Baby clothing sizes are inaccurate and vary from brand to brand. The clothes parents enthusiastically buy or receive as gifts can often only be worn for a couple of times, or less.
As a result...
I redesigned the sizing system for baby clothes. Drawing inspiration from other sizing labels, the new system labels baby clothes size with two components: 1. their length and weight, and 2. their approximate age, providing an accurate guidance for users to pick the right size of clothes for babies.
Design outcome
To better understand the growth rate of little humans and the correlation with their clothing size, I looked up growth rate data from prominent health organizations like the CDC and WHO. 
According to the research: 
• From birth to 6 months, a baby might grow 0.5 to 1 inch a month and gain 5 to 7 ounces a week
• The weight of the baby is expected to double by about 5 months
• Boys tend to grow a little longer and heavier than girls
Using the data, I constructed three hypothetical scenarios to better understand the growth rate and size of baby:
Through different scenarios created based on the CDC growth chart, I found that the growth rate of babies varies and that a baby’s age does not have a correlation with their height and weight. Thus, clothing size based on the baby’s age might not be accurate.
As habit is hard to quantify, I conducted interviews with 5 users who needed baby clothes in the last year.
Key research questions:
•How do you choose baby clothes size?
•Are there any pain points that occur throughout the process?
Here are the synthesized results:
• Parents slowly cut down on how much baby clothing they buy as their child outgrows their previous clothing
• Both parents and baby clothes buyers tend to buy one size bigger than the baby’s actual age
• Users don’t usually look at the size guide provided by the clothing stores
• Users feel disappointed when the clothes do not fit the baby, especially clothes for special occasions like Halloween and Christmas
I wanted to collect concrete data to see if baby clothing size is a real issue, therefore, I conducted an online survey asking participants from a private Reddit group where all the members have babies or toddlers.
I received over 70 responses. Here are the main takeaways:
The interviews and surveys provided me with rich data and insights for me to truly understand the issue via the user’s point of view. Combining and synthesizing these results, I moved on to creating personas and empathy maps.
I created two personas to emerge myself into the heads of two distinctive groups of users: 1. Parents, and 2. People who buy baby clothes as a gift.
Empathy mapping
I created empathy maps for the personas to visualize users’ attitudes and behaviors so that I can step in their shoes.
To ensure the sizing system I design will work and can withstand time, I researched how other sizing systems (bra size, shoe size and standardized clothing size) work. 
I have observed some commonalities among the sizing systems:
1. Universal components
All of the systems use simple and cross-cultural components: letters, numbers. 

2. Simplified indicators
Both shoe size and US women standardized clothing size use a single or double-digit number to simplify the exact measuring.

3. Takes time to cultivate public understanding
All these sizing systems were developed and standardized in the first half of the 20th century, and have been slowly evolving over time and adapted by society. 
Observing and analyzing these sizing systems helped me be mindful and aware of how a successful guide works. Along with other research I’ve conducted, I have a deeper understanding of the problems and the user, and I am ready to turn all the insights into potential solutions.
Design & Testing
Crazy 8's
I used Crazy 8's to help flesh out some ideas and prevent myself from overthinking the practicality of each idea.
Afterward, I examined each idea, narrowed down my options, and combined them with the results of my earlier research. I decided to use length as a numerical indicator and weight as the alphabetical indicator on the new sizing system. I created 2 systems that can reflect a baby’s length and weight:
Here are the data I used across these 2 systems and the reason behind them:
• For both of the systems, I set the starting length at 21 inches as it is 3 inches longer than the lowest length percentile according to CDC, allowing room for the baby to grow
• The next size up is 24 inches, as on average, babies grow 3 inches every 3 months
Both of the systems will work for baby clothes up to 12 months. After that, the baby growth rate slows down and another sizing system is needed. 
Usability testing 1
Both size guide and tag were shown to facilitate the usability test. I invited 3 parents who had at least one child under 12 months old and 2 users who plan to buy baby clothes in the near future. They were asked to pick the right clothing size for the baby. After they finished the task, I interviewed them regarding the experience.
Here are the Insights I gather during the testing and the interview:
• Parents can pick the desired size quickly without needing much explanation, noting that baby check-ups are scheduled every 2-3 months, length and weight are often on the top of their head 
• Non-parents have a hard time deciding what sizes to pick as they don’t know the baby’s length and weight, and asking the parents for that information seemed “awkward”
• All of the users think the two systems are fundamentally similar, with 3 of them preferring System 2 as it’s easier to pick when there are fewer choices
• 2 participants mentioned that labeling baby size “W(wide)” is inaccurate
• A user pointed out that “M” and “L” in System 1 is confusing as it could mean "month" and “length”
I iterated the design based on these insights and decided to:
1. Iterate based on System 2, which has 2 sizes for every length, but with a new alphabetical system to represent the weight
2. Include an age guide to cater to the needs of users who are not buying for their own child and do not have immediate access to the baby’s length and weight
Here are the updated size guide and label:
Usability testing 2
In this round of testing, the users were given the same task: to pick the right clothing size for the baby. I invited 4 parents who had at least one child under 12 months old and 2 users who plan to buy baby clothes in the near future.
Here is some of the feedback from the users:
• All of the users were able to pick the desired size 
• 3 of the parents were curious about the actual fitting of the clothes 
• 4 of them wondered if the clothes could fit the specific features of the baby, i.e. long torso, short arms etc
• 2 of them mentioned that pajamas and onesies are the types of baby clothes that would need this size guide the most as they tend to fit poorly
Takeaways & Next steps
Getting out of comfort zone
I restructured the research and tailor-made parts of it so as to obtain sufficient knowledge and understanding to solve the problem. When I first listed out the research methods, I did not know what to do. I sat there and thought about all the things that could go wrong. I went back and started my research using the design thinking process. But I got stuck as some parts of the problem were left undefined. 

Therefore, I went back to the restructured research outline and made a list of questions I had based on the research outline. I figured I’d answer them one by one and find a way to thread them together later. Piecing the answers together was also scary as I did not know if they would fit or not. As I pieced them up and filled in the gaps, voilà! I found the best solution to solve the problem! Just kidding, but I did manage to create a couple of solutions that were good foundations to be iterated on
Making mistakes
I made so many mistakes throughout the process. Missing interview questions, missing steps, etc. For some of them, I was able to find solutions to tackle the issues. But there were still other things that came up in the middle. For example, I forgot to talk to experts early on in the process. I believe it will be very useful to talk to professionals who sell baby clothes, who design them, and other people who work in the clothing industry and know more about clothes than I do. In that way, I’ll be able to learn about how they communicate sizes with customers, how they problem-solve issues regarding sizes, and what are some of the questions customers ask the most. 
Thank you for reading!
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