Baby Steps

We are interested in designing technology to help detect, record, and track important developmental milestones that occur in children during their first 5 years of life. By tracking these milestones, we can help parents and healthcare providers detect developmental delays such as autism or deafness earlier, which can improve the effects of interventions. We have developed design guidelines for developing technology to support new parents in record-keeping and implementing novel technologies to support better record-keeping and decision-making about developmental progress.

We have designed and evaluated two systems called Baby Steps and KidCam, which were aimed to meet the record-keeping needs of new parents. We are currently in the process of developing a web portal with subsequent text messaging, Twitter, and Facebook links to help make tracking more engaging and motivating. Work related to Baby Steps has been published at CHI 2009, Pervasive 2009, IHI 2010, PUC 2012, CHI 2014, and AMIA 2016. Baby Steps is funded by the National Science Foundation.

We are currently enrolling families for our ongoing evaluation study of Baby Steps. If you have a child between the ages of 5 months and 9 months, please complete a screener survey here to determine if you are eligible.

Baby Steps overview Baby Steps text messaging

Screen shot of timeline from Baby Steps web portal Baby Steps Twitter


Julie Kientz
Hyewon Suh
John Porter
Alexis Hiniker


  • Kientz, J. A., Arriaga, R. I., Chetty, M., Hayes, G. R., Richardson, J., Patel, S. N., & Abowd, G. D. (2007, April). Grow and know: understanding record-keeping needs for tracking the development of young children. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 1351-1360). ACM.
  • Kientz, J. A., Arriaga, R. I., & Abowd, G. D. (2009, April). Baby steps: evaluation of a system to support record-keeping for parents of young children. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1713-1722). ACM.
  • Kientz, J. A., & Abowd, G. D. (2009, May). KidCam: toward an effective technology for the capture of children’s moments of interest. In International Conference on Pervasive Computing (pp. 115-132). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
  • Kientz, J. A. (2010, November). Understanding parent-pediatrician interactions for the design of health technologies. In Proceedings of the 1st ACM International Health Informatics Symposium (pp. 230-239). ACM.
  • Kientz, J. A. (2012). Embedded capture and access: encouraging recording and reviewing of data in the caregiving domain. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 16(2), 209-221.
  • Suh, H., Porter, J. R., Hiniker, A., & Kientz, J. A. (2014, April). @BabySteps: design and evaluation of a system for using twitter for tracking children’s developmental milestones. In Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 2279-2288). ACM.
  • Suh, H., Porter, J.R., Racadio, R., Chen, Y-C., and Kientz, J.A. (2016) Baby Steps Text: Feasibility Study of an SMS-Based Tool for Tracking Children’s Developmental Progress. To Appear in the Proceedings of the American Medical Informatics Association Conference 2016.