UYC Update 10 & Iteration 3

Our main user story has changed over the course of the semester; right now, we are focusing on creating a  flexible and easy-to-use platform to conduct surveys, and efficiently organize that information. As such, this week we’ve been experimenting with different types of SMS survey tools, and created a matrix that maps what each is capable of, which has been shared with UYC.
  • Twilio: We’ve been getting help from Jaime from NEO on working with the code, that also draws from the code for Sean’s twilio app. It’s not very flexible, and one concern is that if UYC wants to make any changes, they won’t be able to do so.
  • FrontlineSMS: We were able to use it successfully, but it doesn’t have some of the options that we need.
  • SurveyGizmo: Survey gizmo is highly customizable for surveys, and also can send through email. Twilio integration will only allow sending the survey link through text (which using email only then, is preferred and more useful)
  • mSurvey: Suggested to us by Aditi, and we have gotten in touch with the rep.
  • SMS track: This looks like the one that is the most customizable.
We are hoping to move forward with SMS Track, but one issue is that we are still waiting to hear back from UYC re: a number of questions – specifically the kinds of questions UYC wants to be asked on the survey, the number of potential/estimated respondents, and when we might run a test workshop with the UYC students (however, since the idea of a student workshop has been pending for two weeks, we may have to abandon this initiative). UYC  is currently involved in working through a big charter fight in NYC, and are running four campaigns that have all moved over the past week. As such, we may have to move forward with a series of hypothetical questions, and an estimate of respondent numbers.
Our third iteration will be designing the demo SMS-track platform. We have a demo account that allows 3 survey projects and 100 messages to be sent. So, if UYC does not get back to us in time for us to go ahead and implement a fully purchased survey plan, our project will showcase the capabilities of this messaging system as a prototype and demo this at our final project discotech (with the class as “students”).
It has been an interesting process for us working with the numerous iterations, as the initial request was to create an app and we have been trying to work with existing alternative options. As SMS surveying was one of our first design candidates, we now return back to this candidate after having investigated and worked through the feasibility and longevity of both the app idea and also website based platforms. Not many students have smartphones, specifically iphones. The purpose of an app was to collect stories through pictures and text submissions, along with providing information about “know your rights”. However, considering app usage today and the youth population, over 90% of downloaded apps get opened only once. A UYC app may not guarantee longevity of use (challenges with updating, messaging, keeping students engaged with the app), and students may not want an app that provides static information. In addition, picture submissions may not be the most useful since students cannot have phones in school and also the chance of taking a picture in school of a police encounter is unlikely. Regarding Vojo, the worry on UYC’s end was having to manually sort through all the submissions and also the appeal of a web based platform. We also figured that providing a platform for free submissions may not guarantee the most coherent or high quality (legally usable) text. Therefore, after discussing Vojo with UYC, we decided to go back to the texting idea and figured that if surveys can direct students in a more specific route in their answers and also provide response choices (free response when necessary), it would allow a more targeted “data” collection. In addition, the survey can run for an extended period of time and provide periodic texts and also reminders if they forget to respond. The SMS survey would be customizable for questions and also the data can be directly organized from the backend platform. Ultimately we believe the SMS survey will work well with the goals of UYC to collect data from students, but we just need to hear back from them regarding what type of questions they want to ask and also their inputs on designing this platform.

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