Make a difference

In collaboration with Highfive, the independent innovation department of the municipality of Halmstad, we got to create a concept for a potential startup. This project aimed to facilitate communication between help organizations and citizens in times of crisis.

This is a Design Studio project. These projects are carried out in design teams for real clients through class at The univeristy of Halmstad.

landing picture of case

Role:

Evaluation manager

Client

HighFive

Time range

5 weeks

Design team

6 people

Assignment description

This project aimed to facilitate communication between help organizations and citizens in times of crisis. In the spring of 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, and the stream of refugees put the refugee support systems in overload. During this time, alot of citizens turned to the municipality of Halmstad and to the help organizations wondering how they could contribute with help. The municipality of Halmstads innovation department, HighFive, got the idea of creating a platform to help citizens engage in these support systems.

Problem identification

To start the project, the design team needed a more profound knowledge of volunteering and help organizations. The problem identification phase contains the following:

  • Understanding
  • Research
  • Define

Understanding

We kicked the project off with a remote meeting with the team from HighFive and it became clear that the brief could figure as a potential startup. A perspective that we focused the project on. After the initial meeting, we started by looking into the different help organizations based in Halmstad, especially those that focused on the crisis in Ukraine, to narrow the project. We wanted to learn:

  • how helporganizations were working with refugees that came to Halmstad
  • how the citizens could contribute with help

Research

To learn how the municipality and help organizations worked with refugees in Halmstad we started by doing research online and looking into the help organizations and the municipality. During the collection of the data, we chose to start by doing individual desktop research, when we sat down and discussed the information we figured that we had to change strategies. The amount of gathered data came with a challenge in pinpointing what we knew and had to learn more about and when we tried to talk through our findings we understood that we needed more knowledge. To solve this we took inspiration from the methodology in service design of using an ecosystem map.

The inspiration resulted in a swimlane. This made it possible for us to put together the different processes regarding help organizations, the municipality of Halmstad, the government, the citizens, and the integration of refugees, to get a holistic view of the relations. This helped us to pinpoint which information we had knowledge about and what we required to learn more about.

picture of swimlane

To get knowledge of the parts of the swimlane that were insufficient we tried to get in touch with help organizations and the municipality of Halmstad but with the crisis in Ukraine in mind, this didn't work. We had to change strategies, we interviewed employees within help organizations, the municipalities of Halmstad, and citizens that worked as volunteers and citizens without experience in volunteering. It emerged that:

  • the overall opportunities for citizens to contribute with help are volunteering or donations of money to help on-site in the affected area.
  • Citizens can sign up as volunteers, but the research indicated that private persons feel that volunteering is too much of a commitment.
  • Citizens want to help but do not know how they can contribute. There is a need to make it possible for private individuals to be able to contribute with help sporadically.

Define

A service design perspective

From the gathered data we chose to use a service design approach to form a current situation analysis. We created a stakeholder map to map out the different actor's needs of the service.

stakeholder map

When the stakeholder map were done, we created a journey map, for the different stakeholders. This played an important role in identifying whom the concept would create value for, and for identifying in which part of the process the need for the concept would be needed.

journey map for stakeholders

Iterative design

When the design team had the required knowledge, we conducted iterative design, this part of the project contains the following:

  • Ideate
  • Evaluate

Ideate

What's up with all the criterias?

Based on the insights gained during the research phase, the design team created a concept to make it easier for private individuals to identify how they can assist with help sporadically. The concept became a place where help organizations could seek help from private individuals.

There is a major challenge for private individuals to take part in activities arranged by organizations without being volunteers:

  • they have to fulfill different criteria which are dependent on the organization that is arranging the activity, what type of activity it is, and who the activity is for. If the activity is for kids, the people that want to help need to have an extract from the police register.

To face this challenge we proposed a composite list of criteria common to all of these organizations. The requirement to be a volunteer could lead to citizens not participating in these activities. Therefore we chose to implement activities that don't include working directly with the people, open to individuals. The activities with requirements would be locked under the category of volunteers open for citizens to see but not to participate in.

Information structure

As a first step toward prototyping, we created an information structure for the website. To define the structure we created a sitemap.

sitemap

Upon that we created flowcharts for the different pages.

flowchart for the website

The idea behind this was to show how a user can go through a certain process to reach a certain goal. The flowcharts also figured as a foundation for the sketches of the interface.

For the sketching the design team decided to start off with individual sketches to generate different ideas considering the interface. During this we faced a challenge with communicating which part of the interface that should be sketched. To try and solve this, each flowchart was given an ID that was linked to a specific page of how the interface could be designed to accommodate and facilitate user interaction with the interface. The choice to work different IDs, made it possible for us to sketch different solutions for the user interface when the information structure was defined in the sitemap.

flowchart image of ID to sketches

To communicate the design of the user interface, wireframing was done in Figma because of the possibility to make an interactive lo-fi prototype for user testing of the user flow.

Evaluation

Iteration 1

For the evaluation of the interface, we let private individuals take part in user testing that included tasks and closing questions about their experience of the test. This is with the purpose to evaluate the information structure.

prototype iteration one

Prototype for first evaluation

The first evaluation presented that:

  • Color coding for the different categories was appreciated but the colors needed to be iterated.
  • The information structure and navigation were clear but the labeling of the different categories was unclear.

Workshop

During the iteration of the prototype we face a challenge with how to label the different categories to part them from each other in a clear way. To help with this we organized a workshop with our student colleagues. During the workshop the participants were presented to a scenario of them taking the role as an individual that searched for ways to contribute with help. With the scenario in mind they got the task to discuss which type of category different activities would be divided into and how to label the categories.

Iteration 2

We decided to use the same strategy for evaluating the second iteration of the prototype, this with the motivation that it was the most suitable strategy for evaluating the prototype. The focus was to iterate the visuals and the findings from the first iteration.

prototype iteration two

Prototype for the second evaluation

The second evaluation presented that:

  • The new colors were described as clear and understandable.
  • The labeling of the categories were clear in the way that the test persons understood the meaning behind them and the differences between the categories.

Conceptualization

After the evaluations, the design team created a service blueprint. Together with the evaluated prototype, we presented the solution to the customers.

Solution

After the evaluations of the prototype, it was presented to the clients. To help communicate the service we decided to create and present a future service blueprint. This was divided into three parts, with the motivation of communicating the customer journeys in relation to the other actors' processes in the service as a whole.

The project resulted in a developed web-based solution that is intended to create a meeting place between citizens and help organizations. The design enables a quick way for citizens to be informed by how they can contribute, and a way for help organizations to seek help from private individuals.

My contributions

In this project my role was evaluation manager. Therefore one of my key responsibilities during this project was to prepare and execute the evaluations of the prototype. In collaboration with the other members I was a part of research, ideation, service design, concept and prototyping.

Takeaways

Reflection is key

The ability to reflect and to have a critical approach is key when working in a project. The process is not generic but iterative, and to take a step back and reflect can help iterate the process to something different. To iterate and to have a critical view on the process is important, not least when facing challenges.

Planning and agile methods

During this project, we worked with a planning tool called ClickUp. This tool made it possible for us to work agile and in sprints. It is of great importance to plan the whole process to be sure that the project can be done within the timespan and to make the work as efficient as possible.

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