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Paper Pinecone
Website Redesign

Paper Pinecone is a trusted online search engine of daycare, preschool, and before/after school programs. They help families find the childcare they need. 

As our world becomes more digital, so do our relationships and interactions with our friends, family, and education systems. As these changes come into fruition, are we still considering how these changes affect our children?


Timeline: 4 weeks

Role: UX Researcher & UI Designer

Approach: Heuristic Evaluation, Competitive Analysis, 
Survey, Interviews, Card Sort, User Flows, Sitemap, Personas, Journey Map, Moodboard, Usability Testing, Mid-Fi Wireframes, Hi-Fi Prototype  

Tools: Figma, FigJam, Trello, Zoom, Google Drive, Optimal Workshop,, Paper & Pen    



Our challenge was to support Paper Pinecone's online business expansion through an improved website experience for users.

Paper Pinecone website is getting heavy traffic, but users are not converting to subscribe to the site. How might we create an improved experience for parents and childcare providers? 


Redesign current website to better act as a bridge between parents and childcare providers. To do this we focused on:


Guiding users through
the site seamlessly.


Creating trust by developing a cohesive brand identity and design system

Restructuring the site's information architecture to leverage the users' mental models. 



Heuristic Evaluation, Surveys, Interviews, Competitive Analysis 


Affinity Map, Personas, Journey Map, Card Sort


Moodboard, Site Map, User Flows, Sketches, Mid-Fidelity Wireframes, Usability Test 1.0


Hi-Fidelity Prototype, Usability Testing 2.0, Iterate, Test 3.0


Heuristic Evaluation

We evaluated Paper Pinecone's user interface against Jakob Nielsen's 10 Heuristic Principles. This audit was done to assess and determine the underlying issues that create problems for users. In doing so, we found a few violations of best practices.   

HomePage 1.png






Navigation Bar

There are too many links on the navigation bar, some of which do not function. 


Search Bar

Two search bars confuse users, and don't direct them on a clear path. 


Provider Information

The provider CTA's cause clutter and confusion. "Provider" is not a familiar term to all users. 


Landing Page Overall

The page as a whole lacks direction and clarity. The hero image is cluttered and does not speak to the brand identity. 


Provider Name Header

The color of the text looks like a hyperlink. 

Claim This Facility

Unclaimed facilities feel untrustworthy. 

Provider Image

Image is low resolution and lacks professionalism. 

"Like" Icon

Due to low engagement, this lacks trust. 

Add to Favorites

The icon is not aligned to the corresponding information.

Social Media Icons

The icons imply you will be taken to their page, but instead they are a quick link to share. 

Provider Details Page.png









Search Results.png







The search options get more complex and add confusion to the process of finding childcare. 


Advanced Filters

The fields do not speak to parent needs, and are redundant and confusing. 


Directory Photos

The photos are not consistent and do not represent the facilities accurately. 


Card Information

The search results lack key information that parents consider when looking from a higher view. 


Details Section

The section organizes the information in a way that doesn't prioritize the needs of parents. 


Page Layout

Inefficient use of page real estate. 








This implies the directory services are only available in these locations. 

Footer Content

Inefficient use of space.


Copywrite Stamp

This is distracting and evokes feeling of distrust. 







Although we were already seeing some pain points with the site, we wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the users. We conducted 10 user interviews; 3 childcare providers and 7 parents. We organized the information through affinity mapping and found important key insights

Key Insight

Parents rely on the internet to search for high quality childcare and parenting tips, but trusting the site
is important.

Key Insight

Paper Pinecone is the bridge between parents and childcare providers. 

Key Insight

Parents are lacking important information they need about daycares and schools online.

User Quote

"I read parenting tips on the internet but don't know who to trust online." 

User Quote

"They have a fresh perspective on issues because they see both the parent and provider side." 

User Quote

"It would be nice to have more details about the hours and breakdown of the cost." 


In order to reach a wider audience, we conducted 24 surveys using Optimal Workshop. 17 of these participants were parents who have never used Paper Pinecone, and 7 were parents who have used the site. This gave us more valuable feedback

Key Insight

Parents heavily rely on their personal network and word of mouth.

Key Insight

Parents value having all the childcare information in one place.

Key Insight

Paper Pinecone is hard to navigate.

User Quote

"I trust friends and family because they know me and my family and I trust they want the best for us."

User Quote

"It is very difficult to find good childcare and having all the information in front of you makes it much easier."

User Quote

"A little difficult when going between pages on the search listings. I feel like I'm missing listings that I want to look further into."  



Through synthesizing our research, we defined 2 types of users, the Parent and the Provider. By creating these archetypes, we were able to identify characteristics, pain points, and emotional triggers that influence and encourage users to use an online childcare directory. 



Katie Miller, 34 yrs


Katie is a working mom with 2 kids, who are 3 years old and 6 months old. She works full time as a project planner, and is married to Riley. She loves her family and wants to find high quality childcare for her kids, but is limited on time. 


  • Find quality childcare for her kids, in close proximity to each other
  • Spending more quality time with family
  • Read more books
  • Learn more about the Montessori approach to learning


  • Tight schedule, works full time
  • Working remote with kids at home is impossible
  • Doesn't know what information to trust online
  • Hard to find high quality childcare that works with her needs



Erin Baily, 42 yrs


Erin has been the director of Sunnyside Montessori for 10 years now and loves working with children. She has her Master's in Early Childhood Education and loves watching kids learn and grow. 


  • Provide high quality care for children
  • To align closely with Montessori philosophy and have this branding remain consistent throughout all platforms
  • Find qualified staff trained in the Montessori approach of teaching and learning
  • Fostering rigorous self-motivated growth for children and adolecents


  • COVID burn out 
  • Miscommunication between parents and staff, unrealistic expectations
  • Coming up with fresh and engaging lesson plans and activities for children

Journey Map

Based on our research findings, we wanted to focus on the journey Katie goes through to find childcare that fits her requirements. Ultimately, we saw that the process of finding childcare that fulfills her family's needs is difficult, time consuming, and inconvenient.


Problem Further Defined

Three problems to be exact. We identified three problem statements for each stakeholder at play on Paper Pinecone. 


Childcare providers need a platform where they can keep up with trends in childcare and engage with parents in an efficient way.


Parents need a resource that is clear, extensive, and dependable so that they can make the best parenting decisions for their children.


Paper Pinecone needs a concise way of displaying information to precisely serve as a bridge between parents and childcare providers. 


Our solution focuses on the user experience of Katie, and her parenting needs, which will be met by a trusted provider list on Paper Pinecone. The trust established when parents use Paper Pinecone will urge providers to utilize the services of the site, creating a mutual symbiotic relationship, where all three stakeholders' needs are met. 


Redesigning the Navigation

Before sketching any designs, we wanted to address the organization of the content. The original website was busy and we found people becoming confused and overwhelmed. For the redesign we wanted to focus on ensuring Katie (the parent persona) was able to address all her parenting and childcare needs in an intuitive way. We chose to re-organize the blog content based upon the results of our card sort.  


Features We Focused On


Our main goal was to ensure the directory flow could be accomplished easily. We wanted the parents to find a childcare provider quickly and intuitively.


This is a new feature that will be added to the site. Paper Pinecone will be releasing training videos that cover childcare topics directed at parents and providers.  


To ensure we serve our parent persona, we wanted to focus on the features that spoke to Katie. "Dear Mom" is an advice column where parents can get real advice from a trusted parent and childcare expert!


Since the blog is a main factor in why users are finding Paper Pinecone, we saw its importance. We wanted to organize it in a way that better fits the users mental model


Usability Test 1.0 : Current Site

In the beginning stages we wanted to test the current site in order to validate our heuristic evaluation and further identify any challenges the users faced while navigating the website. We recruited 5 participants who were parents that had never used the site to get more accurate results. We scored the participants using the First Click Method, which measures the usability of a website or design by seeing how easy (or hard) it is to complete a given task. 

User Quote

"It requires a lot of work on my part to figure out how to navigate through all the information, and I don't like how each facility makes me leave the directory."

User Quote

"The popup annoyed me because it greyed everything out before I even knew what the site was."



Usability Test 2.0 : Testing Wireframes

We performed usability tests with 5 participants on the wireframe prototype created in Figma.   

User Quote

"It's a very clean design and I know where to go."

User Quote

"The site is a wealth of information! It didn't occur to me that there are resources like this; I can search for childcare, read information, and watch videos." 



Making Adjustments

We implemented changes from the feedback of our test results, which showed us that the banner on the Home page would make more sense if it were clickable links rather than titles. 




Home- Mobile.png

Through testing, we saw that it was important to highlight the facility contact information on the providers' profile page, as this was the main feature parents looked for. Parents also looked for the facility website so we added this feature.  


Profile page - BEFORE.png


Profile page - AFTER.png

Usability Testing 3.0: Final Iteration

We tested 4 participants on our final design, which resulted in an overall usability score of 96% and provided key insights which were implemented into our final product

User Quote

"The layout of the site is very organized and well put together. The colors are very calming."

User Quote

"I love the illustrations! They look very unique and stand out, I can trust this brand!"



Final Prototype




This was my first time working with a real-world client as a UX Designer! I'm immensely grateful I had the opportunity to go through this process with Paper Pinecone and my wonderful design team. I find working on a team to be incredibly powerful and this project affirmed this. Here are a few things I learned along the way:

  1. Empathize empathize empathize. Not only is it important to understand the needs and experience of the user, I learned how valuable it is to empathize with the client/business needs as well. The UX process acts as a bridge, advocating for both users and stakeholders to find a happy place. 

  2. Iterate as much as you can. The first solution might be a good idea, but this project showed me
    how much deeper you can go and what ideas you can come up with when you continue to iterate.

  3. Test along the way. Getting feedback throughout the entire design process is crucial to know your designs are centered on the user experience. It allows you to put real concepts in front of real users to see how well they work with them. 

  4. Always communicate. I found that we made better decisions as a group, and clear communication made that process much easier. We shared our designs with each other and our client throughout the project. This consistent giving and receiving of feedback was a key aspect that made this project a success.  

Thank you for reading!


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