasingly more complete version of the app that could be progressively tested and improved.
We started by developing the usual sign-in/log-in features (email and Facebook), then moved on to the profile section. We designed it to include optional details that might help highlight compatibility between users (e.g. interests and favourite places, baby’s due date and gender – if known). In the profile, users can also choose at which location they want to be visible on the map.
Once the map was built, we spent several weeks on creating and testing the chat. Users can initiate a new conversation by sending a ‘bump’, which needs to be accepted by the receiving party before a channel is established. This ensures that every member of the community is comfortable and willing to start a chart. ‘Bumps’ work similarly to the ‘wave‘ button on Facebook Messenger, which allows you to greet a person that you don’t know.
The last piece of the puzzle was the articles section, which featured a collection of 42 items, one per each week of the average pregnancy.
By July 2017, all the elements were in place and Bumply became available for download from the App Store.
4. Continuous monitoring and improvements
Releasing an app to the public is an exciting milestone, but also just one of many. Technology and users quickly move on, so successful apps need constant maintenance and improvements over time. We regularly measure and review a number of metrics (such as the count of subscribed users, or the amount of interactions between them in the app) to better identify how to grow Bumply and make it ever more loveable for its members.
Through this type of ongoing analysis, we recognised that a consistent number of people were still using the app after the baby was born to benefit from the supporting network. This led to a small tweak in the map, where users can now see the approximate age of someone else’s baby after its due date has passed. We also added a new symbol to identify new parents (a buggy instead of the standard pin) and make it easier for them to connect.
Do you have an idea for an app or another software product that can make a difference to a community of users? Get in touch and our team at Strillobyte will guide and support you through an exciting journey!