The YMCA is a charity that focuses on family, healthy living, and developing young people. They do this through a wide number of activities including outdoor education, children’s services, community recreation, education, youth development, early childhood education, and health and fitness.
As part of this, youth workers are required to assess and track the progress of their young people in a range of lifestyle, opportunity, health and wellness areas. Being able to demonstrate the progress their young people are making through YMCA programmes supports youth development on the frontline, but also provides measurable data that can be used to show their funders the impact the YMCA have through their various programmes.
Working face-to-face with young people (clients), youth workers need the ability to conduct interviews with them, record their answers and visualise the results. The same questions are asked several times over a number of months, so that results can be compared and the “distance travelled” measured.
The aim is twofold:
To build up a pattern of progress for the young person and allow the youth workers to assess where they can focus their attention.
To build aggregated data to demonstrate to YMCA funders the impacts of their programmes across cohorts, regions and nationally.
When the YMCA were looking around for ways in which they could manage these support services, they faced two options: either make do with an off-the-shelf solution, or to build a custom app tailored to their requirements.
With no ready made solution providing the "right fit", the decision was made to build their own app. After building a simple working prototype using the FileMaker platform, they turned to Digital Fusion to take development online and to add further features to bring the project to life.
The key requirements the YMCA came to us with were:
Manage and Profile Clients with very particular and unique information
Capture Interview Questions, Answers and Notes: the YMCA team pose varying questions to their clients over time, depending on current social and environmental factors.
Generate an “Impact Star” graph based on the current answers, plus compare this against historical data.
Ability to Export raw data that shows current trends and outcomes of work that the YMCA are performing.
Other features including needing very tight user control, the information being inputted and reported is of a very personal nature. Limiting what each YMCA team member can see and access is vitally important to keeping confidentially for their clients.
This is a solution that needed to work across all platform and devices, so we set out using FileMaker WebDirect and designing for a browser based experience primarily.
The YMCA team are able to do everything within the app via the web portal, meaning they can access it from their computers (Mac and Windows) as well as tablets (iOS and Android).
The resulting solution is a perfect fit, tailored to their needs in a simple, elegant solution. It's easy and efficient to use, yet provides YMCA workers the insight they need to help their clients grow.