Many people are facing new challenges in the current pandemic. Many have to work from home, while also looking after their children. High-risk groups have to avoid public areas and crowds, which include critical places like supermarkets and public transport. If friends and family cannot support them sufficiently, these groups have to find ways to help themselves. Many community members would like to help others during the crisis, but do not know how they can best do so. Some people manage to get connected through existing communities, word of mouth, or posters/flyers in the streets. Unfortunately, not everyone can be reached this way and is dependent on the help of volunteers.

The name voitheia is derived from the greek word for "help" (originally βοήθεια resp. voítheia).

What it does

The Voitheia platform is designed to bring together helpers and those seeking help in a simple, intuitive way. Similar to an ordering system, the person seeking help should be able to make a request. Helpers can find a list of requests from their neighbourhood and can choose what they want to help with. The solution offers some features (e.g. pre-selection fields, detailed description of the request, a distance indicator) that should make helping as easy as possible - with an overall target that the solution is easy to navigate and to connect people as efficiently as possible. The solution is built as both a webpage and as a mobile app in order to reach more users. It is especially timely during this crisis period, but also will serve beyond the pandemic as a platform to help your neighbours.

Differences / Advantages to other existing solutions

  • Open source that should be made available to everyone - help should not be commercial!
  • Helpers are able to find help requestors – not the other way around
  • Both an mobile app and a webpage, to maximize reach
  • As user-friendly as possible, clean interface and accessible to elderly people with a phone/computer
  • No search via a map, but through an easy-to-use list

How we built it

  • Started at nothing
  • Created user personas – Who would be using the app?
  • Flowchart – How can a user navigate through the application *Prototype – including backend solution in Azure
  • Website Frontend built with Angular
  • App for iOS set up

Challenges we ran into

  • We wanted the app to be as user-friendly as possible – but have few UX designers and frontend developers in the team
  • No time to talk to users to validate usability (although we did talk to one grandma)
  • Virtual collaboration

Accomplishments that we are proud of

  • Setting up a well-functioning prototype with basic functionality in a short time
  • Team-spirit and motivation, with team sitting in different locations
  • Usage of new tools and support of project outside the usual environment (e.g. backend developers supporting frontend)

What we learned

  • Quarantine is more fun when creating a project together with a small team
  • All skills are needed to build a high-quality and user-friendly solution
  • Focusing on the end user makes it easier to prioritize features and drive solution design

What's next for Voitheia

  • Validate concept and MVP with End Users
  • Security measures (e.g. profile validations or rating of your helper) to avoid misuse of solution
  • Create an option to manage your user profile
  • Finish the App and make it available for iOS and Android
  • Include gamification approaches to motivate to help (e.g. points for helpers)
  • Think of future features to further increase usability, e.g. include speech recognition to improve ease of requesting
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