Tackling food poverty - small groups vs big campaign

Posted on 21 August, 2020

This week...

  • Insights from user research 

  • Our new homepage design v1 is now live

  • Infrastructure changes - the blue/green deploy promised land

  • Tackling food poverty - small groups vs big campaign 

Our vision 

For people that care about their community 

Who want to join forces to get things done  

Co-operate is a national community centre for co-operation  

That connects people in and across communities with one another to make things happen 

Unlike a physical community centre restricted by geography and funding, or a community digital platform distracted by monetisation  

Our product is created with communities, for communities, and is owned by communities

Read more on our updated About page. 

This week in numbers 

📊 Total sessions are up by +14% (1,944 vs 1,705) week on week (WOW). This uplift is due to emails being sent out to let people know their groups were now live on the site, in turn increasing the number of returning users by +20%.  

🙋 People are asking for support with looking after mental health and getting fit. Results from our survey ‘How did you get support during lockdown’ revealing people have understandably felt stressed, tired and scared. The add your group form remains the most popular page, with the groups being added reflecting these needs: 

  • Help and support (1255 groups) 

  • Health and mental wellbeing (787 groups) 

Top insights from user testing with community organisers last week 

Last week we carried out remote research with organisers over Zoom and tested: 

  • the new homepage 

  • our new login 

  • adding a group and activity 

  • profile management 

  • editing the site  

There was lots of positive feedback and excitement about being part of the platform.  

The biggest struggle in completing the form to add your group, was completing the sentences. You had to start with a lowercase letter, and end with a full stop. We had people wanting to end with a smiley face, or an exclamation mark. One participant started with ‘BBQ,’ and for the rest, their mobile automatically capitalised the first letter of their sentence.   

There was a bit of confusion around language. Some participants weren’t clear on the difference between group and activity. None of the participants knew what a Member Pioneer or a Local cause were.   

There are quite a few quick changes we can make to the form, to make completing it as easy as possible. For us, this feedback is unbelievably helpful. It helps us continue to make Co-operate better and better. 

📅This week we ran remote testing with group and activity participants to see how they interact with our new features and prototype. We’ll report back next week on what we find. 

Our new homepage design is now live 

This week we launched our new landing page designs, including a fresh new homepage.    

The new landing pages feature the amazing photos we received from organisers who use Co-operate. This version of the design is our first step towards the new design direction, making Co-operate feel closely aligned to the rest of the Co-op websites.   

The final design direction received lots of praise in our user research sessions this week. Without being prompted, people described the look and feel as “fresh, bright, and clear.”   

Over the coming weeks, the first part of the design refresh will start appearing across the rest of the site. Next, we'll be adding the colourful ‘shapes and marks’ to really bring the designs to life. 

Infrastructure changes - the blue/green deploy promised land 

When we first got started with the back-end API for co-operate volunteering we were happy to push new updates to the existing stack. 

As complexity in the back-end grows changes need to be made a bit more carefully. 

To this end we've been working on a lightweight blue / green deployment (https://martinfowler.com/bliki/BlueGreenDeployment.html) alongside other features to make production deployments reliable for the long term. 

We've been using this technique in our dev pipeline for the last few weeks to test it out.  

On Wednesday we deployed the last few weeks' worth of feature development using the new system with no downtime and no issues.  

Looking forward to getting back to much more regular deployments! 

Tackling food poverty – small groups vs big campaign 

Co-op's campaign to tackle food poverty launches next week asking our Members and Customers to donate and volunteer to help tackle the issue. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had an increase in related groups being added to Co-operate looking for volunteers and a place to spread their message. The plan is to include Co-operate in the campaign to help get more volunteers supporting these groups. 

However, last week when reaching out to a few organisers we heard nervousness around the number of volunteers the campaign might generate and their capacity to support a large influx. This is interesting as we hear finding volunteers is one of the biggest problems but can understand that many grassroot community groups have never been backed by a major retailer. 

Out of courtesy (and curiosity) we sent all groups tackling food poverty and needing volunteers an email informing them about the campaign and that they might experience an uplift. It will be interesting to see what happens when Co-op turn the marketing tap on and the effects this has on local groups.  

We’ve positioned ‘being Co-op backed’ as one of our value propositions and we’ve heard that’s one reason why organisers add their group or activity to Co-operate.

Have a great weekend 👋

The Co-operate team 

Posted by Jen on 21 August, 2020

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