Over the course of the past 6 months, we rebuilt the entire Birdhouse for Autism website. We’d grown to the point that the old site was really beginning to hold us back and prevent us from building the features that families have been asking us to build for them, and there was nothing to do but start over. But we knew this would happen at some point, so we were definitely prepared for it.
When we started Birdhouse in 2012, we were really excited. After talking with loads of fellow Autism families who were all experiencing the same issues we were– organizing important health information, trying to figure out what did and didn’t work with our kids, and wanting to do so with a system or website or app that was engaging and easy to use and maybe even a little fun– we took the time to think through what this could look like and how it would work.
After sketching out our ideas, we built a website that brought them to life. It enabled parents raising children with Autism to do 3 things: 1) keep information on meds, supplements, vitamins, and probiotics organized, 2) store names, addresses, and phone numbers for doctors and therapists, and most importantly, 3) keep an ongoing record of their child’s daily activities across a number of different activity types, transforming the disorganized and harried experience of scrawling in a handwritten notebook to look for patterns or insights into their child’s behavior. It looked like this:
A short while later, we built an iPhone app that made it super simple to post new activities on the go, which was one of the pieces of feedback we were hearing the loudest from families using Birdhouse in early 2013. It looked like this:
We eventually fleshed out the iPhone app for the iPhone 5 to bring in the Activity timeline and everything that goes with it, like isolating and comparing activities, searching, and managing recurring Nutrition and Therapy items. Access to the Activity timeline in mobile launched as a Birdhouse Premium feature, while everyone still had access to the post screen. It looked like this:
When iOS 7.0 came around and changed the design requirements for iPhone apps, we found ourselves in a position to not only update the Birdhouse iPhone app, but build an app for Android as well. After all, by this time about half the families who were both Birdhouse users and Android users were about to fire us all if we didn’t 😉 Those apps looked like this:
Those got us by for a while, but we were increasingly running into issues where families needed certain features and we, due to the way we’d originally built the Birdhouse website, we weren’t able to add them easily, or at all. And if we couldn’t add them to the website, we couldn’t add them to the smartphone apps, so we needed to do something about that. Birdhouse 1.0, the website you’ve been using, was a prototype. It was our very first version. We wanted to get something up there and to see if anyone would use it. It turns out that a LOT of people wanted to use it, and, well, we all outgrew it together.
Throughout the second half of 2014, we took the time to reimagine what Birdhouse could be and how we could make it better.
This new version of Birdhouse, what we’re calling 2.0, addresses a lot of the shortcomings of version 1.0. This new website represents a huge leap forward for all of us. It doesn’t have a lot of the features that we all want to see in Birdhouse yet, but it gives us the foundation to build those much, much more easily, and really grow it into something indispensable for so many more families around the world, including your own.
Here’s what you’ll see when you log in next:
[the below images are GIFs and may not display in moving format on mobile]
We included a handful of great additions, too. For example, it’s much easier now to add new activities.
And you can now add any mood you can think of!
Marking recurring activities complete remains as easy as ever.
Also, does this screen look familiar?
Well, you’ll never see it again! That’s a bug ALL of us are happy to leave behind 🙂
And if you noticed above, all of your notes that you include when you post new activities are now displayed right in the main view! Meaning you no longer have to click a little note icon to see what’s inside.
There’s much more in there, and you can expect more great stuff to come. So thanks for joining us for the ride. We think you’ll love what you see, and we hope Birdhouse helps you and your families to understand your children even better, and help them succeed in ways you always thought possible.
(and Dani, Adam, and the whole Birdhouse team)