UX Design, Mentorship, and Tech for Social Good at HackHer413
What an exciting weekend our team had at HackHer413! Our team was on the scene at the first all-women (cis and trans) and non-binary students' hackathon in Western Massachusetts. We sponsored the second annual event, where we had the opportunity to meet and mentor 300 inspiring women — a diverse and impressive group of future tech leaders.
Stacie Sheldon, our Director of User Research and Experience, along with Chrissy Guertin (Frontend Designer) and Qudsia Aziz (Web Developer), facilitated an engaging workshop to kick off the first day. Her presentation, “Sketching UX: Designing a Homepage,” provided eager attendees with a blueprint for designing and creating a website. Later, Stacie and Peter Sax, our CTO, participated in “Coffee With Mentors,” providing tech career advice and guidance to attendees.
The event concluded with attendees presenting their creative technological hacks to compete for prizes in a number of categories. Our category, “Best Social Good Hack,” had almost 30 entries! It was a tough decision to select a winner, as each team presented an incredible variety of environmental, health and medical, and social tech software and hardware that they created — overnight!
In the end, we unanimously chose the team behind Ladki - a personalized wearable healthcare device. We were impressed with the teams’ social impact mission to build awareness among women about their reproductive health and help women live healthier lifestyles. We were also impressed with their use of technologies, including HTML/CSS, Python, Flask, and AI/Machine Learning. The ladies were excited to learn of their win later at the HackHer413 awards celebration. As part of their prize, they will make a donation to a women-focused charity of their choice.
We loved the opportunity to mentor such an amazingly talented group of women in tech, and to watch them collaborate to create innovative technologies. We’re excited to follow their progress beyond HackHer413.
Echo&Co and NewseumED win 2019 WebAward
Since 1997, the Web Marketing Association’s WebAwards have helped define the standards for website development. The annual international competition is judged by a team of independent Internet professionals representing a variety of relevant disciplines of Web site development. This year’s judges included members of the media, advertising executives, site designers, creative directors, corporate marketing executives, content providers and webmasters.
Entries are evaluated on the following seven criteria: Design, Innovation, Content, Technology, Interactivity, Copywriting, and Ease of use. The judges scored the NewseumED website well above the industry average in the Education and Non-Profit categories, and their remarks included the following:
"Bright, bold colors, larger, readable text in sentence case... overall a super job. Makes me want to go through some courses right off the bat."
"Well done! Nice and clean, intuitive navigation for all ages, and smart taxonomy / labeling / nomenclature. Search has real type-ahead search functionality, either based on popular searches (machine learning) and/or thorough taxonomy / content metadata. All around a nice looking site, pleasing to the eye, and interesting enough (aesthetically) to keep a child's or teen's attention which isn't all that easy to do; but FAR & ABOVE is the content (writing) throughout the site - something so many overlook - which IMO seals the deal on a 110% effort. I don't ever score all 10s but, boy, this site is about as close as it comes."
“Great job organizing a vast amount of content and making it usable. I would think educators are appreciative of this resource."
A complete list of the winning sites can be found at www.webaward.org.
We're proud to become a woman-owned B Corp!
We're excited to announce that after 15 years of practice, Echo&Co has become a woman-owned B Corp!
In April 2019, Echo&Co’s ownership transitioned from our founders, Nicco Mele, Justin Pinder, and Michael Silberman to our current leadership team, Graziella Jackson and Peter Sax. With Graziella serving as majority partner, Echo&Co becomes a woman- and veteran-owned company.
Also in April, we received certified B Corp status from B Lab. We're excited to join B Lab's growing global community of businesses committed to advancing the wellbeing of people, communities, and our natural world.
This is an important moment for our team, clients, and partners, all of whom have helped lay the foundation for this exciting transition. This change is a reflection of the relationships we have built and the work we have accomplished together over the past few years.
We thank Nicco, Justin, Michael, and all our EchoDitto and Echo&Co colleagues and clients over the years — for laying the foundation for this exciting new era. We’re proud to continue our work together applying digital technology as a powerful force for good.
You can learn more about our history, this transition, and our public benefit commitment at echo.co/about-us.
Service design mapping
Good service design is the secret ingredient behind all our experience design and development work. We like this summary from the Nielsen Norman Group:
Service design bridges such organizational gaps by:
Business models and service-design models are often in conflict because business models do not always align with the service that the organization delivers. Service design triggers thought and provides context around systems that need to be in place in order to adequately provide a service throughout the entire product’s life cycle (and in some cases, beyond).
Fostering hard conversations.
Focused discussion on procedures and policies exposes weak links and misalignment and enable organizations to devise collaborative and cross-functional solutions.
Reducing redundancies with a bird’s-eye view.
Mapping out the whole cycle of internal service processes gives companies a bird’s-eye view of its service ecosystem, whether within one large offering, or across multiple subofferings. This process helps pinpoint where duplicate efforts occur, likely causing employee frustration and wasted resources. Eliminating redundancies conserves energy, improves employees’ efficiency, and reduces costs.
Service design helps align internal service provisions like roles, backstage actors, processes, and workflows to the equivalent front-stage personnel. To come back to our initial example, with service design, information provided to one agent should be available to all other agents who interact with the same customer.
You can learn more on the NN/g website.