Computers2Kids: A Mobile Application to better enable low-income families to gain access to C2K’s resources

Spring 2021
Develop for Good is an intercollegiate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that pairs, trains and supports student volunteers as they develop technical product solutions for nonprofits. Some of our most notable partners include UNICEF, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. Learn more at https://www.developforgood.org/!

Project Summary
Our multidisciplinary international team worked with Computers2Kids (C2K) to develop a mobile application for low-income families and individuals to get access to low-cost computers and maintain communication with C2K for tech support requests, order statuses, and other appointments.

To more effectively serve their existing 30,000 customers, Computers2Kids
approached us with the goal of creating a mobile application that digitally
streamlines their current process for customers applying for a computer to receiving it. Before the mobile application, customers utilized Google Forms, email, and the non-profit’s website to access their account information, apply for computers, and communicate with C2K.

Therefore, the goal of our mobile application is to improve the experience and efficiency of these tasks by allowing customers to perform them in one centralized platform, personalized to their specific user profiles.

The Team

Product Managers

Allyson Ko (Design Lead) — UC Davis ‘20

Janine Bariuan (Development Lead) — UT Austin ‘21

Designers

Emily Wu — UIUC ‘21

Elizabeth Meier — Penn State ‘22

Michelle Lam — UCLA ‘21

Sharad Bhagwat — UC San Diego ‘21

Tim Lau

Developers

Antonella Colon — Universidad de Puerto Rico — Recinto de Mayaguez ’20

Ayana Griffin, Stanford University ‘25

Eunice Oh — San Jose State University ‘22

Prashant Pandey — Indian Institute of Information Technology Bhopal ’22

Ramiz Faragella — CUNY College of Staten Island ‘21

Rishik Lad — Dartmouth College ‘22

Rongrong (Lori) Liu — UC San Diego ‘21

Su Min Kim — Rutgers University ‘22

William Lee — City College of New York ‘21

Managing Director
Tran Le — Stanford University ‘

The Challenge

After learning about their existing business and the user’s journey, we decided to build their mobile app experience where customers can…

  • apply to become a C2K customer depending on their income, family members, and needs
  • login to their accounts to access and stay updated on their order statuses and tech support requests
  • order computers and choose billing payments (prepaid in full or partial, or pay during a pickup appointment)
  • request for tech support (in person or on the phone)
  • update their personal information and order statuses if needed

For Computers2Kids, we wanted to

  • make it easy to keep track of their customers’ requests and information
  • establish a design system for consistent visual design (especially for future designers and developers maintaining the app)
  • design a platform using a minimal budget and including all the features they desired
  • keeping the customers in mind, which are primarily low-income, predominantly Spanish-speaking families
  • write production-quality code and design a quality system capable of handling 30,000 customer usage

Our Solution

Our team worked for 6 months to build the end-to-end mobile customer application, from ideation to beta deployment. The timeline began with researching and understanding Computers2Kids’ existing business model, and how our app will solve their pain points. After mockups, wireframes, usability testing, and visual design, the developers would code the full-stack (front-end and back-end) application.

Design

The designers analyzed other mobile applications and similar companies for inspiration on the mobile application’s visual & interaction design. Simultaneously, they developed a service blueprint to understand Computers2Kids’ existing manually laborious process to request and receive a computer and created design solutions to minimize frustrations and establish a smooth service design.

Based on their research, the designers developed the flow of the app and designed multiple wireframe iterations. Then they conducted moderated testing with a target audience through online tools, received feedback from the non-profit on the designs, information, and flow, and created the visual design based off of the non-profit’s existing branding.

We created a final prototype including a UI styling guide and design system consistent visual design and handed it off to the developers to code.

Development

While the designers worked on creating the wireframes, the developers took the time to build the application architecture and infrastructure. To achieve creating a cross-platform mobile application for both Android and iOS devices, we decided to develop using React Native for the front-end. Our back-end development consisted of creating an Express.js Node.js framework) application using REST API, PostgreSQL and Salesforce as our database, and Heroku as our server. Additionally, libraries such as Redux and AsyncStorage were integrated to handle state within the application.

At the end of the Spring Cycle, we met our goal of publishing beta versions of the application to both the Google Play Store and App Store.

Below are some mockups of the delivered product*

Our Impact

Computers2Kids now plans on launching the application nationally, starting off with local low-income areas to test the product.

Our work on the mobile application helps low-income families get better access to a computer at home, especially after the COVID19 pandemic hit. With a streamlined application and client interface, Computers2Kids can continue to expand their social-good work with an already exisiting 30,000 customers from San Diego, Arizona, and Nevada to nationwide and worldwide. Learn more about Computers2Kid’s work here.