Snailbox

THE CHALLENGE

Create a product or service that aids people who are displaced from their homes.


THE OPPORTUNITY

How can a homeless person provide a permanent address to obtain benefits if they don’t have a home? In our discovery phase, we found that many homeless men and women like our invented persona, Jessica, feel comfortable using resources like public libraries and community centers. Since they may also have a small or nonexistent budget, we wanted to create a service that is free to use, so with this in mind, we worked toward a free service available in a public space.


The Solution

Snailbox is an alternate physical mailbox that allows people to receive mail at public spaces, and is supported by a buy-one-give-one subscription model.

Snailbox kiosks will first be placed outside of public libraries, then locations will expand to parks and other public areas. Snailbox utilizes cluster box units (CBUs) with attractive shelters to house its mail boxes. Each CBU contains a centralized lock system that can unlock individual boxes via an LCD touchscreen. A colorful attract screen serves as both an interface and as out-of-home marketing -- curious passerbys can find out how Snailbox works by pressing a “?” button.


KIOSK PROTOTYPE

MOBILE PROTOTYPE


DISCOVERY

It may seem surprising, but ninety-five percent of homeless people have cell phones. Many of them depend on cell phones as a lifeline, but they can’t afford data plans. Instead, they rely on public wifi networks to access services and communicate. That’s why a mobile-first solution is so important.

Through anonymous surveys and in-person interviews, we found that 66% of homeless people had been inconvenienced by not having a physical address.

“[I have been inconvenienced by] not receiving important, time sensitive court documents, denials for health insurance and other government benefits.” - Anonymous Female, Online Survey

“The library idea is really good because lots of homeless people use the resources there...If I was still homeless, I would use this service.” - Anonymous Male, In-Person Interview

“[I have been inconvenienced by] not receiving important, time sensitive court documents, denials for health insurance and other government benefits.” - Anonymous Female, Online Survey

Persona

  • Jessica, 26
  • Recently homeless in an unfamiliar town
  • Mother to Jayden, 5
  • Escaped abusive relationship
  • Motivated and resourceful in improving her situation

User Journey

After leaving her abusive partner, Jessica is adjusting to her new life in a new town. She never imagined being homeless, but now that she’s in that situation, she’s utilizing all the resources she can. She uses the public library to find information on Jayden’s new school, but quickly finds out that she needs a permanent mailing address to apply for enrollment and government benefits. She could use the address of the shelter where they are staying, but she’s not sure how long they can stay there, and becomes frustrated and embarrassed.

MIND MAPPING

EMOTIONAL JOURNEY

PERSONA


Project Info

Made for Information Architecture, a class focused on user research and documentation at the VCU Brandcenter, Fall 2017.

My Teammates

Katrine Limseth (Experience Design) & Missy Thieman (Experience Design)

My Roles

  • User Research
  • Concept & Documentation
  • User Flow
  • Interface & Visual Design
  • Experience Design