I couldn't bring myself to unsubscribe from my church's email newsletter but never really read it.
ok, so why??
This is what started the journey to creating Aware
Come to find out there was a little sub-conscience monkey business going on with my lack of interest in the emails. Due to the hurried nature of most of our lives, we tend to jump around information input methods quickly; Phone, to message, to facebook, to TV, back to facebook, etc.
The emails were full of things that were VERY important... to other people.
I don't have kids. I know they are the future and many programs and classes need to be devoted to their education and well being, I really believe that. But when most of the time the newsletter is 2/3 about kids programs (which it needs to be) it doesn't pass my "do I need to read this" filter. (I'm sure in your life, a similar "doesn't apply to me" subject has been presented to you in an email newsletter)
So I found myself "changing the channel" before ever really looking at them because I knew there was a low chance that any of it applied to me.
So then I thought:
"Why does the church choose to put this stuff in the email anyway?"
The short answer is, it's a numbers game. They need to to tell the largest number of people the things that apply to the largest number of people, with a very limited set of communications tools.
- There's only so many slides you can put up on Sunday morning
(that may be ignored)
- There's only so much you can fit into a paper bulletin
(that may just turn into a doodle pad)
- There's a very limited number of verbal announcements that can be made
(otherwise the masses revolt because they're missing their lunch and/or game)
SO.... the result is: Most of the people in my church have kids... so I get emails about kids stuff. I don't match the "largest number of people" requirement. Which is really no one's fault.
To the thinking wall!
With a pile of sticky notes, sharpies, and dry erase markers in hand, I went to town on my living room wall. The problems were identified by asking friends about their experience with emails, slides, and other announcements in their own churches.
After several days of batting around ideas, it became apparent a mobile app was needed. Mainly because of the magic of Push Notifications. Also, because nearly everyone I know has a smart phone. After some statistical research, I discovered that's the case with nearly everyone, everywhere (in the US).
So we need to meet the people where they are: their phone
Since we're starting with a blank slate of an app, let's use ideas and terminology that people will be used to. So we borrowed ideas and terms that will feel familiar. No need to reinvent the wheel (I'm so ready for someone to actually reinvent the wheel, so that's not a phrase anymore).
How do we make sure this doesn't turn into the time-sucking mess that most social media platforms have become?
That's where the journey into User Experience started (also called UX). By empathizing with many different types of users, we started to assemble a useful set of creation tools, for the people working at the churches, and a clean simple app for viewing the announcements.
By giving the user the choice of what's important to them, the content that floats by will be interesting.