Lambeth Council | Service Design
Promoting digital inclusion in the borough
How can we help the Lambeth Council to identify the needs of a marginalised community and mitigate digital exclusion in the Lambeth borough?
Through a collaborative design process with Lambeth Council, the solution reached was a self-learning platform that helps the Council to provide efficient digital support in public libraries for residents that are struggling to find job opportunities. Beyond that, the platform also helps people to improve their digital skills to be prepared for the modern life.
According to the ‘Digital Inclusion Strategy for London’ report (January 2015), from an economic perspective, digital exclusion is a main factor in decreasing a population's opportunities in finding employment. With this context as background and driven by the service design methodology, the project's goal was to find solutions that can breakthrough the barriers that keep people digitally excluded by implementing a collaborative and participatory design process.
In partnership with UAL and the Lambeth Council, the aim of this project was to help to include the 9% of the Lambeth’s population that are digitally excluded. Although the London Government led by Mayor Boris Johnson launched its “Digital Inclusion Strategy for London” in 2014, The Lambeth Council also has the ambition to provide access to the Internet as well as digital support to all of its residents. Specifically, it has invested in the Digi-buddies programme which is aimed at providing accessibility and digital support to Lambeth residents. It can be found in various public libraries and hubs equipped with computers and knowledgeable staff. This was the main touch point and source of insights we have used to develop our solution for the Lambeth Project.
As part of the Investigation phase, we had the opportunity to conduct in depth ethnographic research through volunteer work sessions in the Lambeth Council Hubs. This was an an extremely positive experience and opportunity to learn with the Digi-buddies' users and staff. The trust and empathy that were built between our team and the people at the Digi-buddies project was an invaluable tool that enabled a rich experience exchange between our target group and us designers. The environment allowed our team to create, prototype, test and evaluate the concepts that were collectively built with users and staff.
Amplifying the digital access
The solution reached was a simple and straightforward quiz game based on touchscreen tablets to facilitate interaction and introduce the digital world to people with low digital skills. The first step is to identify, though the quiz and a simple questionnaire, what are people's practical needs in their job finding journey. Then users are taken to a self-learning platform where they are introduced to a step-by-step on how to find a job online, including how to create a CV, how to share it via email and so on.
We also developed a booklet which contains all the content available in the digital self-learning platform but in a physical channel in order to facilitate the learning process of users. A journey-map was included on the backside of the booklet so that users can easily visualise the whole process of how to find a job. Moreover, simple illustrations and an iconography language were applied to ease its comprehension in a fun, engaging and memorable manner.
The Lambeth project was developed during my master in Service Design Innovation at London College of Communication and it was a partnership with UAL and the Lambeth Council.
Client: The Lambeth Council
Course Leader: Omar Vulpinari
Associate Lecture: Cordula Friedlander
Service Designers: Crystal Yun Zhang, Rodrigo Maia, Rujuta Autade