Represent Rochester is a theoretical UI/UX and service design system for improvished individuals and families in the city of Rochester, struggling to connect with support services and become self sufficient.
Rochester, NY has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation which does not account for the struggling families and inidividuals that are just above the federal poverty line. Althought there is a system of federal, state and local support services, the linkage process is often confusing and overwhelming for those that need it the most.
1. Help impoverished users become self-sufficient.
2. Identify the barriers and opportunities in the social service process.
3. Develop an accessible design system or service for Rochester citizens.
Federal assistance programs are necessary for individuals or households to survive but it could be cut off even when there is still a need. It is easy to fall back below the poverty line after losing assistance which deters people from self-sufficient
I conducted interviews with non-profit social services workers and individuals suffering from poverty. I found that the library was considered a huge resource for finding aid, services and jobs. Non-profits concentrate outreach efforts to places where their users would be at ie. libraries, shelters and recreation centers.
211 Lifeline is a web and phone service that provides social service information and referrals in the New York State Fingerlakes region, including Rochester. The service search database is not user-friendly and only has two search filters available which may lead users to go through several searches before finding an eligible program.
According to statistics, Rochester's most vulnerable communities are female-headed families of African-American descent.
Surprisely, around 65 - 70% of low-income citizens, earning under $25K, has access to some sort of technology i.e. internet, cellphone, smartphone and a computer.
A streamlined social service search and progress tracking web application would be widely accessible to citizens in poverty, either through a home or library computer.
01 | Sign Up
Sara hears about Represent Rochester from a classmate. She goes to her community college's computer lab after her night classes to go on the website. Sara learns about the app and registers for an account.
03 | Update
Sara recently got a better paying job. Sara is unsure what assistance programs are still eligible to her and if she'll need to apply for others. She logs into the Represent Rochester app to update her information and see the changes.
02 | Search
Sara is short on money this month because of a fender bender on her way home from work. She cannot afford groceries at the store and needs to find a pantry service near her son's kindergarten.
I drew style inspiration from minimal, clean and colorful designs. The app’s functionality will be enhanced through the inclusion of several accent colors.
Represent Rochester is a service focused on connecting low-income users to local Rochester services through a web application accessible from any desktop computer. It helps users track their progress towards self sufficiency and streamlines the resource search process.
The status bar shows a short supportive message based off the user’s progress along with upcoming deadlines and tasks that need to be done. The status and shown tasks are constantly changing based off the user’s progress.
The notification bar shows any new items or messages from the user’s services or assistance programs.
The list view shows the user the future and completed tasks from all involved services.
The full view shows widgets of the user’s profiles, services and tasks. When one of them is clicked, it will expand to show the whole section.
The search bar slides out from the right side when a search entry is being typed in. Through a regular search, results can be filtered through tags, service categories or by zipcode location. In the advanced search, additional filters appear to narrow down results through the user's eligibility or a dependent's eligibility.
An emergency service option window appears at the top of every search results page in order to expedite the process in the case of immediate need, whether or not the emergency tag has been selected.
On the onboarding page, more application specific information is shown, along with future tasks before the user confirms the Add Service action.
On the page are also Export options to print or share to information or call the service provider directly.
A friendly supportive voice would guide new users through the registration process for the Represent Rochester app. Crucial questions would appear to the user individually with supporting imagery and icons.
The Represent Rochester app would support an admin view for non-profit intake managers to keep track of their users and add or check off tasks. Admins could message users through the app to remind them about tasks, set meetings, phone calls, etc.
Other online resources are integrated into the application if they are more beneficial to the user needs i.e. 211 call services, crisis hotlines or information sources.
A mobile application would be available for users to interact with when they are away from a desktop. The app can be used by itself or as a another mode to supplement the desktop version.
Some users do not have a smart phone or consistent access to a computer. Users can choose to get text messages or email notifications of upcoming tasks.
The Represent Rochester app’s resource search can still be used without registration. It would be easily accessible on the landing page.