Q: How did you test the platform before it was launched?
A: I was put to the daunting task of figuring out research efforts for reaching individuals-experiencing-homelessness without being able to talk to them in person. ShelterTech had built a strong relationship with Community Representatives, who are our liaisons to the homelessness community and have all experienced homelessness at some point.
My team decided to leverage our Community Representatives’ shared experiences to interview them about the revamped SFServiceGuide. We asked them questions about their current situations, how their user experience of the SFServiceGuide was, and how we could make information more valuable for them. Following the synthesis of our interview insights with them, we are in the process of collaborating with the design lead to improving the SFServiceGuide’s user experience.
Q: How do you know if the revamped SFServiceGuide has been effective for those in need?
A: The data science team, and outreach team at ShelterTech are monitoring traffic to the site, and we are still observing how effective these guides are in reaching their target audience. We also managed to help a design interviewee (under temporary shelter) seek an additional financial resource by just browsing through our resource guides. To me, it was a huge win to benefit someone’s life through our work, and one that I hope ShelterTech will be continuing to celebrate with future iterations of our SFServiceGuide.
Q: What are your personal reflections on this experience?
A: My experience as a team lead during the pandemic was intense, and one filled with expectations from myself and from others relying on me. We had to make major product decisions in a short two-week span, which revamped our entire online experience that we had spent months building. However, it was also emotional to see fellow volunteers unite in pursuit of social good, even though we had to take time out of our personal lives to keep delivering work.
Ultimately, volunteering for ShelterTech was one of the greatest career decisions I had made, and from this experience learnt invaluable communication and leadership skills, alongside meeting individuals across several industries.