JHENIFER PABILLANO

The Data Driven Mom: Baby Connect iPhone app reconsidered

Edit: I’ve come to mostly like Baby Connect after using it for 10 months. So, you know, grain of salt with the review below and all.

I’ve now had two months of experience with Baby Connect, which has given me a markedly less positive view of the app than in my initial review. Begin the first-world whining!

  • It’s sooo slow! When I switch to the app to enter some data, too often have I encountered the startup screen, which takes its sweet time loading all the data before I can get to the entry part. Is this my fault for entering too much data in the app? If so, why allow us to enter so much data into the app? Speed is totally a crucial issue when you’re a mom—sometimes you have only a few seconds to stop a timer or enter a piece of data before your baby will scream, or they’re screaming already and you feel like a dick for prolonging their agony and waiting for your dumb app to load so you can enter info that feels increasingly trivial.
  • The super not-useful home screen that you’re forced to continually revisit. Virtually 90% of the buttons on the home screen are hardly used and barely any useful current data about your baby is displayed—-but you’re forced to go back to the home screen over and over again when you switch timers or enter other data. Why force us to keep on loading a page that doesn’t show anything useful? Why not just make the home screen display all the info in the “List” screen, which actually tells you when your baby was last changed/fed and the detailed chronology of what your baby was up to all day? The home screen for rival app Baby Log is far more intelligently designed (see a photo here), letting you access the timers you need while displaying all the current info about your kid right on the surface.
  • Who cares if you can store so much data on activities if you can’t call it up later? Sure you can enter lots of activity data, but good luck retrieving it. For example, I faithfully log the times when I bathe my baby, but there’s no way to quickly look up when I last bathed her. In comparison, Baby Log had a bath button that let you access the bath data entry form, but also displayed the time elapsed since you last bathed your baby right on top of the button.
  • Zooming in on the charts does not help you understand them better. The axes are eradicated as you zoom in so you have no idea what the zoomed-in bars mean.
  • The sleep timer goes immediately to the home screen after being activated. A minor annoyance that gnaws on your patience over time, because often I just want the sleep timer to stay up so I can keep an eye on how long she’s slept while I’m holding her. None of the other timers do this: why does the sleep timer?

Hopefully this doesn’t sound vindictive but merely descriptive of my frustrations, as I know Baby Connect’s developer is very active in listening to the user base and I’m certainly grateful for what functionality is there. My experience over the past months has just made me prefer Baby Log’s more efficient interface: if it weren’t for Baby Connect’s superior timers, its ability to sync across devices and its online access, and responsive development team, I probably would have switched back already. I feel like Baby Connect allows you to log a ton of data, but it doesn’t consistently do a good job of surfacing key data or ensuring a pleasurable user experience over a long period of time.

(Again, my biases: I have a baby who is 8 weeks old, I like efficiency, and I like being able to analyze accumulated data to improve my understanding of my baby’s behaviour. If you’re using the app for reasons other than this, you probably won’t have the same issues.)

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Comments

Was about to buy Baby Connect since it was so highly reviewed in the App Store but came across your post—thanks for the feedback about it!

I found another possible contender, Baby Activity Logger, which may address some of the issues you found in Baby Connect:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/baby-activity-logger/id304562986?mt=8

http://www.nerdtown.com/?page_id=19

Ever heard of or tried it? If you do end up checking it out, would love to know what you think about this compared to Baby Connect!

said Aimee on 9 Aug 2011 at 2:49am

Thanks for that Aimee! I’ve just had a look and it seems fairly interesting… however I’m not quite sure I’ll give it a whirl, as it hasn’t got the online backups for data! With the limited time I have for logging, I don’t want to start putting my info somewhere it can be ultimately lost if I lose my phone etc :(

said Jhenifer on 9 Aug 2011 at 10:15am

Ahh, got it—good point.

said Aimee on 9 Aug 2011 at 4:38pm

Thanks for the post, Jhenifer, and the update. Balancing all this technology with being a mom is both fun and challenging. I’m somewhat of a techie mom as I design hooded towels for babies and kids and sell them primarily online. keep up the great work!

Melissa,  Towelhoodies Hooded Towels founder

said MelissaJane on 13 Jun 2012 at 4:04pm

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