Most of our projects are large scale enterprise digital products which are business focussed platforms for refining processes through mobile and web so it was refreshing to work on something a little different. We were approached by Simon Community, a charity that deals with homelessness and were tasked with seeing how mobile technology could play a role in raising awareness and in the prevention of homelessness.
Working closely with Simon allowed us to get to know the charity and what the organisation does on a daily basis along with their long term vision. Questions such as what the needs of the charity were and also what would the needs of the end user be for a mobile application. What would be useful for the user? Why would the user keep returning to the app? What would raise awareness of the range of services to support a person’s needs associated with being homeless?
This co-creative approach and exploration lead to many concept ideas and the challenge was to refine and ensure there was a core purpose for a mobile app. This process lead to the creation of S.I.M.O.N – Support In My Own Neighbourhood. The iOS and Android app delivers an intuitive and engaging user interface suitable for users of all abilities. A geo-located map is presented with services for food, shelter and services nearest to the user and the relevant details for making contact.
We also developed the ability to complete a Simon Community referral form, which can be completed by a user if they are worried about someone at risk of homelessness and sent to Simon Community seamlessly ensuring action can be taken efficiently by the charity. To increase citizen engagement along with empowering individuals, we introduced the functionality of allowing people to geo-locate to pinpoint and report someone sleeping rough with metrics in place for Simon Community to prevent abuse of this functionality.
Utilising the power of mobile devices and the features available, we have combined them into a simple to use app that we hope will engage with the community and go further towards the prevention of homelessness. The first of its kind in the UK, it has been a fantastic project to have been involved in and we thank Simon Community for allowing us to be part of the journey.