Designing Feedback Systems in Care Organisations

Timeframe: 2015-2019

This project being led by Andy Dow (a Digital Civics CDT doctoral student) is studying the role of digital feedback in voluntary sector and not-for-profit care organisations. Since the summer of 2014, we have been conducting research with different care organisations and public service providers looking at the ways feedback is gathered from service users and the impact that has on improving, redesigning and commissioning their services. The research has highlighted how important feedback is in the care sector, especially for those entities providing care at a community or not-for-profit level. The collection of feedback is critical to such organisations understanding how their service users gain or benefit from what they provide, while also providing invaluable insight with which to develop project ideas and funding proposals. However, the limited human resources, and the challenges many care service users have in giving their own feedback, act as a significant barrier to collecting and, most importantly, actioning it.

The systems we designed in response to these observations – ThoughtCloud and Appraise – are feedback platforms that allows service users to input into the ongoing redesign of services in different ways. ThoughtCloud allows an organisation’s staff and volunteers to collect digital feedback quickly either at the end of sessions or events they run or at the point of service delivery, and provides a secure means for accessing and reviewing feedback afterwards. It is designed to be very simple and lightweight to deploy; it is essentially a touch-screen tablet on a stick, and provides three very simple and low-barrier-to-entry methods for giving feedback in response to a question set by the staff or volunteers: a likert scale, a voice comment, or a short video. Appraise differs in that service users more explicitly direct the collection of content, setting questions to ask each other and documenting experiences of using services and visiting facilities via a mobile application through creating photos, videos and other media. The intention behind Appraise is to create rich multi-media reports that form part of participatory evaluations of services. These two systems are currently undergoing use and evaluations with different care organisations and groups of young people with disabilities.