Kenneth Larsen

April 3, 2021

Designing for the Worst Case

When I look at the top list of paid apps in the App Store, there is one type of app that is always at the top: Pregnancy apps. There are apps for soon-to-be-mothers and soon-to-be-fathers to track the pregnancy, learn about the different phases they need to go through and even get tips for when the baby has been born. 

The app's success journey is 1. get pregnant, 2. install the app, 3. deliver the baby, 4. stay engaged. And then return if you should get a second child. Whether it's an app to track pregnancy or any other life situation, there is one thing that they often lack to consider: What if something goes wrong?

Here I don't just mean something technical. What happens if you pay for a pregnancy app, get attached to the app - which to some degree is a representation of your unborn child - and then you get a miscarriage? The app is then no longer a tool to help you get through this personal tragedy. It's just a reminder of a lost child.

When designing products that are close to life - health, insurance, finance, whatever - it's crucial to think about how your product should react to life going the wrong way. The pregnancy apps could quickly adopt a miscarriage by providing help on how to get through this phase, reach out to friends and family, or even recommend therapy. Tips on how to try again or even connect you with people who went through the same experience. Instead, you see your virtual child that is no more.

Consider how your users' lives might change and how that might affect their use of your product. There's most likely a whole new world of potential features you haven't thought about yet.


These were my product notes from week 13. See you next week!