Update: Getting to beta launch in schools

It’s just under two weeks until we release a beta version of our platform in September. We’re very excited having spent the past 8 months since January working hard and very closely with our design partners to get to this stage. We’ve worked with 3 schools, 3 national youth charities and over 60 young people. This has seen 50 hours of direct engagement by our team through observations, workshops and user-testing, on top of all our previous research and concept testing. We wanted to share what we’ve been up to but there’s so much to cover, we’ve highlighted the key stages in our development process so far.

Building new partnerships
Leith-entranceWe were delighted to be able to work with the Prince’s Trust, Envision and Future You, who wanted to test new technology within their support programmes. We embedded ourselves within their groups to observe first hand the support that young people have access to when developing skills. These partnerships parachuted us into the schools environment and led to working directly with teachers and young people to pull apart our previous prototypes. The schools that we’ve been working with have been Leith Academy in Edinburgh, St Augustines High School in Kilburn and Woodside School in Belvedere, who have all been fantastic and incredibly generous with their time.

Make it, break it and make it better
profile-CodesignDuring our previous research and concept development phase funded by Nesta we had found a niche within youth development programmes. To kick off our product development in January we began to pull apart our previous prototype to find out how our technology could be implemented with a sustainable business model. We reconsidered what young people were really interested in and what they wanted to share through an online employment profile. Rather than just ask them, we got them to design their own profiles from scratch and then role play how they would use them.

Profile-sketchWe asked young people to design their own profiles based on what they wanted to share.
 

This generated a huge amount of insight and ideas that led us to re-design the platform. Our proposition went from a simple strengths assessment tool to a more comprehensive portfolio platform that allows young people to control their online professional presence, which is what young people were looking to do.

In fact, we took the same approach of reviewing our concept early-on with teachers, staff from the youth charities, volunteer mentors and recruiters. We walked through storyboards and showed paper demos. The opportunity to step back and re-imagine our concept together with all the people who would engage with our platform allowed us to focus on building the right thing first and push back some of the less important features for later development.

UserstoryboardWe ran through storyboards with stakeholders to better understand the different roles and their capabilities.  
 
ProfilereviewWe had previously tested fake psychometric and personality profiles with recruiters to find out what information was valuable to them.
 

Live environment testing
We built some new “quick and dirty” prototypes to test with our design partners in class. Above all this allowed us to experience the daily challenges that young people and teachers face when using technology in schools environments. For example, young people forget passwords and don’t remember their email address – their lives are spent on their phone so we’ve build a password reminder service that gets sent as an SMS.

LeithTestField testing with young people showed how much they rely on their phones to store personal details.
 

New Designs
We have been developing and building on our designs over the summer and we are on course to trialing our new platform in September. We’ve got a totally new profile page for young people to publish and share along with a whole new strengths dashboard design. Here is a sneak preview…

Flip-profiledesignFlip-Strengths01dNew designs include: A customisable and media rich public profile. A strengths overview of feedback
 

Join in the trials
We will be running a 3 month trial and we welcome new organisations to get involved in working with us to road test the platform and help us make it better. You can either get in touch with Bruno at bruno@thisisrepresent.com or sign up to our newsletter to receive updates on when we launch.