Ishango

The Client

Peace Child International (PCI) works with disadvantaged young people helping them to achieve their full potential. They do this by empowering them to develop effective and sustainable solutions to secure work or grow a business of their own.

The programme Ishango was created to build an app which utilised image-based training (proven to increase understanding) to build business skills for women with limited literacy skills in Liberia and Sierra Leone to manage their stock and business finances.

They already has a first prototype developed however they needed another solution that was easier to understand.

Over the course of 11 months, I worked directly with the Director of Operations and the Programme Manager to consult on the design and develop a small prototype app.

The Process

  • Initial design
  • Conversation
  • Build -Test
  • Feedback
  • Build – Test

During the regular project contacts (either via email, in-person or Skype), Junction 5 provided advice to the design and development suggestions throughout the process.

The Challenges

The initial prototype wasn’t suitable because it was too complex. The users may not be able to read the text based instructions or recognise the icons chosen. PCI had an initial design of a visual input system which they wanted implemented as an app to use on the devices more common in Liberia.

During this phase, I was tasked to develop this design into a working first version to help them test their initial idea.

  • Two possible functions would be developed to test which would be best for the audience
  • The design had to be for low spec Android devices using Android 6.0
  • The users had low literacy levels so UX and UI design was highly important
  • I was working within a short timescale

The Solution

A small app clearly and simply designed for its users was made with both prototypes in the one app. The tester could switch between the prototypes to conduct different tests easily.

Although a simple design, the app integrates Firebase Analytics to track the user’s button presses to capture data for the client’s trial. This way the client would have an additional method to gather information as well as digital and visual records.

We also used Text to Speech and use of recognisable images makes it easier for the audience to understand its use.

The simplicity and portability of this solution allows PCI to test with their users quickly. Updates can be very frequent due to being on Android, and due to the project being built using Xamarin the size of the app would also be closer to that of a native app. This will help keep performance optimal and take up the least amount of space on the devices.

Recommendation

“Working with Junction 5 over the course of this project has been a great.

Kayleigh’s very professional and developed an excellent first prototype which delivered the requirements that we were hoping to achieve.

Her suggestion for adding custom analytics will also enable us to gain further insight into future development work and our users activities.

She has been very supportive as a development partner willing to adjust features so that the end prototype is of a high quality and valuable. We were impressed by her hard work and effort all the way through the project but especially towards the end when she put in long hours wrapping it up.”

Fred Fenwick, Programme Manager, Peace Child International