Post update: The app is now finished and live, you can read about it in our Nelson's Journey Case Study.
Nelson’s Journey are a fantastic charity, based right here in Norfolk. They are dedicated to supporting children and young people through times of bereavement, offering a range of services tailored to the needs of each individual they work with, whether it’s one-to-one support or an activity-filled weekend.
Memory jars are just one of the many ways Nelson's Journey help bereaved youngsters.
Nelson’s Journey know that grief affects individuals in a variety of ways, and the range of emotions that children and young people can feel at a time of bereavement spans from sadness, anger, anxiety, confusion, guilt and abandonment - each a normal grief reaction, but one which can affect the youngster’s ability to function as they did before, be it at school or at home.
The Eureka Moment!
The idea for a Nelson’s Journey app was the brainwave of their very own Youth Panel. The charity are keen on involving young volunteers, knowing that they can help to “…Make our services the best they can be for the bereaved children and young people we are passionate about helping and supporting”.
This voice of youth are comprised of twelve 11-17 year olds who offer not only their opinions and views, but also new concepts, and it was back in April 2012 that three members of the team expressed the desire for a Smartphone app. These individuals had previously received support from the staff at Nelson’s Journey, and the birth of the ideas for the app’s usability stemmed from their personal experiences.
Their wish was for an interactive app which enabled bereaved young people to have a platform to remember their special person(s), as well as for addressing their feelings and emotions. Following research it became clear to the charity that such a resource does not currently exist.
The Children In Need Grant
The great news is that Nelson’s Journey have received support from BBC Children In Need via their Small Grants programme, which is annual funding available for charities and not-for-profit organisations, where a relatively small amount of money can make a big difference for children and young people.
This grant has indeed had a huge positive impact on Nelson’s Journey - they set the ball rolling with us at Selesti and now the ideas of the Youth Panel are coming to life, virtually of course!
What’s more, thanks to the grant approval, Nelson’s Journey have earned themselves a mention on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra's Children In Need features.
Tech Spec And Testing
The app aims to help to normalise many of the strong feelings and emotions that bereaved youngsters experience, it will offer comfort in knowing that other young people will also be accessing this resource, and aid their grief process by creating records of memories, and offering tips.
The initial ideas have progressed into design concepts and a functional specification, and the Youth Panel have been heavily involved with crucial stages of the development to create their interactive tool; set to benefit an estimated 500+ young people aged 5 to 18.
Thanks to prototyping tool InVision, Selestians have formed a close working relationship with the Youth Panel and the Nelson's Journey team. Using InVision's design prototyping we have been able to share our work with the panel as if it were live, so as that they can click through pages and get the full experience of the app. It also allows contributors to comment directly on the design making providing feedback much easier.
What’s more the app is set to have a wonderfully appealing look. Our very own Designer, Lead UX Developer, and team of developers have joined forces with local animator Kris Lavington Woods to make this app as user-friendly and engaging as can be; and with testing being carried out by the Youth Panel themselves, nothing less than perfect will do!
Coming Soon To An App Store Near You
The app is set to launch in Spring2015, and will be available on iOS, free of charge from the App Store. In the meantime, head here to find out how you can get involved, help this fantastic charity, or make a referral to receive their support.