NSW government's plan for an app that helps you raise your child

Service NSW says it's focused on 'human-centred design'.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

As part of its focus on "human-centred design", the New South Wales government is looking at the development of an app to help parents through the birth of a child.

"Anyone that has gone through starting a family will know that it's not a simple process, everyone from the butcher to your 100-year-old grandmother will give you advice, whether it's wanted or not," Service NSW executive director of digital and middle office Melissa Clemens said during her Gartner 2020 IT Symposium/Xpo presentation on Tuesday.

When a child is born in NSW, NSW Citizens (Expecting and existing families), Family and Community Services, Fair Trading, Service NSW, Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Ministry of Health, and Births, Deaths and Marriages all need to be told. The idea behind "Bump" is to make this process more streamlined.

"We got together with other agencies to deeply listen and empathise with existing and expecting families," Clemens said.

She said the group identified three major pain points: An influx of information and no concept of what is factual, confusion over what options to choose, and a lack of knowledge around what benefits their child is entitled to.

"By mapping the journey and understanding where the customer interacts and their motives, it allows us to visualise the problem," she said. "So by using human-centred design, it allows us to incorporate the voice of the customer when we do this we know it creates something really quite different and special."

See also: Citizen data compromised as Service NSW falls victim to phishing attack

In detailing Bump, Clemens called it "reimagining the journey of starting a family".

"As an expectant mother, I go to my GP and confirm my pregnancy, he tells me I should download Bump, an app that will support me during and after my pregnancy. I'm sceptical, but I download it," she explained.

"I'm required to log in with my government log in and once I've logged in, I can now see a library of information that has been vetted and approved by government, it also tells me about the things I need to consider like what not to eat, about the next steps and the scans. My neighbours have told me childcare is hard to find in the area, Bump shows me a list of childcare centres within a 10km radius of my house, their availability, and the facilities.

"It also tells me how much a day it will cost me based on circumstance."

Continuing through the conceptual process, Clemens said the app also sends reminders and notices of free courses running at local health centres.

"I start to use the app as a diary, I record how I'm feeling, but also to store the pictures of my scans," she continued. "I've got so many questions throughout the day and evening, so I ask my virtual midwife -- its such a relief to have this service 24/7."

When a child is born and heads home, Clemens said Bump then notifies the parents what government registrations are required.

"I'm so tired, so I delegate this to my partner who informs me afterwards that most of the forms were pre-populated and it took less than 15 minutes," she said.

"This demonstrates the power of human-centred design and by understanding the needs and motives of the customer, you can truly create memorable and delightful experiences.

"Traditionally, we were able to see our customers' face and see what wasn't working, this allowed us to shape the customer experience in real time, but in the digital world, you can't see this and not even the most advanced AI can understand how we feel or interpret what we're thinking."


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