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Wellspring Family Services Mobile Web App

Team

Corey Hage (Design Director)

Tosin Ojulari (UX Design Intern)
Ethan Pidgeon (Visual Design Intern)
Alex Gherman (UX Research Intern)

Duration

Blink UX Internship Program - 10 weeks

Tools

  • figma
  • Mural
  • zoom_black_logo_icon_

Challenge

Wellspring Family Services aims to break the cycle of family homelessness through prevention and early intervention. The pandemic reinforced NGOs' need to offer digital solutions for consistent resource access. My team was tasked to develop a mobile-first tool enabling crisis-stricken families to access, save, and organize essential resources.

The Solution

A mobile web app that equips families in crisis to search for curated and personalized resources to regain stability, either independently or collaboratively with case managers. 

Key Learnings

  • You almost never get it right on the first try - With each iteration, we refined the 'ingredients' to meet user needs and ensure high-quality experiences.​

  • What is intuitive to one person might not be intuitive to another.  Intuitiveness varies based on factors like age, tech-savvy, culture, and lived experiences. This project reminded me of the importance of constant communication with users and subject matter experts.

Show me the goods (i.e. Prototype)

Overview

- Ending the Cycle of Family Homelessness - 

Speaking With the Subject Experts

As Wellspring are experts in helping families experiencing homelessness, I swiftly conducted stakeholder interviews with 7 employees, including the chief information/technical officer and housing stability specialists. These interviews aimed to understand Wellspring's process of helping clients, uncover existing knowledge on client needs and align them with user interview findings to prioritize project focus.

 

Some of the notable quotes by stakeholders:

How do you view the level of support for resolving family homelessness?

The current system makes it really tough for people to find help when they're in crisis. It's overwhelming to hit dead ends before finding the right support. Sadly, some never find help at all. For the few who do, it often comes later than it should. I wish we had a system that could find people earlier and ease their trauma and desperation

Stakeholder 4

What is Wellspring's current process for providing help to families?

Our process is manual and isolated, relying on the individual knowledge and daily experience of each case manager, which makes tracking resources impossible. There are countless resources, but social workers only know about a fraction of them, and finding a resource that meets your client's needs can be difficult.

Stakeholder 3

Key Stakeholder Insights
  • Prevention-focused resources and programs are needed to proactively address barriers that lead to homelessness.

  • The paper-based system requires departments to operate as separate enterprises, leading to the creation of silos that must be eliminated.

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  • Due to the varied and scattered nature of the information available to clients, Wellspring needs to better equip families to find resources tailored to their needs.

  • Case managers and clients have vastly different access to information, which creates gatekeeping and hinders transparency, which is crucial to fostering good relationships between them. ​

 

  • The current paper-based system makes it difficult for case managers to maintain a consistent level of interaction with multiple clients.

Learning From the Lived Experiences of Users

Alongside stakeholder interviews, our researcher conducted 8 foundational user interviews to empathize with families facing housing instability or homelessness. Through these sessions, we captured participant emotions and experiences, turning them into guiding themes for our project. 

Foundational Research Insights

The user interviews revealed that families need:

  • Personalized resources to alleviate cognitive load and minimize stress

  • Resource transparency to trust resources and feel reassured that progress is being made.

  • Variety of options and constant encouragement and empowerment to continuously take action when things don’t work out.

  • Flexibility in saving and organizing resources to accommodate shifting needs throughout their journey.

- Who's Killing it in the Industry? - 

What is the Competition Doing?

I performed a competitive design audit to identify key features and differences among direct competitors in the NGO and homeless service sectors (e.g., Shelter App, 2-1-1 Washington). The key insights obtained from the audit are:

  • Content filtering Content filtering is crucial for offering timely and personalized resources to vulnerable clients.

  • User feedback refines recommended resources and builds trust

  • Information overload confuses and hinders user decision-making

  • Mobile-first experiences ensure easy access to personalized resources over desktop-translated experiences.

Opportunity to learn from competitors

Features can be improved for better user experience

Challenging for user experience

Dotted Screens.png

- Answering the Question "How Might We?" - 

Our UX researcher, Alex, and I collaborated after all interviews had been completed to identify and prioritize common themes. Based on these themes, we created three "How might we?" statements that guided our project's focus.

  • How might we enable individuals to better find the resources they need?

  • How might we enable individuals to more effectively save and organize specific resources?

  • How might we most effectively build trust and prevent dead ends?

- Generating Ideas With Blinkers! - 

Following the conclusion of research and the finalization of the "How might we...?" questions, I lead an internal concept card session with 20 Blinkers to generate and vote on diverse ideas, which were then presented to our clients during a strategy session. 

How might we enable individuals to better find the resources they need?
How might we enable individuals to effectively save and organize specific resources?
How might we most effectively build trust and prevent dead ends?