Parallel Parents

Where single parents support other single parents

Case Study in a Tweet


#product strategy, #startups

Video Overview

Project Details


The Villiage

Client description
An early-stage startup, creating an app for: single parents to support other single parents

Collaborated with a project manager and a UX designer

My Role 

Lead Strategist, UX Researcher, and UX Designer


3 Months


secondary desk research, competitive analysis, interviews, questionnaire (survey), Affinity clustering, ideation and prioritization, Fake press release (vision), value proposition canvas


research plan, persona, research report, research presentation, “press release”, value proposition canvas, user task flows, UX audit, wireframes, wireflows, prototypes, UI and branding designs


Why focus on Single parents as a target user


The Ask



Business Goals

Research Goals

Discover the needs, challenges, and problems single parents have in order to uncover opportunities to help them.

Key questions



What Makes Parallel Parents Unique (main features)



Secondary (Desk) Research

I am not a parent, let alone a single parent - so I needed to ramp up my knowledge about this target audience and market as quickly as possible to gain empathy and with a "beginners mind" try to approach exploratory (generative) research to uncover user needs that others might take for granted or ignore.

What was done

After reading academic papers, blog posts, and posts in single parent support groups, as well as watching a variety of videos posted by single parents, I discovered the main topics that matter most to single parents.


There are 13 main issues that single parents deal with - these would be the topics that Parallel Parents would initially support: Co-parenting, conflict between the parents, dating, extended family issues, finances, friends and companionship, guilt and judgment of others, legal issues, loneliness and isolation, raising children, self-esteem, stress and anxiety, time management, and visitation and custody.

These are the 13 key issues listed above are the main topics of interest, and often topics of distress for single parents. Any future solution would need to be flexible enough to address all of these key issues.

Transition to the next step: Solidifying the concrete issues that single parents struggle with most helped set the vision for what a new single parents product offering could accomplish - it was clear that competition wasn't touching most of these issues, so there was a huge market opportunity!

Competitive Analysis

Single parents need a lot of help, and they are already seeking it out online to augment their support networks. I wanted to find out the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches that single parents were already using in order to uncover areas in the market that were underserved and the ways they missed the mark. This knowledge would help us identify areas of potential differentiation and with less competition.

What was done

To determine how single parents' needs are currently being served (or underserved), I compared: 15 Facebook groups, 4 Reddit subreddits, 4 forums, and 19 Single parent apps


By Far the most popular way for single parents to find support online is in a Facebook Group. These general-purpose groups were not made with single parents in mind and have inherent drawbacks as mentioned in the red boxes above.

Transition to the next step: The competitive analysis showcased the strengths and weaknesses of the competition, which informed what to double down on and what to avoid.

Interviews and
Questionnaire (Survey)

With the knowledge gained from the previous research, the time had come to "get out of the office and into the real world" and connect with single parents directly. We wanted to dig deeper into the main 13 issues single parents struggle with and determine which issues are most pressing and noteworthy. This step of the research would help us focus on the main pain points, prioritizing where we could have the biggest impact.

What was done

Insights from the interviews

Findings from Questionnaire (survey)

How did this contribute to/inform the next step?

The four main insights from the interviews mirrored the findings from the secondary research and was echoed in the questionnaire (survey).

Research Presentation

Transition to the next step: The interviews illuminated what single parents craved, and what bothered them, and further clarified their constraints. The most impactful insight is that it's advantageous to connect with parents who have children of similar ages.

Ideation and Prioritization

With all the newly acquired knowledge and empathy gained from our research, we moved into the "solution space" - generating new ideas and concepts. At this point, our team benefited most from unstructured brainstorming. When it came to choosing the best ideas/concepts we leveraged a product strategy framework popularized by the company Intercom. This framework addressed our team's main concerns about being objective while not overthinking things too much. We were able to reach a confident consensus on the design direction with this approach.

What was done

How it was done


The two highest-scoring ideas were combined into the winning concept going forward.

Transition to the next step: Our team was excited by many of the ideas we generated. To avoid confirmation bias, we voted on each idea on multiple facets. This was a more objective approach, and by voting anonymously we avoided group think and negatively influencing one another.

Press Release Vision

This step in the project was the least conventional. We needed a "learning MVP" - building the smallest thing possible to assess if our solutions were on the right track and resonated with single parents. At first, we started with wireframes in order to get feedback, but we quickly realized even that was too slow and required too much effort at this point. After some consideration, we decided to use a product management technique (popularized by Amazon) that allowed us to get feedback on our ideas using only words! Since no design was necessary, we could iterate faster and with greater flexibility.

What was done

Why it was done


The fake press release painted a vivid picture of the Parallel Parents vision in words and allowed our team to get rapid feedback earlier in the process than sketches or wireframes.

Transition to the next step: By "prototyping with words" we were able to iterate quickly and cheaply, resulting in a much more refined idea in our sprints.

Minimum Viable Product and Minimum Loveable Product

The time came to be ruthless, cutting features we "could have" so we could focus on the functionality of "must haves" and "should haves". This step was challenging for our team because an MVP might not be enough to convince single parents to switch from their current solutions. This is why we decided to extend slightly beyond an MVP to a "minimum loveable product" (MLP). Balancing product size and complexity with what is new and compelling led to a lot of debate. Through iterative discussions, we chose the smallest possible feature set to bring something new and improved to single parents.

What was done


MVP features are in green (left), MLP features are in yellow (middle), and “could haves” are in red (right) for possible future versions. For the first version of Parallel Parents, we chose to go with both the green and yellow features to create a “Minimum Loveable Product”

Transition to the next step: Having a core set of features followed by secondary and tertiary prioritized features ensured that the team only built what was necessary to accomplish our goals at every step.

Value Proposition Canvas

Once we decided on a final feature set from the previous step, we decided to "check our work", and add some context and user feedback into our decisions made thus far. Our team took the features and redefined them as "pain relievers" and "gain creators" to see if they resonated with single parents. By showing single parents these features on a "value proposition canvas" we were able to quickly tweak our approach, modifying and removing functionality even further - getting to the essence and core of the product offering.

What was done

In order to double-check to see whether the Minimum Lovable Product (MLP) hit the mark, and landed a successful problem-solution fit, I took the MVP and MLP and broke it down into it’s component parts, and put them into a format that would make it easier to test the various parts of our solution.

Why it was done



How this contributed to/informed the next step?

The value proposition canvas served as a validation check for the Parallel Parent’s concept, in order to make sure there was a match between pains and pain-relievers, as well as a match between gains and gain-creators.

Transition to the next step: The value proposition canvas served as a way to double-check our work and make sure our product prototypes produced tangible value aligned with single parent's pain points and needs.

Prototype Demo