Since our last post, we’ve made a lot of progress in a number of areas, including identifying what we do and don’t know, figuring out what still needs to be tested, and ruling out some potential product ideas. We went through all of our notes, including intensively reviewing the feedback from customers, cleaners, and coordinators, to really drill down on what would be the most helpful and productive tool for Vida Verde right now. Our findings can be found in our presentation.
One avenue we were previously pursuing was a potential partnership with New York-based Si Se Puede!, a women’s housecleaning cooperative, which currently has grant funding to build out an app to streamline and manage the administrative needs of cooperatives. Obviously, there are a number of synergies between this initiative and the goals of our project, so we were hoping to either gain access to their code or to the app itself for testing purposes. Unfortunately, we had to abandon this route after it became clear that they were not on a timeline that would match up with the schedule of this class, so we returned to the drawing board.
Throughout the process, we’ve been hearing a great deal from all sides about the challenges of scheduling and general client interaction given the lack of staff capacity. Accordingly, we have been entertaining the idea of focusing our product around coordination for several weeks now. This week we zeroed in on three concrete ways this could potentially manifest. The three products we designed prototypes for are: 1. instant quote widget: allows people to get an instant online quote without having to go through the coordinator first; 2. cleaner/client communication and translation interface: texting interface that allows clients and cleaners to easily translate their messages between English and Portuguese without the extra step of copying and pasting into/from Google Translate; and 3. Google Calendar app for managing schedules: Google-based platform to allow cleaners and coordinators to transition from the current physical spreadsheet-based system to a digital version for increased convenience.
In terms of next steps, we’re looking forward to getting feedback in class on these prototypes, and also to testing them with the cleaners and coordinators at Vida Verde. We may decide that all of these are necessary components of an integrated coordination product, or we may end up only focusing on one of the three. Either way, we’re excited about these options and the potential they have to help Vida Verde streamline their operations and free up staff capacity for other critical tasks.