Design Research + Strategy


Candid: A Tool for Talking About It

// User Research, Product Design, Strategy

// 4.0 Schools Fellowship Winner, TELOS Grant Recipient

Candid Flyer.jpg


How did you learn about "the birds and the bees?"

Parents and children often struggle to discuss topics in comprehensive sex education, such as relationships, sexuality, and decision-making. Parents might not have the right language or confidence to bring up these topics. And while kids are curious, they may not always know what to ask.



Project: Candid, a mobile tool that enables families to have meaningful conversations about growing up
Collaborator: Kimiya Hojjat
Context: Learning, Design, and Technology Master's Project

Instead of silence or awkward conversations, learning about growing up can be an opportunity for coming together, sharing stories, and engaging in positive and playful learning experiences.

Candid is a mobile tool that helps parents foster meaningful conversations with their kids about difficult topics around growing up, such as gender roles, sexuality, and relationships. It uses popular engaging media to break the ice and contextualize important concepts. After watching a video together, parents and children choose from a library of questions to ask each other, and can also privately write in their own questions they may be curious about. 

Candid helps foster conversations as parents and kids each take turns on the tablet sharing their thoughts and responding to questions that were chosen for them.

Research and Design Process


We began by working to understand the scope and nature of the problem, through: 

  • Conducting an in-depth literature review

  • Interviewing experts on comprehensive sex education, relationships, and communication

  • Designing, running, and analyzing a Qualtrics survey with 160+ respondents to gain self-reported data on the challenges that parents face, current solutions used, and how these conversations fit into their day

Armed with a deeper understanding of the problem space, we honed in our target user (parents and children ages 9-12 years old) and design challenge.

How might we make talking about growing up as routine and enjoyable as watching your family’s favorite TV show?

The next phase of our research process concentrated on identifying the underlying causes of communication challenges, and what we can learn from existing solutions through: 

  • Competitive analysis

  • Ethnographic observations

  • In-depth qualitative interviews and card sorting sessions

Card Sorting activity: Cards described 18 different situations, parents were asked to order cards from least confident to most confident

Next, we designed, prototyped, tested and iterated on our solution, engaging in:

  • Parallel prototyping

  • Concept feedback sessions

  • Usability studies

  • Learner studies examining efficacy and learning outcomes


We received positive feedback from our parent testers, and are working to further advance our concept.

Candid was recently awarded a fellowship by 4.0 Schools - stay tuned for more updates!

“I enjoyed being able to speak with my son about important issues in a game type environment with less pressure”
— Parent Tester
“We loved the exercise and hope you will find further tools to help parents!”
— Parent Tester
“I thought it was a lot easier for my daughter to open up and speak without feeling embarrassed or nervous”
— Parent Tester