Introducing One Degree for Android & iOS
In 2017 we noticed that more and more One Degree members were accessing our main site (1degree.org) on their smart phones — and now more than half of them do. We also heard anecdotally from our members that they wanted to have an app to access One Degree. These facts were also underscored by findings from the Pew Research Foundation, which reports that 21% of low-income adults in the U.S. depend entirely on their smartphone for internet access — they do not have broadband access at home. For our community, the phone has become a lifeline in our increasingly technology-driven world. For all these reasons, we decided to invest in building a first-class mobile experience for our members. No matter how great a website is, it will never be able to approximate “native” mobile apps in terms of ease of use, responsiveness, or flexibility.
For our community, the phone has become a lifeline in our increasingly technology-driven world.
This spring we rolled out our brand new Android and iOS apps. Our top product goals were to improve users’ ability to quickly and easily find community resources and better enable them to use resources they find on One Degree. This project gave us the opportunity, and the challenge, to focus on how to bring our most impactful features to the apps — the small screen size forces a “less is more” strategy which was hard for a feature-rich product like One Degree. We limited our scope to the core of One Degree: searching for resources, saving them to a personal “To Do” list for easy access and future reference, and rating and reviewing those resources.
Below are a few screenshots of the apps — available in both Spanish and English.
We learned so much during this project, including new programming languages and methodologies, as well as mobile-first design concepts. In fact, thinking about designing for mobile first helps us build a foundation for all future projects — now we’re starting the user interface design work of all of our new projects from that perspective. Most of all, we learned that our small, but mighty team can tackle very different projects at the same time and continue to make things happen for our community members. We are open and excited about learning new things.
We’re already thinking about ways to make our apps even more useful to our members, such as sending personalized push notifications and about resource opportunities near them (imagine getting an alert: “you have a food pantry in your to do list, here’s another one near you that was just added to One Degree”). We’re also thinking about making them even more useful offline, which is critical for our members who have limited data plans that may be negatively impacted by accessing data-intensive modern websites. Our product decisions, as always, are driven by in-person research with our community members coupled with an analysis of the data coming directly from our products, including our website, SMS tools, and our new apps. We’re excited to see what what our members and their app usage tell us.
We hope that this project opens One Degree up to more people who will feel more comfortable with the simplicity and ease of a mobile app experience. Please take a few minutes to check them out on Google Play or the App Store, tell your friends and colleagues, and let us know what you think. We always love to hear from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.