Problem Statement
The Toolkit For Responding was initially a set of good practices and key information, contained within a lengthy PDF document, that could be utilised to support the management of spontaneous volunteering directly following emergencies.
The aim of this project was to take this toolkit and design a powerful web application that would allow better integration of community-led responding with the responses of established authorities.
Role
Lead UX Designer
​​​​​​​Project Goals
Challenges

Reducing Cognitive Overhead - We needed to include all of the information contained within the Toolkit in such a way that the user was not initially overwhelmed by the scale of the content. One of the more challenging aspects of this design was to present content with multiple dependencies in a logical way without the need to search the site.
Interaction Design - The original Toolkit contained multiple elements that needed to be turned into digital tools, for example registers, accident logs, forms and checklists. Understanding the use cases of these individual elements was a complex task given one of the fundamental selling points of the Toolkit is it's ability to adapt to a variety of emergency incidents. 
Research Methods
Key Focus Areas

What are the current challenges/barriers preventing volunteer management being done online?

What are the core tasks that will need to be carried out via an app?

What kind of devices will the app be used on, and how tech-savvy are the people that will be using it?

At which points in the day-to-day running of a volunteer management centre are volunteer managers interacting with the non-digital toolkit?

What is the feedback on the low-fidelity prototype?
Core User Needs
It must be really easy to complete tasks on the app.

The journeys that the volunteer managers take within the app must fit seamlessly into the continued journey outside of the app, as volunteer managers are often completing multiple tasks at a time, under time pressure. Many volunteer managers are not tech savvy and therefore completing a journey within the app, or locating information needs to be intuitive.

The app needs to capture information to share with the local authority.

One of the biggest user desires is for community led volunteering to gain funding and support from local authorities. In order to do this, community volunteers need to be able to evidence to the local authorities the value of their volunteering efforts. Capturing information such as number of volunteers per day, materials used, number of times training materials are accessed etc. will help community volunteers to evidence their contribution.
Locating information on the app needs to take no longer than looking up the information in the paper toolkit.
Information and interactive functionality needs to be organised in a logical way to ensure that a user can access it rapidly and readily. If it takes longer to complete tasks in the app then it does to complete them manually then a volunteer manager is likely to revert back to doing them manually due to the constraints on their time. 


The local authority need to be able to control the information that is visible on the app.

In order for the local authority to fund and support community led volunteering, the local authority needs to be certain that those in charge of the volunteer centres are complying with their standards and procedures. This means the local authority needs to be able to surface these to volunteer managers through the app and to update them and add to them at any given time. 
Lessons Learned
The Customer
Given the customer was a Volunteer Centre Coordinator and thus had a very hectic daily-schedule, it was incredibly difficult to get time with them for interview, feedback or review. Further to this, because this application was a component of a broader plan to digitise the way community-emergency volunteering was run it was hard for the customer to define a static scope.


The Team
This was a voluntary project and as such members of the project team were working on this in their free time. Due to this fact and the fact that there were a number of issues with customer delays and lack of availability, the project ran very slowly, making it difficult to keep motivation levels high. As a result, this project became a hybrid, some aspects working in a agile way, whilst other parts of the project felt more waterfall in nature.

The Process
As a result of my Business Analysis and Product Owner skills, I was regularly requested to help with tasks beyond the remit of a UX Designer. Trying to do more than one role at a time meant that I was not able to concentrate fully on the design, resulting in the need for more iterations than would have been necessary had I been able to give the design process my full attention.
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