Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.

Describe your Webby-nominated project. What’s the elevator pitch?

To create a tool to help parents, particularly from multi-risk families, to create a home environment that will meet their young children’s emotional and educational needs.

Why this particular cause as the subject of your project/campaign? Was there a moment that inspired it?

Each year 60,000 children in Australia, mostly from disadvantaged families, arrive unprepared for their first day at school with 22% of children in Victoria classed as "developmentally vulnerable" in one or more domains.

What concerns were there about pursuing this idea? How did you get past them?

Learning from our past experience in working with not-for-profit organisations and government bodies, we note that it is common to see resistance from multi-risk families (our target audience) to new resources provided to them. To overcome this, we were able to engage with a group of at-risk families (who are already engaging with Save the Children) and involve them in a co-design and user testing process throughout the project. This process has allowed us to provide our audience with early exposure to the resources, ask questions, give feedback, and more importantly, develop familiarity to the app prior to its completion and launch.

What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project? What did you learn in the process that you didn't know/expect going into it?

The most rewarding aspect was having a client that fully trusted in our process and believes in users' contributions to influence the outcome of the project. Going into the project, as a team we didn't expect the breadth and depth of research involved behind Abecederian Approach initiatives that will need to be seamlessly translated into interactive games within the app. Having the opportunity to work with Prof. Joe Sparling, the pioneer of the approach, helped us to make informed decisions on how we structure the content and activities in the app.

What real-world impact were you hoping to make with this project? Did the real-world impact meet your expectations?

Our end goal is to encourage improved interaction between parents of multi-risk families and their children, and ultimately promote improved psychosocial wellbeing. Evidence has shown that early education support using the Abecedarian Approach in the first 5 years of life results in a long-lasting impact for at-risk and vulnerable children. We and Save the Children are thrilled to have seen our core audience quickly adopt and regularly use the app, and for the app to be picked up by playgroups and childcares statewide as a main educational resource that they promote to new parents.

Did your team have a specific “breakthrough” or “a-ha” moment while formulating or executing this project?

Families with multiple and complex needs are likely to have difficulties meeting the needs of their children and parenting effectively due to various challenges. Despite these pre-assumptions, through our user engagement and co-design process with our focus group, we learned that they are equally, if not more invested in spending time and building relationship with their children as well as adding value to their relationships. This insight helped to form our approach on designing the visual concept of the Day by Day app; structuring the game activity as moments that occurred throughout the day.

Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?

Yes. Following research into the target audience’s behaviour, attitudes, and motivations, we understood that an interactive mobile app that features a series of games would be the best medium to reach and engage our target audience. Mobile phones are ubiquitous and always on hand, and the app has been designed so that it does not rely on the users to have any mobile data.

What was the most significant challenge that arose during your work on this?

The Abecedarian Approach is distributed and taught in many different contexts, with over 200 activities that can be incorporated to a daily routine. From our research, we found that parents are already feeling overwhelmed with the volume of information they need to know before and after birth which contributes to the resistance to adopt new resources. In delivering the Day by Day app, we had to carefully curate the experience, content, and activities included in the app. We did this in collaboration with Professor Joe Sparling (the pioneer of the Approach) over a four-month period to ensure that the app experience and content meets the intended purpose without losing the essence of approach.

How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?

At Deepend, we are driven by the motivation to make a difference in people's lives. Over the years, we have worked extensively in the not-for-profit sector to design and develop platforms that reach people who are vulnerable, raise awareness of social issues, support mental health and wellbeing, and more. Whilst technology has enabled us to create products and connect people in various ways, we put a huge emphasis on human-centred design, open data, and transparency in the way we work and the products we create.

Credits

  • Creative Director Andrew Isaac Deepend
  • Account Manager Elizabeth Croger Deepend
  • Producer Marcellina Mardian Deepend

About the Family & Kids category

Apps and sites developed for mobile that feature interactive content, games, education, or tools specifically for children and families.