Last Tuesday it was time for the first UI test session of the application being developed to supply valuable information to the homeless. Based on the information being gathered so far three possible UI design for the homepage were developed. These were shown to a group of homeless people at Saint Egidio in Amsterdam during the weekly dinner they organize for homeless people.
It was briefly explained that we were looking for a method of presentation that was easy to understand and that would allow the user to quickly find what he was looking for. In addition, they were given a phone with the following three designs asking what would be meant by which button.
The first design was chosen unanimously. Common arguments are “here everything can be seen directly on the screen, so I don’t have to scroll”, “if I use this for a while I know the colours and I don’t even have to look at the buttons”, “my foreign comrades understand this too”.
Some people were also willing to share their insights by filling in our short questionnaire or by giving a verbal explanation. This because not all of them were able to read or write. The questions we asked them where as follows:
- Do you own a smartphone?
- How often do you use your smartphone per day?
- Which applications would you consider the most useful?
- Which information do you get offline because you do not find it online?
What was particularly striking was that these questions proved to be a useful opening to open conversations with important insights.
Crucial for this group of people is sleeping with a roof over their heads. Above all, that should be given a crucial place, we were told. In addition, the homeless people who have been living this way in Amsterdam for 35 years can manage quite well, for a number of people we spoke to who had only just arrived in Amsterdam and who came from Russia and Poland in this case, this is different.
Our conversations revealed that there is a large group of homeless people without a smartphone, but these people often deal with each other in groups and what is striking is that there are often people in these groups who are quite handy with their phone. In addition, finding Wifi spots for certain groups to go well, for the group that is not so long in Amsterdam could also be paid attention to this. Frequently used applications are the alarm clock, WhatsApp, weather applications, the calendar and internet.
We have come up with several new insights and ideas. We want to take the time to work these out now and come back in a month to see if these additions are appreciated by the target group.