In Hand is one of the latest Labs products to be released. We recently caught up with Louise Latter, In Hand’s project manager to find out what she learnt from making the app.
In her own words, here’s what she said…
1. Project Management
Ever bought an app to market? Nope, me neither. I am manager of young people’s engagement with film, art and tech at FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology) so when I realised the size and weight of this project it (ironically) caused me quite a lot of anxiety!
Over a year, I managed three partners from sectors I’d never worked in before and a group of 16 to 25 year olds with and without lived experience of mental health issues. It was a mean feat. My advice is to make sure everyone is on the same page from the very beginning.
2. Be Realistic About Expectations
You cannot do or be everything to everyone. I attempted this and we ended up designing an app that did everything but clean the kitchen sink. It was too much. I stepped in and stripped the whole thing back. It had to be done and it wasn’t necessarily a popular decision. Promise less and deliver more. Don’t promise the earth and then underachieve.
3. Mental Health
Working on this project has opened my eyes around mental health. I have my own experience of mental health issues but I have never worked with a team of colleagues or young people who are so passionate about a single subject. Now when I talk about de-stigmatisation I mean it and feel so strongly about it.
We are implementing a mental health strand as part of our core young people’s programme at FACT and we will continue to work with the amazing team at Mersey Care, our local mental health trust and In Hand partners.
4. User Led Collaboration Is Intense, Difficult And Rewarding
I am not an app designer, In Hand’s young people are not app designers; we did not have the answers. Even our technical partner, Red Ninja, did not know how much success we would have. Who could know?
We all needed to quickly understand that we could only decide on what we thought was best within the time frame, capacity and budget. This made collaboration easier. The quicker you realise this the better.
5. Use A Digital Agency To Run Your Social Media
This was hands down the best decision we made.
We didn’t fully understand the amount of work involved in running a fun, succinct and informative Facebook and Twitter campaign. Being able to delegate this work meant we did not need to worry about the social media side and it also meant In Hand had a clear and comprehensive voice.
6. Never Underestimate Young People’s Ideas
In Hand’s young people have spent the last 5 years or so using smart phones. They are growing up in a world where digital technology is almost an extension of themselves. They understand their potential better than us and, because they are not side tracked by workload, budgets, or timelines they can see bigger and better ideas. They can truly think huge.
You can check out In Hand at www.inhand.org.uk.