Pointr – A new service in development

Background

At PDR, we’ve been working on the first SPIDER challenge, looking at improving services for unemployed youth in Cardiff, for the past year. Mid-way through this first year we hosted a Hack event in Cardiff that brought together local designers and developers with experts in the field of youth unemployment, including youth workers, service providers and those with first hand experience of being unemployed. We at PDR set the broad brief and allowed the attendees to align themselves with a cause that they were keen to work on. See more details in the previous round up of the event here.

From that event we have been working hard to develop the ideas with the most potential to support young unemployed people in Cardiff, one of the results of this research and development has been Pointr.

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Why Pointr?

One of the common themes emerging from our initial research and the conversations over the Hack event was that there are many existing services that are geared towards supporting those who are unemployed, but often its not clear what they are offering; which are the most relevant and why you should approach them. There was also a realisation that many useful local services are never found by those looking for work or training as they do not appear prominently in internet search results, with the top spots more often taken by recruitment consultants and online jobs boards. Whilst these sites provide a useful service, they don’t provide the support or advice many people require to get them into work or training. In short, it needed to be both simpler, and better.

Inspired by this insight, we are designing a simple but extremely intelligent two step interaction web site that will direct users to the most helpful services for their needs. It is still being developed from all angles, distilling the service offering, refining the UI and above all ensuring it provides a beneficial service to those currently out of work, education and training. We tried to communicate visually what Pointr was aiming to do, and arrived at some conclusions.

Currently we see the employment advice market looking something like this:

existing diagram

With Pointr, we are hoping it will work a little more like this:

new diagram-01-01

Within the Service Design team at PDR we’ve had many discussions around how Pointr can be a useful tool, and the danger of it becoming another service that sits alongside the current clutter. With this in mind we are working closely with the kind of people we are anticipating using the service, running testing, research, design and development work alongside each other as we seek out the best solution and use for Pointr.

We have seen first hand through research how small organisations can be extremely beneficial to young people, but also how rare it is for the same young people to get past the first few results on a search engine meaning they never reach information about these organisations. This is where Pointr is designed to be the most useful.

How far have we got?

combined UI images

We conducted initial research before the hack event and used this information to inform the briefs we set the teams for the event. We have worked with the teams on certain projects and in Pointr’s case have merged a couple of concepts into a tool which we think could be really useful.

The development of Pointr has taken the form of continually testing concepts and researching further into how our target user would search for work on the internet to ensure that the product is as relevant as possible. Most recently wireframing possible user interfaces and meeting with a developer with a view to releasing a live version for testing in the near future.

What Next?

Developing the Beta version to make live is the next big step, we will then try and get as many people using it as possible. Gathering contacts is important as we look for real world testing, both in controlled environments in PDR and around Cardiff where young people are most likely to try using the website, including mobile devices of course. We will be updating progress on Pointr when possible and hope you will support us if you can in any way.

Get in touch about Pointr

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