How we developed the StepFinder app
When tasked with developing YouthNet’s first app, we wanted something digital that would genuinely help young people in the real world.
We knew from research and consultation that young people who came to TheSite that they had often sought help and support with an issue from face to face services and found them difficult to interact with. In fact young people faced multiple barriers to accessing face to face support from physically finding locations near them to concerns about what to expect when they got there.
It would not be enough to simply give young people a directory of services. We needed to give them guidance on what to expect when they got there and to allow them to read and share experiences with other users – anything we could do to make going through the front door or picking up the phone a little easier.
We started by pitching the need to a groups of students at London School of Economics (LSE). As part of a postgraduate course on IT design, LSE matched us with a group who wanted to explore mobile delivery of our content. The group met with YouthNet staff to understand the problem. They researched potential designs and key issues and devised a design solution. On the back of their design brief, YouthNet were able to raise the funds to begin the build.
We recruited Scramboo the agency that helped to develop the app at a digital ‘speed dating’ event hosted by the Technology Strategy Board. We were impressed with their usage of GPS and augmented reality technology in work they had done for Westminster Council and saw an opportunity to embed this technology into our first app.
Before we started to write any code it was important for us to test out our concepts with young people. Armed with some interactive wireframes, we were able to explore what young people thought of the new app concept. Groups were made up from a mixture of existing TheSite users and young people who have never heard of us before to test out the wireframes.
We asked them to explore the interactive wireframe themselves for a few minutes without any guidance, and then in order for us to test the usability and functionality of the app we had asked them to work through two or three scenarios and see if they were able to reach the goal. We observed how each person approached the scenario and how they navigated through the app. We had asked each person to speak their minds so that we were able to capture their thoughts and behaviour.
Overall, the testing was very positive and we were reassured that we were heading the right direction. Just making some small alternations to the wireframe were sufficient for us to quickly move onto development.
By building a minimum viable product (MVP) we were able to release the app early to our TheSite leaders groups and for them to feedback to us directly on future enhancements and changes.
Published on 28-Nov-2013
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