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Co-designing with children and young people

Co-designing with children and young people

When it comes to designing a website for others it feels far quicker and easier to just get on with it yourself but there are a couple of downsides to that.

1. Often not quicker.

2. Often not easier.

I know it seems like it should be but  chances are it won’t feel that way anymore once the endless amends come rolling in.

The alternative? To involve the intended user in the design process. That way you know exactly what they want and what they need. What you create will be a lot closer to that than if you attempt things without their input. You’ll save yourself time and money in the long run.

We here at focus have created multiple websites for young people and the best results always come from working directly with them. Listening to what they have to say, understanding what they want and how we can give them just that to enhance their online experience.

Hosting a workshop is a great way to find this out. If you aren't used to working directly with young people, here are a few tips. They may not be your typical google answers but they are tried and tested methods that work for me so I hope they can help you too.

After a brief overview of why you’re all there, what you want to achieve and how it will benefit those who have attended (essentially the end user) that’s when you want to get them talking. What they have to say is invaluable so make sure they feel comfortable enough to share it with you. A relaxed atmosphere makes all the difference. There are subtle ways to create this:

1. You may need to stand initially to get their attention and make them aware of where their focus should be but don’t stay that way, it screams classroom. Sit with the young people to listen to their opinions, preferably avoiding forming a ‘head’ of the table. King Arthur had the right idea with his round table!

2. Dress smart but casual so you appear professional but not overly authoritative. When people feel comfortable, they are more likely to be forthcoming with ideas. Please don't try to dress like them if that's not you, do I need to explain why?

3. Go in with a plan but make sure it’s one you’re willing to ditch should it appear to not be working. It’s an idea to have a few back up topics or activities should that be the case. There are a lot of different attention spans to cater for.

4. Remember teenagers are just as socially aware and intelligent as adults, don’t confuse naivety with a lack of intelligence.

5. Remember how things felt when you were that age; will people think my ideas are silly? how much longer do I have to be here? I don’t want to talk in front of everyone… and so on. Consider ways to approach these insecurities.

6. Many teenagers are still trying to find their own identity so they take things they associate with themselves quite seriously. They can be easily influenced so may give the opinion they think will impress others and not what will please them. Perhaps some things could go to a vote such as colours and fonts and this could be done anonymously, throwing their answers in a box.

7. When working with young people there’s a tendency to attempt to be ‘cool’ but as long as it’s a well-thought out, hands-on, and active workshop you can do without the slang and graffiti graphics.

Co-design means service users (in this case, young people) and designers working together to create something that takes into account the different views, needs and wants of the community. The best way to create services for young people, is in collaboration with them. Put the user at the heart of the design process and you’ll create effective and innovative solutions.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Friday November 24 2017 04:00 PM


Tags: co-design children youngpeople workshop


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It's play time!

It's play time!

The BIG launch! The new-look "Go Places to Play" is here - an online park finder that makes it easy for you and your family to enjoy fun and exciting play opportunities in and around Bristol.

We've recently redesigned goplacestoplay.org.uk for Bristol City Council so that it not only looks better than before but it works better. "Go Places to Play" is now even more intelligent so that you can find parks and play areas far more quickly and efficiently. We understand that you live busy lives and need information at your fingertips - wherever you may be. The site is now responsive so it is easy to use on smartphones, tablets and laptops. This means you can quickly  find your nearest park when you're out and about. You can click on map points to get further information about the park or site you are interested in, or you can use the postcode search to bring up sites in your area.

The online calendar means you can search for local events that suit your requirements and interests. You'll be provided with results if you search using a relevant keyword, or you can find something more specific using the handy advanced search which allows you to search by event type, location and distance from your chosen postcode.

There are also some great ideas for play featuring tips and suggestions from our Play friends and partners - a particularly good resource for the school holidays. Plus, our brand new FAQs section answers many of the common questions we get asked.

As before the option is there to register as an event organiser which means you can upload your own events to feature on the events calendar. Once approved you will see them published.

People like to feel as though they are a part of a website and the 'community' that use it. Interaction is key so if you find something you like on Go Places to Play you can "Share with a friend". Regular news updates also ensure that everybody is on top of all that's going on. It's a site that seems to have people talking, if you want to be a part of the excitement please like the Go Places to Play Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/goplacestoplaybristol or better still, go and check out the site to see for yourself!




Sneak preview just for you!

Sneak preview just for you!

We can't contain our excitement, we simply have to share with you what's bubbling away in the studio!

Improvements are being made to our current online park finder "Go Places To Play" - a website that forms a part of Bristol City Council's campaign to encourage children to play outdoors.

We don't want to give the game away but here are a few snippets of what to expect.

Mobile friendly - We've added more functionality that is based on your current location i.e. your closest park is. It is also a mobile first build; usually mobile sites are designed as a result of a desktop design that is scaled down. Not this site. We've started with the mobile design and scaled up! The build is responsive; meaning you get an optimised view on desktop, tablet and mobile.

User friendly - Much easier to navigate the site. You're guided through it and it is clear to see all it can do and how it can benefit you.

Age appeal - Adults often view the site with their children in mind. The site is much less childlike and now appeals to a wider age range so that it is great for parents to navigate, but still has a family, child-related feel.

Search to suit you - We want people to be able to find personalised information based on where they are and what they like to do rather than just general information.

We've put some serious effort in to not only making the site look good but in making it a useful tool that you feel you can go to and rely on. It's not yet a finished product but we can't wait until it is and you'll be the first to know about it!

If you would like to see the online park finder as it is now, please go to http://goplacestoplay.org.uk/




Findability Bristol goes Mobile!

Findability Bristol goes Mobile!

Another go-live during our busy Summer was the dedicated Mobile site for Findability Bristol, an online directory for disabled children and their families.

Since the main site went live back in March 2012, we're been monitoring the Analytics, and seen a month-on-month increase in visits from Mobile devices. The figures spoke for themselves - a 481% increase in Mobile visitors in May this year compared to May 2012 - and it was only increasing. This, along with a need by the Family Information Services team at Bristol City Council to make information available and accessible to as many families as they can, made the case for developing a dedicated Mobile site a compelling one.

Key figures:

  • The number of visits made using a mobile device had almost tripled compared to the first 6 months of launch.
  • A 21% drop in pages-per-visit suggests people have grown to expect websites to be mobile compatible - and are losing patience with those that aren't.
  • The average visit duration when accessing via a mobile device had dropped to less than a minute.
  • Almost a 10% increase in new visits being made using a mobile device.
  • 14.36% rise in bounce rate suggests users are getting increasingly deterred as soon as they see the site is incompatible with mobile.

So, we set about developing an easy-to-use site that kept the fundamental features of the desktop version, plus a couple of extras to make full use of the mobile environment - for example, smart phone users who have geolocation enabled, this plots your location and the nearest organisations to you from your search!

Key features:

  • The mobile home page features clear navigation to key area, plus keyword and location search of organisations and events.
  • Search results are displayed along with a Google Map - this links through to view full Google Map and associated functionality - including "show me directions from my current location".
  • The events calendar provides users with a menu offering 'view events for current week' - organised by today, tomorrow, remaining days of that week.
  • Clicking a specific event takes the user through to an individual page for that event, including a Google Map.
  • It's also easy to make contact, provide feedback, and visit the related Facebook (mobile) page.

It's only been a couple of weeks since go live, so we'll be keen to view the analytics in due course and report back on the difference having the dedicated Mobile site has made. We hope this will be more returning visitors, who spend the right amount of time on the right pages, finding what they need quickly and easily.

We'll report back later in the year!

Visit the Desktop site, or the Mobile site (using your mobile for the best experience!)

If you'd like to know more about dedicated Mobile sites, please get in touch.

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Tuesday August 06 2013 12:07 PM


Tags: accessibility bristol young-people online-tool iphone disability children mobilewebsite


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Who's Hungry for Reading?

Who's Hungry for Reading?

We're very excited to have launched a charity microsite for MS Ireland and it's been seriously good fun! The site is vibrant and energetic which perfectly reflects the excitement of MS Ireland's upcoming READaTHON.

The month long event kicks off on October 12th 2012 and is their biggest fundraising event. It was 25 years ago that the late, great Roald Dahl launched the first campaign. Ever since then the MS READaTHON has been encouraging young people to read while raising much needed funds for services to those living with Multiple Sclerosis in Ireland. The concept is straightforward; Children are sponsored by family and friends to read as many books as they can in one month, it's simple but extremely effective.

With the design theme focusing on monsters that eat books we've gone back to our childhoods here at Focus and let our imaginations run wild! We threw in scratches, claws and bite marks, adding character and a sense of chaos. We have also emphasized the fun factor and encouraged interaction by embedding videos and games.

The site, just like the event, appeals not only to kids and teenagers but adults too. So, why not enjoy yourself and do a great thing for charity by getting involved? You’ll be glad you did!




Change Tracker - New Website

Change Tracker - New Website

Change Tracker is a new web tool that we’ve launched this week with South Gloucestershire Council . The Change Tracker tool has been developed to help parents, professionals, children and young people assess how support plans are meeting their needs.  

Change Tracker has been developed as a tool for practitioners to use within their own settings and services in South Gloucestershire. It aims to support planning to improve outcomes for children and young people, and also to measure the progress that each plan achieves. 

It is hoped that children, young people and their families will be involved in using Change Tracker as a means of engaging them in being a part of every support plan, and also to support them in objectively defining their own needs and desired outcomes. The tool has been designed to be used by a range of partners in a variety of settings and this website is just one representation of the information.

The functionality that we’ve developed for this site includes providing users with the ability to ‘browse’ the main question headings or use a ‘search’ function to create an assessment, with the added ability to re-order questions through a simple drag and drop facility. During an assessment if there are any responses given that may cause concern, a non-intrusive message appears with links to additional pages for where to get help. 

The design of the website needed to be a clean, fresh and modern design that reflects professionalism and is also engaging for any young people using the tool. The final design is based around providing positive change and we think the cartoon sunrise captures this perfectly. 

It's been a pleasure to be involved in such a worthwhile and fulfilling project, you can check out the site HERE!

Created on Wednesday March 28 2012 08:18 AM


Tags: website web-development changetracker onlinetool children youngpeople supportplans


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