For Good: How the UX process helped us do something positive

Wesley Meacham
Nov 15, 2019 · 4 min read

When we started Pulse For Good, a client-satisfaction solution geared towards the homeless population and the service providers that serve them, we knew we wanted to do something different. Each of us had successful jobs, doing good things, and making great products. Yet we felt like we wanted to do more. We wanted to take our skills and do something good in this world. That is why when we created our small company we adopted the slogan For Good.

Applying the UX process

When I boil down the UX (User Experience) process, I define it in three main objectives: 1. Learn — 2. Create — 3. Share

As we embarked on this journey, we used this process in creating our solution.

Learn

When we got together and decided to put our skills to use helping others, we began talking to people, trying to find a problem that had yet to be filled. After going down a few different paths, we eventually landed on helping Homeless Service Providers gather data from their clients, the individuals experience homelessness.

Once we settled on that idea, we began to reach out to as many individuals and groups as we could to learn more about the problem. We talked to directors of homeless initiatives, managers of shelters, and people who had experienced homelessness. We even reached out to state senators, city council members, mayors, and assistants to the Governor. Anyone that would talk to us and give us feedback about what we were trying to accomplish, we talked to them.

What this did for us was help us begin to learn about the domain of homelessness. We learned about what homeless individuals needed, some of the most common items that they wanted, and what are the leading the causes of their homelessness.

We learned about how Homeless Service Providers have attempted to gather data in the past, what were the challenges, what were the reasons they abandoned those attempts.

Create

After learning as much as possible, we began the process of creating our solution. We prototyped up a simple survey tool, used the knowledge we had gathered during our learning phase and created what we thought would be the best questions to ask a homeless individual.

Through our research, we knew that we needed to provide simple, secure, and accessible access. This led us to a secured kiosk in the Service Provider’s facility.

An iPad in a secured kiosk located in a public area seemed to be the best solution for the problem.

We tailored the survey for simplicity. We made sure that the first few questions could be answered with a single tap, ensuring that we capture the data no matter where a user dropped off. We stripped the design down to have only the necessary items on the screen.

We built the survey as quickly as possible to get it ready for the final step in our UX process.

Share

Once we had a rough solution available, we took it out. It was not polished by a long shot, but we knew we needed the feedback of our users before we went any further down this path.

To start, we approached Catholic Community Services in Salt Lake City. The were interested in our idea and agreed to install the survey in their computer lab as a first test before we installed a physical kiosk.

We also approached Neighborhood Non-Profit in Logan, and they agreed to pilot a kiosk for us.

Our first attempt at a physical kiosk.

The computer lab at CCS proved to be very successful and they requested that we also install a physical kiosk in their facility to try capturing more data.

Our second kiosk, which was installed at CCS in Salt Lake City.

While our initial product was not what we wanted it to be, in true UX fashion we knew it was more important to get the idea out there and start getting feedback. We continued to interact with the Service Providers, get their feedback, tweaked the system, and streamline it.

What we have learned is that the homeless community was hungry for their voice to be heard. We were flooded with responses. In a little over three months we have received over 500 responses at CCS. Neighborhood Non-Profit also saw a high percentage of their clients take the survey.

For Good

Working with the good, caring people at CCS, we were able to identify that many of their clients wished they had shower curtains in the showers. CCS listened and installed shower curtains.

For the first time since we began this journey to accomplish something good, we felt like we had. We learned about a problem, we created a solution, we shared that solution and in so doing, we helped CCS make the lives of homeless individuals a little bit better. For the first time, we had tangible evidence that we had done something good.

Wesley Meacham

Written by

Creating, reading, doing

Pulse For Good

We are experts in building software to help solve complex problems. Our careers have been built around delivering software solutions for state, local and federal governments as well as large corporations. We’re now using our expertise to try and make a difference in the world.

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