Cost of living crisis app and
UX/UI Case study (Neubrutalism)
An app to help people navigate the cost of living crisis.
Turning Point is an app and websites that serve as a multipurpose resource for those facing the challenges of the cost of living crisis. With a community-driven approach, Turning Point connects people with information, resources, and a network of mentors and supporters to guide them through difficult times.
The product goal is as follows:
-Provide comprehensive information and resources that simplify the process of seeking help.
-Create an online community that connects users with mentors and others facing similar challenges.
-Create opportunities to give back to the local community via donation points and local giveaways.
UX/UI design, Branding
App & Responsive website
Google UX project
User research - Survey
I conducted a quantitative user survey with 80 people via SurveyMonkey to develop an understanding of commons pain points people faced when looking for help with the cost of living crisis.
Survey outcome (graphics)
1. Which of the following options most closely aligns with your gender?
2. What is your age?
3. Which of the following categories best describes your employment status?
4. In what type of community do you live?
5. How has the cost of living crisis affected your daily life? Please be as precise as possible.
6. Do you use banks (e.g. warm banks, food banks). If yes, how do you search for options close to you?
7. Has the cost of living crisis impacted your mental health? If yes, do you have access to mental health care?
8. What type of support from charities would you like to have to help you face the cost of living crisis? Please be as precise as possible.
9. Would you use an app that supports you through the cost of living crisis? Regarding your answer, please explain why.
10. What type of features would you like to have in an app that could support you through the cost of living crisis?
11. Is there something else you would like to add to this survey?
Which of the following options most closely aligns with your gender?
What is your age?
Which of the following categories best describes your employment status?
In what type of community do you live?
Do you use banks (e.g. warm banks, food banks)? If yes, how do you search for options close to you?
How has the cost of living crisis affected your daily life?
Survey outcome (words clouds)
What type of support from charities would you like to have to help you face the cost of living crisis?
Has the cost of living crisis impacted your mental health?
Would you use an app that supports you through the cost of living crisis?
What type of features would you like to have in an app that could support you through the cost of living crisis?
Over 50% of the UK population is currently struggling with rising living costs, which includes challenges such as purchasing food, heating homes, and finding affordable fuel. These struggles can have a significant impact on mental health. Unfortunately, the process of seeking help for these issues is often tedious, confusing, and lacks anonymity. As a result, many individuals may not be able or willing to access the assistance they need.
Turning Point aims to make seeking and providing help easier and more accessible, with the option of anonymity. The app is a central hub for finding local warm shelters, food and clothing banks, general information and tips.
It also provides a forum for users to connect, share advice, and support one another. The app also shows free resources in the community.
Competitive analysis key points
I analysed one app and two websites. I summarised my findings on an Excel spreadsheet divided into five major categories: general information, first impressions, interaction, visual design, and content.
Branding and tone of voice is informal and reassuring
Easy to navigate
All free to use; there is no payment required
What needs improvement
Not all websites have apps
Some websites lack clarity; it’s difficult to find specific information
Not always an option to create an account
User journey - Current state
NO COMPREHENSIVE AGGREGATOR
REDUCED STANDARDS OF LIVING
LACK OF MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Users struggle to find a single aggregator that caters to multiple resources (heating, clothes, food, etc.). They face the burdensome process of browsing different resources for each.
Users struggle to access not only basic resources such as heating, clothes, and food, but also tips, advice, and entertainment.
Users experience mental health issues as a result of the financial strain and uncertainty caused by the cost of living crisis.
Information architecture - Mobile app
Information architecture - Website
Login form with social options for faster login
Profile page, access to settings, wishlist, and listings
Pop-up page to access users location
Alert page including notifications and messages
Homepage with personalised features
Interactive map to find nearest charity banks or available listings
Search modal including categories to help the use
Add modal for users to upload listing
Tips page with quick tips cards, with topic filter and saved tips
Forum page, including filters and saved forums
Duration: 10-15 minute sessions
Date: February 13, 2023
Locations: Remote (via Userbrain)
I conducted a small, unmoderated usability study with five users. The goal of the study was to test whether the app's general purpose was clear and user-friendly. In addition, I asked users to indicate whether they could easily find the profile, notifications, messages, and forum pages.
Time on task
User error rate
Is the app purpose clear to users and easy to understand?
Do the users find the general flow clear and easy to use?
How long does it take the user to find the mentioned pages?
Are there any parts of the flow that the users find complex?
Would the users change anything about the flow?
After conducting the usability study, I collected user feedback and organized it into key insights. Based on this feedback, the prototype underwent several changes, some of which are highlighted below.
Usability study - Iterations
During the initial prototype testing, three out of five users indicated a preference for password confirmation to ensure they had not made any errors.
I added a ‘Confirm Password’ field to the form to enable users to confirm their password.
The usability study highlighted the importance of clear communication through copy. Specifically, users were unsure whether the mentors were giving free advices or not in this case.
We revised the category names to include the word ‘Free’ to provide greater clarity for users.
During testing, users expressed confusion about the support cards, citing their similarity to the FAQ and Settings cards and questioning their necessity.
We iterated on the card names and functions and added a ‘My Benefits’ card and page to enable users to directly access their Gov.uk benefit entitlement and also create a points system scheme.
As 70% of survey participants were Android users, I opted to focus first on the app design and then use the progressive enhancement method to develop the larger screen designs.
Mobile - 4 columns
Margin 38 px
Tablet - * columns
Desktop - 12 columns
Gutter 16 px
Margin 80 px
Column 66 px
Gutter 16 px
Margin 142 px
Column 112 px
Gutter 32 px
What I’ve learned and next steps
Design for the social good
Before working on this project, I tended to think about UX as it relates to profitable products and tech companies. This project made me realise that UX can be a powerful tool in addressing societal issues. By focusing on and empathising with the needs and experiences of marginalised communities, UX designers can help create products that are more accessible and equitable.
The impact of UI design
This project showed me how important the UI is in creating a complete user experience, especially through the positive reaction I received in the usability study. I chose a Neubrutalism aesthetic to provide a friendly, simple, and reassuring experience for users who may be going through difficult times.
The donation side
If I was to further develop this project, I would focus on its donation platform. A seamless and user-friendly donation experience would enable individuals and organisations to offer time, money, or other resources to support people struggling with the cost of living. This would encourage greater participation and engagement with the platform and, by extension, help to provide more resources to those in need.