Good UX and giving birth


I'm absolutely over the moon. My little son was born on Friday! 🎉

Over the last few days my wife and I have been enjoying him and discovering what our new rhythms will look like.

We had a home birth; he was born under the cosy light of our Christmas tree. My wife opted not to have pain relief, instead focusing on relaxing and letting her body take the lead.

Introducing Freya

A game-changing moment was when we fired up Freya. Freya is one of many iOS and Android apps for support in labour. But I think it's head-and-shoulders above the rest.

The app is made by The Positive Birth Company. We first came across them whilst researching hypnobirthing (the art of relaxing throughout labour).

Their mission is to empower women and their birth partners. That resonated with us. In fact, we traveled 370 miles to attend one of their courses.

The Positive Birth Company video still

Aesthetics and purpose

I mention Freya because I think its interface is noteworthy.

Looking at it, you'll observe that it's simple and attractive. Modern colours and gradients prevail, with smooth transitions and gently-pulsing animations.

Freya app screenshot: 'Freya will help you to relax with calming visualisations and guided meditation.'Freya app screenshot: 'Freya will coach you through each surge with a simple breathing technique.'Freya app screenshot: 'Use our surge timer to keep track of how your labour is progressing.'

But it's not just about pretty UI.

The design choices aid relaxation -- which is the whole point. Statistics and settings are tucked away unobtrusively, and a soothing colour palette communicates peace.

Everything seems well thought through. For example, the toggle button to switch the contraction timer on and off is big and in the centre of the screen -- so when a contraction starts, you don't have to focus on hitting a small target.

As someone who spends a lot of time making sure front-end interfaces are engaging as well as attractive, I appreciate the way that Freya's aesthetic and purpose work together.

It's fair to say we're fans.

I might not be planning on using Freya again any time soon, but I'd unapologetically recommend it -- as an example of good design and as an aid whilst giving birth.