Willy and I are developing an app that simplifies the paperwork side of adoption for families and agencies: Adapt Solutions. Ask anyone who has adopted: paperwork is a headache and amplifies the vulnerability, frustration and emotional turmoil that comes with the territory.
Currently, adoption paperwork is agency-specific, analog and a complete pain. Documents are scanned, mailed, faxed, lost, forgotten and never in the right place. Adoptive parents are burdened by lugging heavy stacks of paperwork to places like the DMV, airports, or even on a roadtrip. Take a look at the image of a users’ to-do list below. He and his partner re-write this list each morning. As you can see, four out of the five tasks relate to paperwork management.
Here are the two big questions put to the test of our pilot: do people feel secure managing personal documents online and is there something comforting about physical paper that adopting parents wouldn’t want to give up?
First: security. When we asked users if they already house secure documents online they at first said no then realized that they are emailing not secured PDF’s on their smart phones daily. The iOS app, as it’s currently envisioned, will have the most recent and up to date security measures.
Second: validity of digital paperwork. The answer here, according to the adoption lawyer we spoke with, is a bit more complicated. There are certain documents demanded in original, notarized form by the courts. There are other documents that are often shared in scanned form. The new politics brought to question by developing technology are still clearing these waters. (For instance, did you know there are now online notaries?) The person who brings this app to life, (see below), will have to keep their fingers to this pulse.
The professional team behind Adapt Solutions is myself, Melissa Chapman, and William Morgan. I’m leading the business and brand development (crafting the narrative, reaching out to pilot participants and community leaders) and Willy is lead on design (in charge of the interaction design, graphics and usability). Over the course of the last 4 weeks we have piloted with 13 users including adoption lawyers, redesigned the entire application 5 times, and presented progress in a client-like setting each week.
Our goal is a clean user interface with basic document sharing functionality. See the latest homescreen below.
We have learned a lot in terms of discipline, working fast, iterating like hell, and the importance of staying flexible.
The biggest takeaway, however, is validation of this need-based technology. * It’s known around these parts that Willy nor I plan to launch this as a business. There have been times, however, where we meet eyes and realize the reality: nobody is doing this and everybody needs this.
That leaves us with an overwhelmingly strong feeling to give this to someone who will bring it to fruition.