Gather My Crew

Changing the way people ask for, offer and accept help

Gather My Crew
Changing the way people ask for, offer and accept help

arrow-down
gather-my-crew-hero

Overview
Gather My Crew is a registered Australian charity that provides free, purpose-built technology to help coordinate and roster practical support for Australians doing it tough. The service makes it easy to setup 'support crews' of friends and family members, identify what help is needed, and help out during difficult times.

Overview
Gather My Crew is a registered Australian charity that provides free, purpose-built technology to help coordinate and roster practical support for Australians doing it tough. The service makes it easy to setup 'support crews' of friends and family members, identify what help is needed, and help out during difficult times.

Role
Engagement Lead
UI Design

Year
2020

Role
Engagement Lead
UI Design

Year
2020

Team
Client Principal
Advisory Specialist
Lead Developer
Grad Developer

Team
Client Principal
Advisory Specialist
Lead Developer
Grad Developer

unsplash-image

The ask
A roadmap to development

The tool was initially built as a responsive web application and has served its purpose well. However, through ongoing user research and feedback, the client identified some pain points, needs and opportunities that could be addressed by developing a native mobile application.

In order to move towards this solution, the client required advice around the potential scope and development cost of the new product. We ran 5 days of workshops to create user journeys, identify the scope and priority of features, estimate effort and explore some UI possibilities.

Although this was an advisory engagement, it was also an opportunity to demonstrate agile ways of working with the client, and educate them on how we (ThoughtWorks) approach software delivery.

Understanding the organisation
Technology, research, education and partnerships

Gather My Crew is an Australian charity that are passionate about changing the way people ask for, offer and accept help. They believe people want to help when times get tough – they just need to know how. The organisation recognise that a cultural shift is needed, and are working towards a world where every person in need of help is surrounded by an active and engaged ‘support crew’.

In order to achieve this, Gather My Crew operates on the foundation of 4 pillars:

Technology: A free online app for creating and coordinating support networks.
Research: Ongoing research to inform the technology solution.
Education: Online education, guidance and community support.
Partnerships: Cooperation with organisations supporting people in need.

gather-my-crew-logo

Understanding the product
The current state

As it stands, the technology is provided as a responsive web application for use on computer, tablet or mobile. The purpose of the app is to simplify the process of getting the right help to a person in need, making it easier to ask for help, offer help, accept help and manage all the help required in any situation (for example, a cancer diagnosis, sick child, premature baby, ageing parent, divorce, accident or bushfire recovery). The product achieves this by providing simple task management, rostering and communication functionality to users.

Though we didn't have time to conduct our own user research in the 5 days, we learned from existing research that the biggest pain point in the user journey is around the clunky onboarding experience, so we sought to address this as a part of our recommendations.

gather-my-crew-current-ui

Current UI for web application

Developing personas
People in need, gatherers and crew members

Our aim was to create a realistic representation of the actors, helping us to describe functionality from the point of view of those who will interact with the final product (and even those that may not). Based on existing research, we identified 3 primary actors – the "Person in Need", the "Gatherer" and the "Crew Member". We learned that the needs of the Gatherer and the needs of the Crew Member are very closely aligned, with the main difference being that the Gatherer will initiate and coordinate the crew.

gather-my-crew-personas

Breaking down the features
Estimation and prioritisation

Though the native app experience would not differ too much from the web experience, it was important for the team to raise questions and alternative opinions about the users needs and the native capabilities of the app. Using the current feature set as a starting point, we identified a list of features (categorised by epics) and considered various others that could support users tasks in the native application. 

We then ran a prioritisation activity with the client to understand the must haves (green), should haves (blue) and could haves (red). This would help us determine the scope for the MVP. As time didn't allow for deep-diving into all of the epics, the team put them through a relative sizing exercise.

We did this by selecting a number of the epics, estimating the effort using the 'Planning Poker' method (calling out our assumptions on what was involved), and used those values to extrapolate across the other epics.

gather-my-crew-features

Mapping out the user journey
Features and flows

In order to visualise the user journey for the native application, we decided to go with a simplified user flow diagram to present the entire journey at a high-level – with slightly more detail around the onboarding process as this is a key pain point to be addressed in the current experience. Though this approach lacked detail, it proved to be time-efficient, as well as effective in demonstrating the persona-to-persona interaction.

In addition to this, we also mapped the epics (displayed above) to the user flow. Uniting these perspectives allowed us to contextualise the features and verify our understanding of how users interact with Gather My Crew.

gather-my-crew-task-flow

Exploring a new user interface
Augmenting the experience for iOS

As a part of the deliverable, the client wanted to see how some of the key features could look. Since the majority of existing users were accessing the web application using iOS devices, we focused on designing for this platform.

Some of the features we explored included task management, messaging, hints and tips, crew member invitation, suggestions and notifications.

gather-my-crew-app-home
gather-my-crew-app-messages
gather-my-crew-app-crew
gather-my-crew-app-tasks
gather-my-crew-app-education

Areas of focus
Utilising native functionality

As mentioned before, a key aspect of the engagement was to demonstrate how the app could utilise native mobile functionality to improve the user experience. We identified some opportunities during our feature discovery and user journey mapping activities, which included the use of contacts, calendar integration and push notifications.

gather-my-crew-app-contacts

Invite from contacts

Invite from contacts

gather-my-crew-app-task

Calendar integration

gather-my-crew-app-notifications

Push notifications

Next steps
The path to delivery

In addition to the scope definition, design recommendations and estimation, we also presented a high level plan for potential next steps. The plan is focused on continuous user research, feedback and delivery to ensure the development team are not only building the right thing, but building the thing right.

gather-my-crew-roadmap

Outcomes and retrospective

All in all, the project was intense but successful, and the client was happy with the outcome. In a short period of time, we managed to understand the goals of the business, the needs of the users, define the scope of the MVP, prioritise features, estimate development effort and costs, design a handful of screens and write up a final report.

01 /

Working remotely

The engagement kicked off just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia and lockdown restrictions were introduced, which meant we had little time to prepare for a remote engagement. This resulted in some last minute decisions around the agenda, tools and ways of working.

We established a cadence of two 2-hour sessions a day with the client across the 5 days, which allowed the team enough time to absorb and consolidate information gathered in the workshops. This approach ensured we made the most of our time together.

For the tools, we used Zoom for the meetings, Google Jamboard as a collaborative digital whiteboard, Google Sheets and Planning Poker for delivery estimation, and Google Slides for documentation. Looking back, Jamboard was limited and I would've opted for the MURAL app instead, however I hadn't used it before at the time.

02 /

Time management

5 days was not a lot of time considering the amount of work we had to get through. Though we completed most of it by the end of the weekwe had to use the following week to wrap up the designs and final documentation.

That said, I enjoyed having some extra downtime outside all of the Zoom calls and workshops to get my hands on the tools.

03 /

User research 

It would've been great if there was time to conduct our own research to better understand users needs and pain points first-hand, but fortunately the client had a lot of valuable feedback from users. This was refreshing, since its rare to work with clients that have lots of rich qualitative data to draw upon.

User research 

It would've been great if there was time to conduct our own research to better understand users needs and pain points first-hand, but fortunately the client had a lot of valuable feedback from users. This was refreshing, since its rare to work with clients that have lots of rich qualitative data to draw upon.

Next project →