2019 by Paddy Beirne.

THE Salvation Army

Graphic Designer

Nov 2018 - Aug 2019

The G21 is a touch screen interface that will be used in the Salvation Army’s ‘Life Houses’ (homeless shelters). The interface and system is to be installed on 22" monitors across Salvation Army’s Yorkshire and Humberside district at first but the project is expected  to spread nationally in the future and will also be available on moble devises.  The main purpose of the G21 is to give users quick access to key local facilities and aid as well as help them build the self-confidence necessary to make their first steps into employment and housing.

Project Background

This project originated with my conscious move into ethical design. After my project on Alzheimer’s with the NHS I was confident and excited to use my skills towards social issues again – this time I was inspired to work around the growing issue of homelessness and the housing crisis after being a victim of it myself and seeing peers, friends and family caught up in similar situations and adding to the statistics in this national crisis (more about this issue, my thought process and original design concepts can be found on my blog.

THE Research

The majority of my research was carried out through visits to The Salvation Army’s Life House in Hull. Through interviewing and collecting data from staff and observing resident’s behavior while using the existing ICT facilities I was able to build a prolfile of who would be using the G21 as well as how they might use it in order to determine the best way to present the on-screen information to suit their needs. 
 
The vast majority (approx 80%) of users would be male and in their early 20s, my research would find that they would generally be extremily tech-savvy and self-consious of their social status. Probing further allowed me to delve into some of the phsycological reasons as to why these two characteristics were so prominant and inexplicably linked. I drew the conclution that my target audience saught value and self-worth from modern technology by way of ownership/association - this conclution alongside preference polls that looked at users reactions to contemporary GUIs drove me to base parts of my design on disirable visual elemets in existing GUIs such as the PS4 Interface, IOS 8 and Windows Aero working on the notion that familiarity of design can go a long way in creating user-freindliness and trust in the user. 

SOLVING REAL PROBLEMS

A key component to this is the system’s ‘Personal Statement Builder’ where a user can generate a great personal statement with a just few taps on a list of positive personality traits. This is perfect for those who lack professional experience as well as those who may not realise that their personal traits could be translated into desirable professional traits to a potential employer. 

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This was designed to boost self-confidence as many young people believe that their lack of experience works as a part of a vicious circle which prevents them from gaining necessary experience.