In the financial year of 2018/19, the Trussell Trust provided just under 1.6 million three-day emergency food supplies to food insecure households and individuals. In five years that number has gone up by more than 73%. Demand and strain on the Trust and similar organisations is growing. Five fellow students and I worked with them to make the amazing work they’re doing go further.
Ideation, research & interviews
We started by gathering information about the organisations around Bristol that are trying to reduce food insecurity. We wanted to know how exactly they were tackling the problem; what kind of person volunteers and what kind of person requires support. With this rough outline, we prepared an interview script and organised meetings with as many charities and food banks as we could. The ultimate aim of this first round of interviews was to identify a promising design opening. We tried to limit how long we spent with each organisation as we were very aware of how precious their time was. However we felt it was important to let every interviewee direct elements of the conversation, so they could highlight what they thought were key issues. In the end, they’re the experts.
In an interview with Naomi from Refresh, a small food bank in Bedminster, she mentioned that their stocks of supplies often ran out. This contradicted what we were being told by the food banks in wealthier areas of Bristol. This imbalance and lack of communication between food banks was a key insight and the design opening we were looking for.
Inital discussion before setting our focus on food banks. Whiteboard in dark mode.
Prototyping & iterating
With our first round of interviews complete and a design opening identified, the team defined our concept. The service would streamline communication between food banks, allowing centres in need to submit requests for supplies in under a minute. Food banks with a surplus could fulfil these requests with ease. As we fleshed out this concept, limiting the audience to which requests are shown to only other food banks, became an arbitrary constraint. So we shifted the service’s focus from requesting supplies, to offering them — the catch being that in reality anyone making an offer was simply searching local requests.
Discussions underway. Even with a clear design opening, there was still a broad scope that had to be refined.
I used Figma to digitise our sketches, and create a testable prototype. We wanted to test the broad concept behind the app and see if participants could navigate it with ease.
I wanted to minimise the chances that a participant gets confused by the intricacies of the app's UI during a test. So I used Google's Material design language, an interface language that the majority of smartphone users would be familiar with.
This project was conducted on a compressed timescale, however we did have time to run testing workshops, the results from which were integrated into the concept. We received positive feedback, with users pleased with the simplicity of the service and the small amount of time required to post a request. Currently they use other social media sites to post requests, which can produce some success. They didn’t want to abandon the communities they had built there and we discussed how our service could integrate with other social media sites. Having considered this feedback, the team discussed a potential set of open protocols and APIs that our service could be built upon. This would allow other similar services or broader social networks to index requests made by users of the service.
The delivered design
I created a new version of the prototype, integrating the feedback from our testing. Now featuring a visual and brand identity, Givr sports bold colours and a playful font, inviting those who have never donated to give the app a try.
Tap to try the demo
The delivered design
I created a new version of the prototype, integrating the feedback from our testing. Now featuring a visual and brand identity, Givr sports bold colours and a playful font, inviting those who have never donated, to give the app a try.
View this page on a larger device to try the app.