The Scouts Association
Scouts Movement

Innovating an open-source web app to help volunteers improve their digital skills

01 Where it all started

COVID-19 has affected Scouts' face to face support which has led to the development of an online based Scout programme. It became clear that the transition to such online support delivery is challenging due to the requirement of using unfamiliar technology and a lack of confidence when engaging in a socially distanced / digital way.

This was not only a challenge facing The Scout Association, but something all charities and organisations with volunteers have come up against, at a time when the need of charities and volunteers is more important than ever.

02 Where we came in

The collaboration was made possible by CAST and the National Lottery Community Fund. This fund is aimed at organisations whose work has been affected by COVID-19 and who need emergency funding to continue to deliver essential services. It supports them to develop the digital, data and design capabilities that allow them to address urgent issues and serve the most vulnerable.

We were appointed to embark on an intense 10-week period that would go through design thinking, prototyping and an eventual alpha product to offer the best possible support for volunteers, especially for those with limited digital skills.

No items found.

03 What we delivered

1.0 Creating a digital assessment tool

Working with The Scout Association and a fantastic team of their volunteers, we devised a framework that formed the engine of a simple quiz based around the core areas of volunteering - from setting up events to managing finances.

With multiple flows and routes triggered based on the user's answers, we were able to provide a digital confidence score along with a curated list of recommended skills for the user to learn, getting them started on their digital journey.

2.0 Providing a tailored free digital course to suit each user's distinct needs

Based on the assessment work, we devised a system to present each user with their own tailor made course with recommended activities and skills to meet their volunteering duties.

Throughout design a key focus was always to ensure the tool empowered users, and did not add to their stress. Across user journeys, prototyping and user testing we continually challenged ourselves on this. In the app users are able to regularly unlock achievements and see in real time their digital skills improving, encouraging them to keep learning.

3.0 Developing a bespoke content management system to always keep resources relevant

Our aim is always to enable our clients to have an app that they can change without the need for further development work. This was a particular challenge for a tool like this that is very dependent on up to date skills and resources.

We developed a bespoke content management system enabling organisation account holders to update, add, delete and organise skills and activities, making sure they have the exact content their volunteers need.

4.0 Building for an open source world

This problem is a problem so many charities and volunteer-based organisations are facing across the UK and globally. Working closely with The Scout Association we designed and built a product that could be open source, with the codebase and clear documentation enabling any organisation to use the tool and build on it further for their communities.

Importantly this though is done without compromising the security and privacy for The Scout Association and their users. All sensitive information was protected and as always we followed best practice for privacy led design.

The team at Yalla were fantastic, they really took the time to understand the outcomes we wanted to achieve and to understand how we work – in particular working directly with volunteers on the project team.

Simon, Joe and Jem were flexible and supportive, taking the lead on the UX design, development and project management. They came up with creative solutions to the challenges and created a brilliant ALPHA product for our digital skills tool which is now ready for user testing. The timescales – due to funding restrictions – were really tight and they worked flat out to hit the deadline!

Thanks Yalla!

Rachel Wilkinson
Product Manager