Youth Program Registry

Data Visualization & Reporting Application

Partners

Lindsay Shelmire (Program Manager)
Jenica Cruz (Visual Design & Branding)

My Role

User Experience Design
Content & Data Strategy
Copywriting
Branding

Introduction

Young people’s education doesn’t stop when the school day ends. Over the past several years, School’s Out Washington and the Raikes Foundation have worked with a variety of youth-serving organizations and public sector partners to identify gaps and needs across the state of Washington, to build quality momentum, and to ensure that all youth have equitable access to high-quality Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs).

 

Problem Space

Currently, youth-serving program data is not being collected in a consistent format, and thus, there is no way to analyze statewide data. Furthermore, quality assessments and training are available from a variety of resources, measured from different points of view, and the data is stored in a variety of locations. In order to build a strong case for funding and/or education reform, we need accurate, data-driven insights into the field of Expanded Learning, and a common metric for quality.

 

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Challenge

School’s Out Washington and the Raikes Foundation asked 8ninths to help create a point of future alignment for the growing field of Expanded Learning. Their vision was a web application that would provide a common destination for organizations, programs, expanded learning professionals, and quality coaches to maintain and analyze their data. In addition, this tool could integrate with existing quality assessment reports, and increase awareness and utilization of the available quality assessment and training services for all registered users.

 

Solution

The Youth Program Registry is a free tool—a comprehensive, secure database supporting expanded learning opportunities, youth development professionals, and quality information for Washington State. Ease of use will make or break the adoption of the tool, so our team worked to consolidate data requirements for registration to meet the needs of a variety of user types. To streamline user flows, we designed to incorporate data automations wherever possible, and worked closely with the development team to empower users to maintain data points to which they were most closely aligned.

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Application Features

Complete & Comprehensive Data

The Youth Program Registry captures the full picture of Washington’s organizations, sites, programs, staff and quality data. Youth Program professionals and advocacy partners alike gain visibility into program offerings and opportunity gaps across the state.

Quality Assessments & Coaching

Organizations enroll to receive quality assessments and dedicated coaching. Appropriate parties can view quality reports and scores, set goals to customize their unqiue quality improvement plan, and track their progress over time.

Data Visualization & Analytics

Reports and visualizations can be generated for programs, sites, and organizations including quality progress, program offerings, staffing or resourcing gaps, and more. Data empowers organizations to build a stronger case for grant support to build quality.

Automated Data Maintenance

A complex tree of system access requirements works behind the scenes to send notifications and alerts to the appropriate users for data maintenance. Administrators and staff work together with a system of checks and balances to protect data integrity.

Process

Over the course of 8 months, Lindsay and I led bi-weekly meetings with a team of 15+ stakeholders to strategize for data and content management, define common user groups and access rules, design user flows, present 300+ wire-framed pages, and test low-fidelity prototypes of various user flows.

 

 

User Research & Scenarios

In close partnership with our client and stakeholders, we identified as many individual user types as might access the tool or its reports. Mapping out a variety of user scenarios, data maintenance dependencies, and system access requirements, we narrowed our multitude of personas down to 5 immediate user groups: Super Admins, Org Admins, Site Admins, Staff and Quality Coaches.

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Information Architecture & User Flows

Each user must create an account, self-identify as part of one of the key user groups, and register as appropriate. Our hierarchy of users was key to defining rules of engagement:

  • Staff maintain their own data.
  • Site Admins maintain their sites and staff.
  • Org Admins maintain all sites and staff therein.
  • And finally, the Super Admin is responsible to all parties involved, including overall maintenance of the tool itself.

The ultimate challenge was to balance the needs for user adoption and data integrity. This would be a new tool entering the field, among many others (albeit less comprehensive). So it was crucial not to demand too much information in the registration process, but to reserve some data gathering for timed requirements once users had opted in. With data collecting from different entry points (upon registration and within the dashboard), we designed a system of checks and balances between users, to validate these incoming data points, and prompt users to renew any out of date information.

With the logistics of user flows and requirements for data sets locked down, we were able to begin mapping these to a navigation structure and modular content blocks. Because data could be updated at any time, it was important to the client for the registration applications to be easily accessible in their original form. So we treated each user group as its own directory, (Organizations, Sites, and Staff), wherein users could search a comprehensive listing, identify specific profiles, and then view, validate or edit. Other modules, (Quality, Reporting, and Coaching), were designed to pull data points from these directories as needed, but served other primary functions.

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We designed unique user views for the home module, customized to highlight required tasks, provide shortcuts, and educate the user on system capabilities.

Wireframes & Rapid Prototyping

With approval from the client on our content and interaction structure, we moved onto wireframe prototypes to test individual flows and unique exceptions:

  • Create Account & Password Recovery
  • Self-Identify & Corresponding Registration
  • Approval Flows for Incoming Applications
  • Internal Tool Data Maintenance Flows
  • Pull 3rd party quality data, view and compare quality
  • Generate Data Visualizations & Reports

 

High Fidelity Mockups & Redlines

In the final month of our process, Jenica joined the team to lead visual design and assist in building a universal web style guide for final pass off to development. We kicked off with a brand envisioning meeting, gathering feedback on the look and feel of a variety of dashboard tools. Again, user adoption and ease of use was the client’s top concern, so we emphasized the need for strong contrast for legibility and navigation cues, and a soothing but lively color palette to lighten the impression of all those forms!