MISSION HELP

Through the lens of human-centered design, we created a multifaceted program to improve and simplify government-citizen interaction within the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston. With the overall goal of strengthening participation in local governance, we performed ethnographic research to gain a better understanding of the resident-government dynamic. This pivoted us towards designing for a stronger sense of community within the neighborhood, and ultimately led us to our intervention:

SCOPE

Service Design
UI/UX Design
UX Research

ROLE

Designer

YEAR

Present

YEAR

2023

A campaign and app aiming to bolster community engagement in local governance

THE
CHALLENGE

Undertake a localized version of the United Nations' sustainable design goal: strengthen participation in local governance. We focused on how the dynamic between students and permanent residents effects the community's interaction with the government. Ultimately, we developed a solution that attacks indifference toward local government through a community-centered app and service program.

Just as any service design project should, we began with ethnographic research to learn about the political participatory habits or lack thereof. This was achieved through in-person interviews and online surveys directed at both permanent residents and students. We consolidated our findings into user personas, an affinity diagram, and a user journey map displaying a common government-citizen interaction.
Visualization of our investigation provided us with three main takeaways. Our defining discovery was both group's indifference towards local government. The majority of respondents felt they didn't have enough time, wouldn't make an impact, or, don't know how to participate. The biggest obstacles to overcoming these issues were the elimination of barriers to participation, addressing the resident's problem-solving knowhow, and improving general awareness of the government's reach.
How might we empower The Mission Hill commumity to be more engaged in local governance?
Once ideation began, we immediately felt that an mobile application would be the most optimal way to improve accessibility to political engagement. However, the launch of an app alone would inevitably fail, no one would know about it or feel inclined to use it consistently. To effectively increase the participation of Mission Hill residents and, in turn, improve the neighborhood, the app must be complimented by a multifaceted plan. The campaign would attract all demographics of Mission Hill; with the main goal of building a connected community and promoting the launch of the app.
FINAL
WIREFRAMES
HI-FI
WIRE-
FRAMES

THE
OUTCOME

After the campaign concludes, Mission Help serves as a facilitator for the continued community building. It will provide residents with important information and feel highly personalized as it is specific to Mission Hill. Ideally, if similar programs were implemented throughout Boston, citizens would feel a much stronger connection to their government and to each other. Modern technology is consistently praised for its ability to connect people around the world but oftentimes makes us feel distant from those closest.