_User Research


Kinsa Generative Research

Caring for young children is full of constant ups and downs, one of them being exposure to a range of sickness and health issues.

Kinsa is a smart thermometer and app that aims to transform a basic tool into an intelligent way to monitor sickness. The FLUency Program is their partnership with elementary schools that offers donations of Kinsa thermometers to families in order to empower everyone to be well and in the loop on health issues related to their communities.

How can Kinsa improve their in-apps Groups (message board) feature to increase user engagement?


The Solution

The Kinsa design team's initial goal was to understand mothers' attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts associated with caring for a sick child, and how these may translate into highly engaged Kinsa users, particularly for Kinsa's "Groups" feature. Following this exploratory research, the team decided to focus efforts on features that engage a cross-section of FLUency group coordinators, FLUency moms, and experienced moms.

My Role: Researcher

I was one of four product designers who built and validated the "Experienced Mom" Kinsa user persona (i.e. mothers with a child older than age 2). I acted as both primary and secondary interviewer in the extensive generative research phase, as well as participating in the subsequent synthesis and design sprint. My team conducted five 1:1 contextual in-home interviews with experienced mothers who have not used Kinsa.


Getting to Know Moms & Their Sick Kids

The Kinsa team as a whole conducted 20 interviews, 5 users in 4 different segments. We included current Kinsa users and also expanded our sights beyond the current user base. Our goal was to deeply understand the experience of having a sick child, with or without Kinsa, therefore gaining insights into potential future needs and use cases.

It was a highly involved, personal and sensitive process. The challenge? Balancing conversation and empathy with the reason we were there: to study their thoughts, feelings, and doings.

Within the Experienced Moms group, we discovered interesting insights in five main areas:




Combined with the other 3 segments, the amount of research was immense.


Making Sense of the Research

How research unfolds depends on the context of the problem and challenge at hand. The direction of the solution adapts based on the findings, and this was definitely the case for the interviews we conducted on the various segments of potential Kinsa users. The following is a summary of our path toward designing for user engagement:

Step One: Deeply Understand Users (EMPATHY MAPS)

Step Two: Make Connections (AFFINITY MAPS)


After sifting through the research, we decided to focus our design recommendations on the needs of Fluency Coordinators, Fluency Moms and Experienced Moms because of their overlapping and aligning needs, concerns and pain points. This meant letting go of one segment of research, the New Moms, who we discovered would require a scope larger than this current project.


From Design Sprint to Prototyping

During an afternoon of design sprinting, we reviewed the research and aligned them with Kinsa's goals for the year, which produced three main areas of focus for our recommendations:

How might we address user privacy concerns?

How might we increase engagement or make Kinsa more valuable to its users?

How might we improve onboarding?

The UX + UI team quickly took off on a rampage to rapid prototype solutions. I did not participate in the design phase of this project, but some of their work can be seen below.


Moms are willing to share information if an app is transparent.

Engagement increases when posts can be filtered by relevance to the mom, clearly labeled and actionable. Moms are busy.

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