Pointr: Helping young people access employment & education quicker in Cardiff

PDR, The International Centre for Design & Research in Cardiff set out to design a new service that reduced the confusion that young people experienced and made finding employment education quicker. There are more than one million young people unemployed in the UK, each costing the government an estimated £153 per week.

As well as being demoralising for a young person, every person not in employment, education or training is a huge cost to public finances. By making it easier for young people to access the services that are relevant to them it could not only have a huge impact on young peoples lives but also result in a significant savings for Government.

But there’s a disconnect, with many of the young people we spoke to were unaware of what’s available to them. In many cases the confusing messages created by this complex system are often pushing young people away from initiatives designed to support them.

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The Process

PDR organised a hack event for government staff working with youth services in South Wales. Over 40 participants from youth services teams, careers advice services and third sector organisations as well as software developers and designers from PDR to “hack” 3 data sets relating to jobs, training and education opportunities in South Wales.

Video of the SPIDER Hack:

The hack resulted in 5 early stage prototypes ranging from simple app solutions to a reimagined careers advice for the digital age. PDR then focused on developing these further, working with Cardiff Council and Careers Wales to identify some of the reasons why young people weren’t finding the opportunities available to them.

The research highlighted that services for young people are often fragmented with national and local government spending significant amounts of money on services for young people.

10 young people participated in structured user testing sessions at PDR’s user testing lab. This identified how NEETs currently search for work on the Internet, use social media and the usability of existing government services. This was supported by vix-pop interviews conducted by PDR in Cardiff City Centre.

One of the common themes emerging from this initial research was that whilst there are many existing government services that support those who are unemployed, often it’s not clear what they are offering; which are the most relevant and why you should approach them. PDR used these insights to develop Pointr.

The insights told us that simplicity and clarity of navigation was key. The most popular and trusted online services for finding work and training were those that provide a simple search feature as the main function of the site. Services with many features were less popular and young people were less success in finding relevant opportunities.

User Research

User testing session at PDR

The Impact

PDR built a prototype service called Pointr, this was supported by a Google advertising campaign, which ran for two months. This cost-effective method resulted in over 1,000 young people using the prototype. We used analytics to review how it was working and whether users were able to locate information that was relevant to their needs.

Pointr prototype

Pointr prototype

One of the common themes emerging from this initial research was that whilst there are many existing government services that support those who are unemployed, often it’s not clear what they are offering; which are the most relevant and why you should approach them. We used these insights to develop Pointr.

Our insights told us that simplicity and clarity of navigation was key. The most popular and trusted websites for finding work and training were those that provide a simple search feature as the main function of the site. Websites with many features were less popular and led to less success in finding relevant opportunities.

Pointr needed to be simple, clear and useful, so that’s what we designed: www.pointr.wales

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