We are a group of citizens who assembled at the Pittsburgh Civic Hackathon to make it easier to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in PA. We had recognized significant usability challenges in the state's official web platform. To begin, we are focusing on Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh. We also have a simple vaccine appointment system that can be used by vaccine distribution sites. If you would like to volunteer on our team, let us know!
In software development,
presents an important set of principles for understanding the domain in which software will be used.
As a primary design criteria, the software objects, including consistently used names, need to align closely with the concepts and terms used in that domain by practitioners around the time the software is created.
Tech Serving Society, the new nonprofit housing this project, aims to go a step further into Humane-Driven Design, where the primary design criteria is a consideration of the people who will be impacted by use of the technology (whether they are using it themselves or not). We consider this to be a subfield of "Human-Centered Computing."
In addition to the pro-social benefits this strategy can bring, we also believe that wider adoption of humane-driven design principles could have significant business impacts; there are too many stories about clunky user experience design with costs that can be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars.
This first project was motivated by an example situation where the status quo clearly fell short of adequately considering the user experience, especially among the target audience. This cost life-years of frustration. Because the frustrating user experience led some people to give up on vaccination altogether, this failure to incorporate humane-driven design principles may have even cost some lives entirely, just a time when a pandemic that took far too many lives far too soon should have been reminding us of the precious value we should be assigning to each hour of health and life.
This is our first project, but we believe this particular need will at some point be solved, and plenty of other similarly addressable needs are out there. We won't be able to address all of them, but hope to be able to address some. Through these projects we hope to more fully develop, demonstrate, and disperse the principles of humane-driven design, beyond just the projects we focus on as an organization.
To help guide us in selecting future projects, we will in the words of team inspiration and local social-impact tech entrepreneur Leah Lizarondo, aim to "SOLVE THAT ONE "SMALL" THING THAT CAN MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE."
Our mission is providing public benefit through usable technology interfaces, easing access to information and services available through government agencies and other for-profit and non-profit nongovernmental organizations, with a special focus on underserved communities. As above, if you would like to volunteer on our team, let us know!