Guest post by Francesca Di Mari at Sketchin, a Swiss user experience design firm based in Lugano.At Sketchin we strongly believe that design can improve lives and foster social good. We first heard of Cooper’s UX Boot Camp when we visited Cooper in September, 2012, and we fell in love with their idea of using design to educate and foster social good by bridging design students with non-profits. This idea was conceived of and developed by Kendra Shimmell, the Managing Director at Cooper U, and it launched our determination to be part of a design revolution for social good. Our first step was to create our own UX Boot Camp modeled after what we experienced at Cooper. So in May of 2013, together with Talent Garden Milano and Frontiers of Interaction, we organized the first Italian UX Boot Camp in Milan, modeled after the Cooper UX Boot Camp. Here is a look back at what we created and discovered in the process. Meet Our Non-Profit Our client, the Jonian Dolphin Conservation, discovered several pods of dolphins living and breeding in the gulf and they became engaged in research activities to study and protect the dolphins in proximity to a huge polluting steel mill with massive towers and blast furnaces. http://youtu.be/OPIqXOgvQd8 The association uses a catamaran named Taras in its marine research activities and decided to use it to involve the local population and the tourists and make them aware of the dolphin presence and the need to protect them. The Challenge Our mission was two-fold:
- Make the experience on Taras so extraordinary and engaging that the citizens and tourists become ambassadors of this cause
- Design the overall experience of this voyage in search of the dolphins
What We Learned
- Digital is not always the solution. Making an app, a website, or a high-tech tool is not always the best idea. Sometimes pen and paper suits the need better. (That was a surprise both to participants and the non-profit.)
- Users always come first. Experiences are not determined or a given, but depend on the people.
- The goal is to design experiences, not features. Experience is complex and variable, so when we design an experience, consider each step always keeping in mind the expectation people have.
- A tool kit for schools
- Redesigned digital touch points to increase supporter loyalty
- A redesigned overall experience for summer tourists to be part of the crew
- Hands-on experience, tools and information for participants specifically interested in marine research