Testing the #OurLDNSummer map with young people

15 August 2018

The long, sizzling summer holidays can be a precarious time for vulnerable young people.

To help young Londoners spend their time off school safely, City Hall created the Our London Summer map, as part of the London Needs You Alive anti-knife crime campaign.

The searchable map has more than 200 activities across the city – from dance to kayaking, to basketball, music, theatre and volunteering. They’re run by youth centres, football clubs, refugee groups, charities and churches -- and organisations are being added all the time.

After testing the map’s technical functioning in-house, the digital team decided to ask the most valuable testers they could find for their opinion – young people themselves.

“They’re our primary audience, so it was really important to hear what they had to say,’ said Michele Lambert, Digital Product Manager at the Greater London Authority.

The digital team ‘guerrilla tested’ the map, which was built by agency Nautoguide, by catching young people visiting City Hall for a separate event.

The testers, aged between ten and eighteen, were asked questions including what they thought the map was for, if they would use it, what was missing, and how they would describe it in two words. Answers ranged from “Amazingly helpful” to “Simple, adventurous.”

“They immediately got it,” Michele said. “They found it very easy to use, which we were really happy about. Some people find maps a bit difficult, but they liked the visual aspect.”

The young testers were enthusiastic about having so much information in one place, saying it allowed them to find activities that would be hard to parse from a mass of Google results.

Several of the young people commented that they were pleased to see age ranges next to the activities.

Yet they also had some frank advice for how to improve it.

“They wanted more information on the individual activities - that was really important to them and they wanted to be able to see it at a glance,” Michele said. “They also gave us advice on how to promote the app, for example on Snapchat, because they were worried they wouldn’t know about it otherwise.”

Carrying out digital testing with young people has its own unique demands.

“Children often want to please, so it’s important to let them know they can say exactly what they think – that you want their honest feedback,” Michele said.

The Our LDN Summer map is still in beta. It continues to grow and will be extend beyond the summer holidays.

Organisations are also able to submit their own activities and events via the app – but they will need to confirm that they have safeguarding policies and procedures in place before these can go on the map.

Ten-year-old Chana told the digital team that her dad was more likely to use the map than her. “He’s good at planning,” she said. “He suggests things that I wouldn’t think of.” 

Understanding core user needs is a key part of City Hall’s work to meet the Digital Service Standard – a measure used by local and national Government to make sure a service is good enough for public use. Read more about it here.

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