Realtime event discovery app

Look Awhile

My Role

Lead Designer 

Team

L & L Software (4 team 

members)

Product Type

Mobile app

Industry

business information, social

Timeline

1 month

Tools
Problem

Millions of U.S. residents that are eligible for citizenship status changes are unable to accomplish this on their own due to USCIS documents not available in their native language. This leaves them to either not complete the documents and run into legal trouble or seek the help of immigration law firms that can potentially charge thousands of dollars for their services, which is an unreasonable fee for most of these individuals.

Solution

Our answer to this complex problem was two fold: 1) create a pdf translation engine that empowers translators to quickly & efficiently convert a pdf document into any language, 2) Provide that document to users in an easily accessible survey format via a mobile app. These two components would work together in empowering the temporary residents to complete these life altering documents.

Background

Look Awhile is a collaboration between several Phoenix business owners that had procured angel funding and had an exclusive partnership with a livestreaming hardware company.  Their business was founded on the idea of helping create more informed bar hoppers by giving them a live stream of venues in their area.  With access to hundreds of potential partners the company aimed to become the facebook of venue livestreaming. 

Outcomes

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic this project has been temporarily sidelined. MBL was in the process of seeking out grants but was unable to secure funding and therefore had to put this project on pause.

User Challenges

Before considering what a solution would look like it was important that we understood the challenges non-citizen residents are facing. Fortunately, one of the founders of MBL is also the director of Fuerza Local Arizona, a non-profit organization dedicated to “strengthening local communities and economies through the support, maintenance, and celebration of local businesses throughout the state of Arizona.” She helped the team understand that part of the challenges they often face when dealing with business owners and aspiring business owners that aren’t legal citizens or only have green cards for working in the U.S. In their attempts to help these prospective business owners gain a certain citizenship status they often faced the following challenges when working with applicants:​

  • Difficulty determining what documents are required of them. The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services website has thousands of documents spread across hundreds of application process, many of which have crossover requirements and special forms that are not outlines for the users.

 

  • Knowing what are the pre-qualifications for applying.

  • Understanding the documents. All of the pdf forms on the USCIS website are in English ONLY.

  • Financial burdens. For many applicants they end up using private legal services to help them make sense of the forms, which can end up costing them potentially thousands of dollars.

Market Demand / Social Impact

13.3m

Permanent Residents
that need card renewals

8.8m

Eligible to become citizens

1.5m

Students eligible for DACA

What do users want?

In order to better understand what feature set would be of most value to a user attempting to complete USCIS documents, we surved over 300 anonymous potential users from the Fuerza Local customer list.

User Journey

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic this project has been temporarily sidelined. MBL was in the process of seeking out grants but was unable to secure funding and therefore had to put this project on pause.

6. Email & Submit Application

Once the application is complete there will be a document review option, an email document option, and an option to have the documents reviewed by a professional.

5. Document Wizard

A user will then be lead through a series of questions that are broken up based on document type.  If they are stuck or unable to answer help options should be available.

4. Account Creation

A user will then create an account.  This information will also but used to populate some of the application questions.  

3. Prescreening

For each process there will be a prescreening that is pass/fail.  If they are qualified they can move forward. This is a 1-2 minute survey.

2. Choose Process

Once they have selected their language they need to select the application process.  They will have the option to choose from citizenship, greencard renewal and DACA processes.

1. Langauge Selection

MBL users come from a variety of backgrounds and are using this app to access documents in their native language.  Therefore, the first thing a user should do is select their language preference.

Designing the App

In order to better tackle the UI of the app I first built a user flow based on the storyboarding session we had with the team and stakeholders.  This helped me understand gain an abstract visual of the user goals before diving in. 

Issue 1: Handling Prescreenings

The USCIS has there own stipulations for what they require in order to proceed with the application processes, but these questions are buried in the documentation and can be missed if you're aren't aware of the requirements.  I therefore created a simple survey wizard that includes these questions in a user-friendly approach with larger "yes/no" buttons and simplified language.  I also included helpful popups to assist users in self-identifying potential issues. 

Issue 2: Saving & Tracking Progress

One of the most important features of the app is the ability to save and track progress.  However, up to the prescreening we allow users to navigate without a login.  So, at this point I added a signup features and a small progress tracker to give the user a glimpse of where they're at in the process. 

More to Come...

As mentioned above, this project has been put on hold due to lack of funding that stalled at the onset of the Corona Virus outbreak.  It was a passion project for us and one that we had hoped would make a real impact for this underserved community. However, several individuals working on the project pro bono (myself included) had to step back from MBL in order to focus on our families and other income earning opportunities.