Hack For Good
A one-day hack-day looking at supporting local charities with our digital expertise.
Written by: Pete Heslop
On May 17th 2019, we joined in with Studio Republic’s Hack For Good 2; a day focused on bringing together different agencies with the purpose of helping local charities to solve problems through the use of technology and web applications.
Centred around the theme of Mental Health Awareness week, each brief provided from leading charities gave insight into a problem they faced around the topic of mental health.
We quickly decided to pick up the brief provided by Shelter.
How can we support Shelter staff to build their own resilience and look for trends in their own mental health?
A web and mobile application that records daily emotions and analyses this data for trends.
We moved quickly from the ideas phase onto outlining the application’s purpose and core features – who the application was for, what problem it would solve, how it would work, and what the benefit or value to the user would be.
Our team wanted to enable fast inputs from the user, that would only take a minute each day. These inputs could then be analysed over the course of a week or month to output trends and correlations that would help the user spot the start of a mental health spiral, before it becomes unmanageable.
Sarah, our digital product designer, got straight to work on the design of our product, ‘You Ok?’, wireframing and quickly fleshing out the layout for our team’s developers Dan and André to begin building.
During the course of this one short day of hacking, we were able to produce a working Laravel app that users are able to sign up to quickly and easily to begin recording their emotions. As a team, we were really proud of what we were able to produce in such a short timeframe and would love to expand on this app concept further.
Our next step on this product would be to start building in algorithms and text contextualisations so that we could alert users to positive and negative trends in their data. This would allow users to see if the days they felt particularly high or low were linked to the environmental factors influencing those particular days.
In the future, we would like to further explore the following concepts:
- How could we use weather data to explore the influence of seasonal affective disorders (SAD) on mental health?
- Could location data have valuable insight into mental health? For example, what is the influence of being in the city versus being out in nature? What about the difference between being at home, at work or on holiday?
- How can we surface relevant help articles or charity support for the contextualised text? Could we use user data to signpost people to articles or charities that will help and support them with their struggles? For example, if someone types that they were ‘stressed at work’ on one particular day, could we signpost them to an article on ‘How to reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace’?
We had a blast and we’re thankful to be part of a community who cares about ‘doing good’ with our expertise.