SIA week 3 Log

Log 3

This is the week 3 log for SIA. This week we have been working on user research for our stakeholders including Nigel Todd, David Webb, Jude Murphy, Katrina Jordison and the local residents of the Wingrove area. The two methods we chose to use to collect our user research are door to door surveys and interviews with local residents and the project partners.

Door to door survey: We have chosen to survey the local residents as surveys generate quick statistical data about our chosen sample. Surveys can be very useful in this sense as they will help us understand the big picture and provide us with statistics that can help to inform the direction of our project. Since we are obtaining this data in a door to door format, it is critical that the survey is short and questions are concise to ensure we capture the main opinions we are after.

Interviews with project partners: For the project partners (Nigel Todd, David Webb, Jude Murphy and Katrina Jordison) we chose to interview them informally. With these interviews, we can interchange views and ideas and hopefully collect information that will enable a deeper analysis of a given problem. Hopefully we will engage in a lengthier conversation which touches on their current aims for public engagement and digital platform and the issues the organisations deal with on a neighbourly basis.

What insights we hope to gain:

From our user research, we hope to gather a much more detailed insight into the project. We chose these two methods as they will help us obtain information on opinions and perceptions on a local and professional level. By collecting this data we hope to gain knowledge on how the area is managed now, and how residents are made aware of events and developments within the community. From the interviews with the organisation members and David Webb, a senior lecture in town planning and also a local Wingrove resident, we hope to gain knowledge of how they feel on an organisational level, as well as a paralleled local level, about how the area currently engages with projects and events, and how they think this could be improved for the future. In addition, we also hope to gain a wider image of their vision for the future of the area.

Questions we have come up with for…

Local Residents:

  1. How do you feel about community interaction within the area now?
  • Do you think this could be improved?
  • Could this improvement be in the form of a digital platform? If so what would you like to see?
  1. What is your experience of the current use of the facilities in the area?
  • How did you hear about the reuse of the building on Arthurs Terrace?
  • Would you engage with the building after its refurbishment?
  • Any ideas for the building?
  1. Do you think that interest in community connection is focused on by a certain demographic? (one of our stakeholders being schools).
  • What do you think to using the primary school as a main stakeholder?

Project Partners:

  1. What is your role and background, in the area/community?
  2. How do you feel the area receives information and communicates internally now?
  3. How do you currently attempt to engage with the public?
  4. What are your aims for the area? And for public engagement?
  5. Could public engagement be progressed by the involvement of a digital platform?

David Webb

  1. What is your role and background?
  2. How do you feel, as a local resident, information is distributed now between the community? Is there a social space for the residents?
  3. How do you feel, as a professional, the area is managed by the different organisations? Is there anything that could improve this for future progression?
  4. Do you have any opinions on the current use of social media to connect the different events/organisations within the area?

Below are photographs of our session together in which we brainstormed different questions and ideas for the user research process.

 

 

Log Week 3 – NUTC

Log week 3

Hello, this week we decided upon our user research methods. We believe the best method for us would be to participate in detailed (structured) interviews with stakeholders and the general public, and also to take general observations of the areas usage. Within the seminar we came up with some brief questions, following this we met as a group to expand upon them more.

Planned site visit

This week we contacted Ali to try to organise a meeting with her, Mark (computer, tech side of the project) and Julie (environmental/health side of the project) although Julie wasn’t able to make the dates suggested, so we have agreed to try to meet up next week with them where we will be able to ask them more detailed questions about the project. As we cannot interview them this week we have decided to make a site visit instead to Heaton Road, to try to interview some of the locals and the stakeholders. We realise that we need different types of interviews for each set of people, some needing to more open and others more specific. We would like to talk to a few of the people below, although we have been warned due to local elections to not focus on them too much. These would be users such as:

  • Residents (both alongside Heaton Road and nearby neighborhoods)
  • Cyclists
  • Stakeholders

Examples of our open questions – resident, general public etc.  

  1. What is your main usage for Heaton Road ?
  2. What are your usual methods of transport when on this road?
  3. Do you find parking spaces easy to find and are there a good amount of them?
  4. Would you find travelling along Heaton Road a positive experience, and why is this?
  5. What would you change, if anything, about Heaton Road if you could?

Examples of our closed questions – Mark, Julie, Ali, Space for Heaton etc.

  1. What is your main usage for Heaton Road?
  2. What are your usual methods of transport when on this road?
  3. How do you feel about parking along Heaton road?
  4. Do you find spaces easy to find and are there a good amount of them?
  5. What would you change, if anything, about Heaton Road if you could?
  6. Do you believe the changes would be beneficial for the area?
  7. What incentives would you think would lead people to want the changes made?
  8. What are the main reasons you believe people are against?

From these questions we hope to gain a greater insight into how people feel about the project and its outcomes, hopefully helping us to understand our project end goal a bit more, and the process in which we will develop our prototype to which will help us achieve this goal. We realise the reasoning behind why our research activities should be individual as to be the fact that many people should be be approached differently and we aim to get a less biased view of these things, alongside this the elections that Ali told us about play a large role in us needing to keep open questions as we wouldn’t want locals views to be changed due to our influence.

Additional Research

Streets for people ; Heaton and Ouseburn 1

Streets for people : Heaton and Ouseburn 2

After researching further into the Streets for People which is a local research method that has already been collected by the local groups, we found these two links which lead to posters including information on pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. This information showed us that pedestrians held the highest percentage of travel (42%) and cyclists came second with (34%) driving came in with the lowest percentage out of the three options (13%). We also took note that 51% of the people wanted a segregated cycling route, proving to us that this was a slightly more prefered option and our project is more favoured.

 

Week 2- Team 2- Chase Park

A diagram from talking to a couple of the stakeholders.

During seminar two we met with a few key stakeholders of Chase Park. Within this meeting, we got to know Clare Ross from Gateshead Council, as well as Alan Scott and Ken who are involved with Friends of Chase Park. During this session as a group, we found talking to Clare, Alan and Ken most helpful. Clare focuses on communities as well as being involved in Friends of Chase Park. Alan is one of the key founding members of Friends of Chase Park. Ken is also involved with Friends of Chase Park and is their chancellor.

During the session, we mapped out the stakeholders in order of their priority as well as discussing the main issue: creating pride and ownership in the park. Talking to Clare, Alan and Ken we came up with a list of stakeholders and prioritised them in order of influencing ability and how important they were when it came to achieving our team goal. The stakeholders with the highest priority were; Gateshead Council, Friends of Chase Park and Front Street Primary School. Those who classified as medium priority were, Local residents and Kick the Dust. Members of the bowling green were seen as low priority when it came to achieving our team goal.

At this stage in the project, our long-term goal is to provide an app or video prototype which will be aimed at young people to encourage them to use and respect Chase Park. In order to meet these goals as a group, we are going to look round Chase Park with Ken in order to give us a better idea of what we are dealing with. As a group, we will also be attending a Friends of Chase Park meeting in order to explain what our intentions are and if they have any advice or opinions on the matter. Clare and Ken are also preparing for us to go and talk to year 5 students within the local primary school. At this moment in time, it is unclear how we are going to interact with the children around the subject of Chase Park. As a group we are unlikely to interview the children as there is a large number of them. Instead, we are likely to split them into groups and get them to do an activity to produce information which will, in turn, help us to produce our prototype. By setting short term goals of going to see Chase Park, sitting in on a meeting of those involved in the Friends of Chase Park and meeting children from Front Street primary school, the hope is that we can make a prototype specific to the needs of our stakeholders.

Week 2 NUTC

Log week 2

This week we have welcomed Ben and Miki, who has become members to the NUTC. We also met with one of our project partners, Ali Lamb, who is the Engagement officer at Newcastle City Council. She talked a bit about her role and the project proposal for Heaton Road, as well as informed us about where it stands today. We then asked a couple of questions regarding the project and got together to identify the main stakeholders and the long-term goals what we want to achieve through a number of objectives.

The main stakeholders

With the help of Alis intel, we have done a mind map that presents the main stakeholders as well as their opposition towards the project proposal. The colour ‘Red’ represents the group that disagrees with the proposal, ‘Green’ represents the group that agrees with it and ‘Yellow’ represents the group who still remains undecided.

The stakeholders that disagree with the project proposal are:

  • Residents along Heaton Road
  • Services and facilities, such as Heaton medicals and Rugby/Cricket Pitch (University’s Sports ground)
  • The Corner House Pub
  • The People’s Theatre
  • The churches, e.g. St Gabriel, and the mosque

One reason to this has to do with them losing a number of parking spaces they will be facing. The stakeholder that would benefit from this cycle route project, and hence agree are:

  • The primary/secondary schools, who look for safe alternatives for their children to get to school, e.g. St Mary’s catholic school
  • Freeman Hospital
  • The Tax Office HM Revenue & Customs, who has over 10.000 employees
  • Cycling groups
  • Streets for people
  • The elective counselors important stakeholder, who also have the final say on which scheme goes forward, they support this project. Although, they are also heading towards an election so the project will be presented to the public afterwards.

Aims and objectives

Within our last blog we questioned what the actual form of the project would be, the state of the current situation and how connected it will be in the end. These were all answered by Ali and she helped us to understand the objectives of the project more along with the main aims.

Aims:

  • Advertising a cycling route for all and not only the existing minority of cyclists today
  • Convince the resistant stakeholders of the advantages with this project

Objectives to achieve the aims:

  • Site visit
  • Read findings report
  • Find other alternative transportation/parking options
  • Start with the concepts

Next Steps

Based upon the latest lecture we believe our next step is to focus on user research and how it would be more effective towards the outcome of the project if we have a plan for it beforehand. After speaking with Ali Lamb we have concluded that the website common place and the public platform streets for people will be the best way for us to conduct our research and gain a greater understanding of the public’s views on the subject matter.

Another next step we have considered is participating in a site visit to Heaton Road and beginning to survey some of stakeholders within the area, for example the local church, schools and businesses.

Using this diagram we intend to analyse the stakeholders and see their weighting within the project and see how we should act upon their perspectives on the project.

This week helped us to truly understand the main goal of the project and how we will play a role in the final outcome. Besides the research and site visit we now hope to also develop an understanding of what the best approach would be towards our users and how to get the most beneficial outcome from anyone involved in the project.

 

SIA Week 2 Log

This is the second log by SIA for the Wingrove project. This week we met with Nigel Todd who is a local resident and City Councillor, as well as Chair of the Greening Wingrove CIC and Secretary of the WEA Green Branch. The WEA Green Branch undertakes activities such as courses and workshops that can help community groups understand sustainability and work better as a community. With his various roles, Nigel gave us a greater insight into the project and helped us understand what aims and goals the WEA Green Branch has for the task.

This week we made a mind map that discusses all the different stakeholders involved in the project and the various links between them.

Mind map:

 We began by naming the main stakeholders such as families, local residents, community organisations and WEA Green Branch, then branching off from these, connecting in other local groups. We discovered that the WEA Green Branch would have a link with the Greening Wingrove Community Interest Company and also with investors (who provide grants for events and developments). Volunteers and students from Newcastle University were also interlinked within this group as they would help provide support for many of the events done by WEA and Greening Wingrove. Another connection was found between the WEA and schools in the area, as education centres are a central hub for community connection. We felt having schools as one of the key stakeholders would help disburse information more effectively. Lastly, from schools there comes a link with families, the police, businesses and the council, therefore creating a bridge between the different interest groups within the area.

Stakeholder Groups:

Below are the three main stakeholder groups (the council, local residents and community organisations) we have found for the project:

In order for the project to be a success, each group’s wants and needs must be taken into consideration. Therefore communication with the three will be very important when working on the project.

Indicative Project Aims:

After speaking with Nigel, we found that the primary focus of the project was to develop ideas for community uses of the new buildings on Arthurs Hill Terrace. He mentioned existing ideas included a café, offices and potential for a music studio in part of the building. There was also a plan for rooms in the building to hold children’s activities and youth projects. However, the council and community organisations were open to any new/different ideas. Finding ways of enabling neighbours to get to know each other and feel comfortable about interacting is another of the key project aims. From the talk with Nigel it is clear that finding an appropriate use for the building will be a key stepping stone in creating public togetherness and community cohesion in the area.

There was also discussion of creating a digital platform for locals to interact with each other and finding a platform (such as an app, website, etc.) that would be suitable for everyone.

 Next steps:

During the discussion, questions of how we could involve as many people as possible in the project arose, as it is unlikely every user or stakeholder group will agree on the outcome of the renovation idea or digital platform. Nigel himself did hold some reservations towards a larger digital platform, as different groups in the community may exploit it by uploading or sharing inappropriate or negatively opinionated content. At this stage with his hesitance, collecting user research from the local residents would be a natural progression.

Therefore, out initial next steps are to visit the Arthurs Hill Terrace building and the area of Wingrove in general. We are planning on going to the open day at the Arthurs Hill Terrace building on the 16th February where the future use of the building will be discussed. Visiting the area and building will help us collect user research on possible uses of the building and find out which digital platforms locals would be interested in for information distribution and social connections. It will also enable us to get a better insight into the project as a whole, understanding the people and area we are working with.

 

SIA Weekly Log 1

 

Week 1 Log (Wingrove Connected Digital Neighbourhoods):

Social Interactive Agency
Members: Sophia, Tham, Alex and Zhaodong

This is the week 1 blog done by Social Interactive Agency for the Wingrove Connected Digital Neighbourhoods project. Social Interactive Agency consists of Sophia, Tham, Alex and Zhaodong. Our group has a range of different skills and backgrounds, with the group having both urban planning and architecture and planning students. We also all bring different skills to the group such as creative visualisation, planning knowledge, research and analysis and collaboration. We feel as though these different backgrounds and skills will help with the project as we will have different ideas for tackling the issues and this will help produce the best outcome.

The project allows us to connect with a real neighbourhood and enables us to use what we have learnt whilst being at university in practice, such as designing for public engagement, planning to improve community organisation and improve environmental awareness as well as practicing sustainability. Being able to meet with clients and listen to their requirements needed in order to enhance the planning and organisation of the area is another aspect which will be invaluable experience for future client interaction and meeting client briefs.

The Wingrove Connected Digital Neighbourhoods project has the aim of enhancing neighbourly cohesion in order to create new public awareness of new developments happening in their locality and improving environmental and social sustainability locally. By creating a local social platform for users to post on and respond to, the project will not only expand the efficiency of data and information distribution, but also connect their area into an integrated and tight-knit group.

Neighbourhood activity and communication is a vital part of modern social life. Digital civics allows for easier and faster distribution of information, response to issues and a flourishing social hub of interaction.

We believe having Creative ideas is the key to the solution, and with technology we can fulfil the need of client directly. This project requires a lot of responsibility and time. This week we had a conversation relating to social interaction and we came up with an official group name. We want our project to be done professionally and expecting to further our career of this project in the future. We are confidently saying that Digital Civic is an important fraction in planning as now we have step into technological world. Therefore, we will be focusing toward the quality of the outcome by utilise our existing resource such as social platform for the best solution and importantly, it is free of charge. However, we must’ve considered minimising our budget in this project and ensure it is low-risk but high returns as in case this project require an extra money.

Initial questions:
• What are the current major downfalls of how they connect and share developments as a neighbourhood?
• How actively used is the current Facebook page for Sidney Grove and how many people currently use it?
• How would we initially promote our prototype so that locals know it is there?
• What can we do to ensure that only locals have access to the model?
• When would we carry out market research?
• How often do they have interaction with each other?

Week 1 Blog – Team 2 – Chase Park

Hello,

This is the first of our blog’s for our project, ‘Engaging Young People with Video’, with our focus are being Chase Park. We are a team of four, Laura, Kathryn, Louis and James. We believe that the four individual skill sets we possess will allow us to work effectively as a team. We believe that, together, we can produce a successful project and also learn and develop new skills from each other along the journey. Between us, we believe we have strong presentation skills, creativity, great organisation and a useful understanding of the digital world.

We chose the Chase Park project as, the use of video in the planning world is something we all found innovative and wanted to learn more about. Furthermore, the project itself is something, as a younger generation, we feel we are informed on and potentially have an advantage when deciding what does and does not work.

The stakeholders in our project are widespread from Gateshead Council, to the Friends of Chase Park Group to Front Street Primary School. We are excited to meet the stakeholders as we feel they can give us a more informed idea of what is required of us and how we can meet expectations.

The main aims of our project include

– Making the park a more attractive place to visit, central to this we will explore the vandalism problem currently in the park
– Making the park accessible to all age groups, ensuring no group feels they are unwelcome there
– Using video to express our ideas and encourage the surrounding community to make the most of their available green space

The next step in our process is to meet the stakeholders. We are intrigued to find out more about the park itself, the community it serves and the priorities the community have for their park. We believe this next step will leave us in a better position to make our plan of action for the project.

Week 1 Log – NUTC

Hi, this is our week 1 blog for the project “Digital visualisations for transport scheme engagement (focus on Heaton road)”, which is being done our group Newcastle University’s Transportation Committee or NUTC, which consists of 3 of us, Kim, Sofia and Gabriela. We are from different countries and have therefore different ideas of planning and are able to have a wider range of background knowledge from many places, which we think could be an advantage for us in this project as we may be able to benefit from our different lifestyles and come up with a range of solutions that would be beneficial in many different parts of the world. The skills we bring to this project vary between organisation, planning, research, visualisation/ creativity, analysis and communication. We chose this particular project as we found it particularly interesting as we all have taken an interest in transportation and in developing a sustainable infrastructure, hoping to create a more beneficial environment for the locals.

Aims

Our project is based in the location of Heaton Road, its objectives is to create less parking spaces along the roadside in preparation for a bicycle route along the road in which would create a safer environment for pedestrians. As it is the first week of the project our aim is to get a better understanding of the clients expectations and be able to identify ourselves as fellow cyclists and understand more the routes needed to link residential areas to more public areas, such as shops or schools. We also believe we need to focus on accessibility, safety, an appealable route and an incentive for people to want to take the route.

To prepare for our client we think we should take a more questionable approach upon the first meeting, to learn more about the project from them to help us gain a greater understanding of the locals and what they would want out of it. After this we believe it would be easier to bring propositions to the client of different approaches we come up with and imagine could be a suitable plan.

Questions for the Clients

  • The sort of questions we currently have are more uncertainties of their preference of formatting of our propositions.

  • Any specifics that should be included within our proposition

  • The current situation for cyclists and pedestrians in the area

  • How connected will the bicycle lane be once incorporated into the road

  • What is the main outcome of the scheme and what is the most important objective predicted

10) TRECC- Results of user testing

This week we tested our prototype app with everyone we originally interviewed, with regards to what they would like from our final product, in order to find out what they thought of it, both good and bad. As last week’s blog explains, we had a script of questions prepared and also an example poster and an A3 sheet of screenshots from the prototype (for if the user wanted to make any comments about a particular screen). Here are the questions we used in all three user testing session:

  1. Does the prototype do what it is supposed to do?
  2. Do you think the product’s design matches its purpose?
  3. Does anything distract you or get in the way?
  4. Does the navigation path work? (Can users find what they are looking for?)
  5. Do you think this fits the target market?
  6. Is anything confusing or unclear?
  7. How likely or unlikely would you be to recommend the finished product to a friend or colleague?
  8. How would you describe this product using your own words?
  9. Does this app solve the problem?
  10. What, if anything, would you change?

 

The first prototype demo session was with Nigel Brown, who works in the planning department at Newcastle City Council, and myself and Cindy were in attendance. Nigel represents a planning consultant, that developers would visit in the pre-application stage of the development, and who would advise the developers exactly on how successful their statement of community consultation was. Cindy opened the prototype on her phone, through the Marvel app, so we could demonstrate exactly how we intend the app to be used (rather than on a computer, which we had been designing it on). We then asked the questions from the script, which we think incorporates questions on how exactly Nigel used the app (timings, gestures, etc.), between us and I made notes of Nigel’s answers, which were as follows:

 

 

  • Does the prototype do what it is supposed to do?

 

Yes, it definitely fills the gap.

 

  • Do you think the product’s design matches its purpose?

 

Yes, it is simple and easy to navigate.

 

  • Does anything distract you or get in the way?

 

No

 

  • Does the navigation path work? (Can users find what they are looking for?)

 

Yes, I found things very easily

Very self-explanatory

 

  • Do you think this fits the target market?

 

Yes, most people will be able to use it because it is simple and well designed, but I suspect it will be mainly younger people using it, which would match the target market of ‘young professionals’.

 

  • Is anything confusing or unclear?

 

No

 

  • How likely or unlikely would you be to recommend the finished product to a friend or colleague?

 

Very likely, I think most people could use it.

 

  • How would you describe this product using your own words?

 

What I was looking for.

 

  • Does this app solve the problem?

 

Yes I believe it would, however I would include a questionnaire to determine the demographics of people using the app, and then the developer could use these to show they are being inclusive.

 

  • What, if anything, would you change?

 

    • Make sure the developer and council can see who has commented- no anonymity .
    • Include a structured questionnaire AND the ability the comment (rather than one or the other)
    • Look into ‘geofencing’
    • Terms and conditions
    • Third party filtering
    • Perhaps a page explaining limitations (what exactly is the app for?) or a help page (but not a step-by-step tutorial)
    • Add a link to the council portal
    • Need a cut off point for how long people can comment for
    • Perhaps produce an automated report of the statistics from questionnaire, ratings, likes and dislikes, for the developer
    • Developer should be able to add ‘overall’ comments
    • Perhaps get developer to put link or QR code on their website to the app- would benefit us both

 

Next was the meeting with Peter Cockbain who works in the ‘Fairer Housing Unit’ at Newcastle City Council, working on turning council-owned land to delivered housing. He works closely with developers when it comes to planning and public engagement, so for us, he has been representing a developers point of view. Ellie and Rory met with Peter and these were their findings:

 

  • Does the prototype does what it’s supposed to do?

 

 Yeah, if I was a resident it seems simple to sign in and find information about developments

 

  • Do you think the design matches the purpose?

 

The colour scheme gives it a nice style. I would make the icons clearer with words telling you what they do.

 

  • Does anything distract you or get in the way?

 

No, not really

 

  • Does the navigation path work?

 

 Although I don’t really use apps on my phone it’s fairly easy to get through. I would use it on my iPad. 

 

  • Does it fit the target market? 

It seems it will serve the purpose for residents well. Maybe bigger fonts for older people with worse eyesight.

 

  • Is anything confusing or unclear?

 

No, not that i can tell

 

  • Would you recommend it?

 

 Again, don’t really use apps on my phone, I wish we all went back to old phones really. But if I did use my phone I would recommend it.  

 

  • How would you describe the product?

 

An easy to use app that allows for the community to get access to information on developments near them

 

  • Does the app solve the problem?

 

It does to a certain extent. People use the website ‘sky scrapper city’ for pictures and comments on developments. Architects and planners like myself spend hours sifting through the comments on the progress of developments  

 

  • What, if anything, would you change? 

 

Maybe somewhere where users can upload pictures of the progress developments near them so people can be aware of developments that people aren’t aware of.

 

Finally, was the meeting with Sheila Spencer  who has worked with Ouseburn Valley Trust, as a trustee, for over 20 years, so is involved with community participation in the planning of projects in the area. Cindy and Thomas met with Sheila; these were her responses:

 

  • Does the prototype does what it’s supposed to do?

 

 Yeah it is clear. The app will help community involvement.

 

  • Do you think the design matches the purpose?

 

The design is excellent. Clear and simple

 

  • Does anything distract you or get in the way?

 

No not all

 

  • Does the navigation path work?

 

Yes mostly. Getting to comment section wasn’t too easy. Maybe there could be somewhere to view and save your own comments. Or even type without uploading. Are the comments moderated? We don’t want abuse.

Can you sort comments by rating or amount of reply’s?

Will the developer reply to each comment?  

 

  • Does it fit the target market?

 

It will serve the purpose for residents. Bigger fonts for the elderly with worse eyesight is something I would change.  And the icons at the bottom should be rearranged with the home button moved to the middle.  

Also in the development page the bottom icons should be rearranged with overview being in the first thing on the left, description in the centre and comments being the last thing on the right.

 What about people who work in the area but aren’t a resident? Or even architects? Can they use the app?  Would they have  a different account?

 

  • Is anything confusing or unclear?

 

 The comment section and the personal profile might need tweaking. I don’t see the point in the scoring. I don’t think people are bothered by their score

 

  • Would you recommend it?

 

I would absolutely recommend it. I think it is a great idea. When will we be able to use it? 

 

  • How would you describe the product?

 

 

  • Does the app solve the problem?

 

I don’t think it will replace community meetings yet. Although the planning portal is hard to use, it is also used a lot by members of the community. However, I think it is a great alternative, and maybe it will replace the comment section of the planning portal. And I can see it being used heavily by residents. Especially those who can’t make the meetings

 

  • What, if anything, would you change? 

 

The fonts might need tweaking. Bigger icons.

A few icons could be rearranged

Change the sign in page to Developers and Community. It will allow other members of the community to use the app. In the your profile you should then specify if you are a resident etc..

Add links to documents in the planning portal so members or users can access the full planning application documents.

 

Positive or Negative Reception?

Overall,  the response from the user testing was definitely positive, with all three users saying they would recommend the app.

All three users also said they liked the design and style of the app, and the only negative comments we got, for things to change, were small changes with regards to font size and icon arrangement.

With regards to other changes to be made, Nigel recommended some fantastic additions, rather than changes, which we would definitely look at adding in; especially the ‘geofencing’ and ‘help page’. Both Nigel and Sheila recommended links to the council planning portal, which again is something we could easily incorporate; our overall goal was to create an app to work alongside the current process, not replace it.

Some comments we would need to discuss as a group, and perhaps decide if it was the direction we would want to go in. For example, Sheila’s suggestion of allowing non-residents to use the app may be useful in some ways, but our brief currently only focuses on ‘Large Housing Schemes’, so at first it would probably be best to just keep the app running for residents and developers.  Sheila also noted that she didn’t see the point of the ‘scoring’ system on our app, which as a group is another point we need to discuss and probably do further reading on, to see if we can enhance it, or just get rid of it.

Peter’s suggestion of having somewhere users can upload photos of developments to make other users aware of new ones is also something we could look into in the future, and perhaps run it alongside Nigel’s suggestion of location tracking to alert you of new developments (which I did some research into and have found out it is commonly known as ‘geofencing’).

All three of the users found the app easy to navigate around, with only Sheila taking slightly longer to find the comment section. With more user testing, we would have been able to find out if this was a problem for more people. But overall they used the prototype as we had intended.

 

Reaching our Goals

Our long term goals were:

  • To improve interaction between all 3 stakeholders
  • To improve communication in order to make to community consultation process more effective
  • Reach the harder to reach members of the community
  • To improve visibility in order to make the process and information more transparent, accessible and approachable

I thinking, judging by the positive comments made by all three users, we have reached the goals we set out to achieve. We are definietly bridging the gap between developers and residents, as well as involving the council, so communication will be improved, using this digital platform. It is aimed at harder to reach members of the community, specifically young professionals, but I think the app (with some font size tweaking) could be used to reach out to all members of the community. Hopefully, the app would also improve transparency of the planning process, given all three stakeholders interact with each other as the app requires.

 

What would we do differently?

I think the overall process of our user testing worked very effectively and we received all the answers we were looking for, however I think for the testing to be more legitimate, and had we more time, testing with more than three users would have been very useful. It would have given us a more representative opinion of the app, and could have been tested across age ranges to see just how easy it was for all members of the community to use.

Week 9 – Usability Testing

We have been creating our prototype over the last couple of weeks and are now almost at the stage for it to be tested by our client. We have developed our prototype using the online software Marvel. It was fairly easy to use but proved a little more difficult when it came to linking the pages of the prototype together, as some of the questions we have decided to use have a number of different answer options, each of which needed their own individual page.

We also have prepared a list of questions to ask the client during the user testing. These will include what they liked/disliked about the prototype; if they found it easy to navigate and use; if there was anything that they would change etc. We realise now that when we undertake the user testing with the clients, the prototype doesn’t have to be a fully functioning product at this stage of the development process. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether they like everything about it because it’s not a finished product yet therefore again it will be useful to gather feedback to improve our prototype.

When it comes to the meeting whereby the client will test the prototype, we need to make sure they receive a friendly welcome to ensure we build a rapport with the users, especially in our case, as not all the team have met the clients before. We need to ensure that we create a friendly environment as the clients we are working with include children of secondary school age, therefore it’s very important that we make them feel relaxed and at ease to be able to be honest and critical of the prototype. This will make it easier to gain feedback and make improvements that they feel will be beneficial to the prototype.

During the user testing we needed to decide what aspects of the website we would test. We’ve decided to only test the game element within our website. We have chosen to do this because it’s the main part of our product and testing all elements would have been unrealistic as we wouldn’t have had enough time to prototype them all. Therefore the blog, events and newsfeed elements of  the website will just be explained to the clients before we begin the user testing with them. We will discuss these other elements with them to make sure that they understand what we envision to include within these other aspects of the website. This includes uploading their own events for the community on the ‘Events’ section of the website.

The user testing will allow us to see how the client uses the prototype and to collect useful feedback about what works and what doesn’t in their opinion. It will also give us the opportunity to collect any ideas the client may have of what we could improve at this stage of development. This in turn will enable us to make alterations to the prototype before we present out final version of it to the client in a few weeks’ time.