Make a Mark Lex

 
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The Make a Mark event in Lexington back in March was a 12 hour design and development marathon to help provide local non-profits with resources they might not otherwise have access to.

We were able to provide an MVP design created in Sketch and packaged and ready to develop in Zeplin within the 12 hour period. Without the help of our partners and a little bit of preplanning we would have been hard pressed to accomplish what we did.

 

New Friends

For this event I was lucky enough to be paired with some really great people.

Our non-profit partner was Step by Step of Lexington or SBS for short. SBS helps single mothers improve their lives and their children’s lives through healing, encouragement, faith and education. They help mothers find services, education, work opportunities, and offer mentoring programs and events.

The team consisted of myself as lead designer. Uriah Clemmer as designer & developer. Tanya Torp who is the director at SBS. And last but certainly not least Ana Maldonado-Coomer who provided some design feedback and originally created the awesome brand guidelines that gave us an amazing head start.

 

The Need

Our first order of business prior to the start of the event was meeting with Tanya to learn more about what the team at SBS needed in order to carry out their mission. They knew they wanted an app to help communicate with their members in a secure and welcoming environment and we helped focus in on some key areas.

  • Secure Log In - Privacy from outside influences was of primary concern.

  • News and Information Feed - Photos and News administered by SBS Staff

  • Chat - Predetermined forums with subjects like General, Finances, Education, Parenting, etc.

  • Events - Hosted by SBS at various venues around town they also offer transportation and childcare.

  • Services - Allows members to locate different services via a map with categories based on different potential needs.

  • Profile - Helps SBS stay up to date with members dependents and residence.

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Tools Used

On the day of the event we met at 7:30 AM to get setup. We started by making sure we all had access to the right software to create and share the project. We used a combination of:

  • Sketch App - To design the app.

  • Google Drive - To share and store assets and project files.

  • Trello - For project and task management. We stored notes and requirements from Tanya and had her review them here.

  • Zeplin.io - We used Zeplin for reviewing and sharing the design with the broader group. We collected feedback from everyone via board comments.

  • Google Slides - At the end of the day everyone presented their work to the other teams.

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Prep

Prior to the start of the event I was lucky enough to receive a full brand guide that SBS already used for their website. I adapted the type, colors, and logos and made them symbols in a pre-made Sketch Library as well as a few common components.

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The Design

The event lasted from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM. We had roughly 11 hours of actual design time before presenting to the rest of the teams. After organizing our tool set we revisited our requirements and decided to focus our efforts for this initial design on iOS. We didn’t have specific metrics to run on, but the Director was certain we would cast a wider net with iOS for the MVP.

 

Secure Log In

The Log In needed to be air tight. We went with a simple format on the surface that would allow the SBS admins to confirm someones membership from the inside. Future iterations of the app plan to have an Admin View.

 

News & Information

This is the hub or main feed for the app. For the MVP we’re planning to create a running feed of news and events photos that are shared to all members that is curated by the SBS staff. We shied away from the complexities of having each person being able to contribute to the feed for the time being.

 

Chat & Discussions

The chat feature is set up with two initial functions that offer members the ability to engage with the SBS community. The top of the page features chat options with mentors that are part of the SBS staff that could offer advice or support. The bottom portion of the screen displays a series of topical forums where members can interact with each other. The plan for the future is to offer 1:1 chat capabilities between everyone on the app.

 

Events

Events are very important to SBS. They’re the part of the program that actually brings people together. They need a reliable way to get the news out about upcoming events. Its also important for them to know how many people are coming, how many children might also attend, and who might need transportation to and from the events.

 

Resources

The map on the Resources page offers members the ability to search through categorized services based on whatever their needs might be. Housing, childcare, and products for children like diapers and wipes can all be found using the map to navigate to or contact the closest participating location. Eventually the idea is to link a points system to the app that is already being used. The point can be “spent” to purchase certain necessities.

 

Profile

This page is primarily used to manage the members account information. The idea is to be able to stay up to date with a members residence as well as some very basic information about their dependents.

 

Takeaways

This event was a great way to get involved and help out some of our local non-profits. We’re currently pursuing volunteers to lend a hand with development to help bring the Step by Step app to life.

We made some new friends and hopefully took some leaps forward in trying to make an impact. I’m looking forward to participating in the Make a Mark event in the years to come.

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Drew Carter