Written by-Sushmita Das, Product team lead, The Apprentice Project
Moving to the social impact sector after working in the corporate world for 4+ years was an exciting new stint for me. The first thing that left me in awe when I joined TAP was the use of a chatbot in the social sector – this was not the level of technological collaboration I was expecting in the social sector.
For those who do not know, The Apprentice Project (TAP) is a not-for-profit organization working towards empowering underprivileged children in the age group of 11 to 17 years to develop 21st-century skills and thrive in the world.
TAP uses its WhatsApp chatbot (TAP Buddy) – designed, and managed by Glific developed under Project Tech4Dev (an open-source, WhatsApp based, two-way communication platform to enable impactful programs to reach communities) – to provide self-learning-based electives to students. These include Arts, STEM, Digital and Financial Literacy, thereby inculcating essential 21st-century skills such as Creativity, Problem-Solving, Communication, and Financial Skills.
This blog encapsulates the experience at my first Glific Sprint, and yes, it was at this beautiful resort in South Goa with the mesmerizing view by the Varca beach.
A representation of the Glific Sprint location
Building strong, and resourceful network
It was an enlightening experience to come across individuals working on different social problems come together and share their experiences. I met individuals from NGOs such as Quest Alliance, Arogya World, Reap Benefit, Dost Education, The Nudge, Parimal Foundation, The Key Education Foundation, etc. Learning about the way different organizations are using the Chatbot technology as per their use case was extremely useful in broadening my understanding of additional features to be able to use the technology to its full potential. This Community building exercise gave us an environment where we were able to discuss the different challenges we have faced while customizing, and developing our chatbots and how we solved them. Inter-NGO learnings helped us find solutions to similar challenges and explore new avenues of the various features offered by Glific. This also gave us scope to build a network of like-minded individuals/organizations to collaborate, and together grow in future endeavors.
I also came across Goalkeep – a data solution provider, and Ooloi Labs – a user experience design organization. This networking came to us at the right time as we have been exploring ways in which we can improve both these aspects for our product.
The sprint helped me network with very knowledgeable, and resourceful individuals who believe in helping each other build a better community.
User Experience Design
I learnt that one of the feedbacks provided by participating organizations in the previous sprints was to have a session related to user experience design to help improve the overall experience on their chatbots. The Glific team definitely heard the feedback, and incorporated a workshop by the Ooloi Labs team on Design Thinking during the sprint.
The Ooloi team in a very structured way walked us through the stages of user experience design, how understanding your user, and observing their behavior while interacting with the product can be extremely insightful in terms helping your constructive improvements to the product; I also learnt the importance of testing in the process.
The Workshop was smartly designed to help us brainstorm various aspects of the overall experience journey, from catering to how the first interaction with the chatbot maybe with someone other than the user to building a story and humanizing the messaging on the chatbot.
The workshop gave us a great platform to understand how we can make major improvements to our products even with slight changes in the way we design the experience.
What’s New Glific?
A learning experience; Exchanging ideas
Just like the magician does, the Glific team pulled out some amazing new features from their magician’s hat. As we explore user research the team brought us an A/B testing feature that will help us conveniently test new features or designs on user samples and analyze the results quickly to make product improvement decisions more efficient. An extensive use of this feature is definitely gonna help us make significant progress in understanding what works or does not work for the users of our specific industry.
The version 5 of the internal dashboard comes with a lot of metrics that would come handy for faster decision making, and analytics. The session was helpful in discussing, and sharing the common metrics that could be helpful data points across NGOs.
The Glific Sprint Experience
The Glific Sprint was not only an exciting experience for the technology nerd brain but also one for your soul with the breathtaking view by Varca beach, accompanied by water-sport, sunset & sunrise walks, great food, and of course the infamous TT table – a gentle heads-up, beware of Erica in your next TT game. The Tech4Dev team managed to create a warm hospitable experience for my first technology sprint!