We started the current phase of My Best Life, thinking about the issue of young people not being able to access the support and opportunities they need to succeed. By working young people in a focus group and during our remote design sprints, we have explored how we might make it easier for young people to find and access services.
How did young people engage with the problems?
When exploring the ideas of making services easier to find online and making more services available to young people, the young people kept circling back to the issue of not being able to find what they need. It is great to have lots of options, but only if you can find the service for you quickly. Otherwise, you are just adding another option to the list and making it harder and more overwhelming to go through the list.
How young people responded to the tailored service recommendation tool?
We chose to work on a friendly tool that would give service recommendations based on the user’s profile and activity – likes, hobbies, moods, previous reviews and so on. It would give recommendations in easily digestible categories and also keep track of wellness over time, offering support if needed. Lastly, the tool would be able to offer recommendations as you browse the web, reacting to your current interests or concerns.
Below are some of the insights we have gained from working with young people in our remote design sprints and user testing sessions:
- Choice and privacy are important. Young people want to be conscious consumers and have all the information they need to make an informed decision. Young people also want the choice over how their information is used/shared. They want to have the choice to share some or all of it. Being anonymous was something some felt important in order to feel comfortable. Any data shared they wanted to have the choice to share some or all of it. The option for accessing recommendations as a ‘guest’ was important for some young people to feel comfortable.
- Trust builds up over time. Trust needs to build up with time, both for trusting the recommendations offered and also trust when sharing information with the app.
- Connection is important – being able to hear from others who have accessed the service or opportunity helped them to validate that the service was right for them and worth the effort of engaging with. (Similar to how most of us would look at the review ratings for a product, restaurant or takeaway.) This is something young people look for when researching existing services online.
- Tracking mood was popular, but not something young people had used before. This was considered as ‘unique’. All young people liked the idea of tracking mood over time, but none of the young people had seen this feature or had experience of doing this before. Daily or weekly reminders to track your mood, the ability to see how your mood has changed over time and how it compares to others were liked features. However, a simple scale of happy to sad didn’t cover a wide enough range of emotions. Young people wanted more descriptive emotions, and for some, the option to add your own personalised words would be a nice to have.
- Personalised recommendations are crucial. Young people wanted the recommendations to be personalised to their needs. Generic lists of all services is the same as googling it.
- Young people want to make it their own. Along with personalised recommendations, being able to personalise other aspects, such as the words used on the mood tracker, the colours on the app and the information on your profile were of interest to allow them to make it their own.
- Clear information was important – Young people wanted to know the eligibility criteria upfront, so they can find the best option for them quickly. Many young people are limited to accessing online services or nearby services. Young people were keen to know where things were.
- Visuals and colour are important – the young people wanted a mix of content and formats to make it engaging.
- Apps are preferred over websites – the young people said they were more likely to engage with an app than a website. Mobiles were the preferred access route. Some did have tablets or laptops, but tend to restrict the use of laptops for work or school work.