UYC Update #7

This week’s “Fail Hard” workshop in class addressed many of our concerns and questions regarding our collaborative project with UYC. As  none of the members of our group can code, building an app for UYC would have required extensive help from Neo or other programmers. Additionally, there are several platforms, including Vojo, that already perform many of the functions that UYC requires (sharing stories, text and video, as well as geo-mapping).
Our updated project is then to work on the front end for the Vojo page, and we will be meeting with Maria and Yorman to discuss how they would like to have that designed (e.g. an independent website/blog or as an additional page on the UYC website). We would like to test the efficacy of this platform with student users as soon as possible, so that we can get any issues with contributing to/using the site sorted out before the end of the semester.
This weekend we looked over Vojo and familiarized ourselves with the tools on the website. For our second iteration we have created a sample website that features the functions of the app we initially planned, most importantly the story uploading, pictures, text and heat-mapping. We have added several stories via email, text, and the blog function on Vojo, taking examples from UYC’s website and creating example “profiles” to show how telling stories will look like on this platform.
During this week’s meeting with UYC, we will take them through this alternative, and answer their questions about Vojo’s functionality, as well as get their feedback on refining the page further.
This week was incredibly helpful, since we will be able to use Vojo to achieve most of our initial goals with the app. We will be speaking with NEO this evening, and get their feedback on some of our questions on developing the website, including the possibility of a ‘skin’ for mobile that allows users easy access to the site, and/or suggestions for optimizing the web page/site.

UYC: Project Update 4

On Tuesday, March 11, we had a Google hangout with Yorman and Maria. We settled on Thursday at 4pm as our weekly check-in time.  We discussed the exercise on shared values and user stories, as well as a preliminary conversation about the User Agreement. Yorman and Maria talked more in depth about their needs for the project. In terms of users, they are most keen to reach policy-makers and the press. They hope that the information gathered will serve as a useful body of evidence backing UYC’s policy recommendations.
We will also have a video chat with student representatives on Tuesday, March 18, at 5pm, and will be facilitating a workshop on brainstorming potential design candidates. Before the meeting, we’ll be ‘meeting’ with Bex, who will give us some pointers and guides for facilitating.
We checked in with Yorman briefly on Friday about the User Agreement and the meeting with student reps on Tuesday. We discussed the collection and analysis of data at a granular level (e.g. how long students were waiting in line, etc). He also gave us more information about expected outcomes of the project (he has updated the User Agreement accordingly), and how students deal with having their phones taken away for the day (keeping them at a bodega or truck for a dollar a day). We discussed the design candidates, and the potential for a trusted information station as specific schools.
We also sat in on a CURE project meeting last Monday night, which gave us some ideas about getting help from community members (e.g. Terry Marshall from IntelligentMischief). It was also very helpful to learn more about their meeting facilitation and design processes.