MOPD Hub

How might we help parents of children with differing abilities navigate the Chicago Public School system when they are moving to Chicago?

w/ City of Chicago

Categories

Government, Bluesky Project, Service Design

Task

Chicago Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) is redesigning Chicago services and Chicago brand identity. Jason Kunesh, the Direct of Design at the City of Chicago, asked us, the Lakeside Studio, to explore how to design for service discovery.

Action

Student Design Researcher:

#1 Problem Scoping, #2 Design Research, #3 Concept Testing

Outcome

  • Presented to the City of Chicago our research and aspirational concepts

  • Research findings are carried on to various projects, including a student project at DePaul and the Chicago Design System that is newly unveiled on Chicago's 183rd birthday

Project Time

3 months (Jan - Mar 2019)

#1 Problem Scope

Studio Structure

We were the Lakeside Studio, an 18-student consultancy in collaboration with The City of Chicago, Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT). We are given the task to explore how to welcome new residents to Chicago and design for service discovery. We split into four teams, each looked at a unique user group.

My Team's Problem Scope
DoIT asked our team to look into welcoming people with disabilities who are moving to Chicago. Our first goal is to scope it down to a feasible 3-month project. In our initial research, we explored the accessibility of Chicago transportation
 services (e.g. CTA), housing services, and education services (e.g. CPS). We learned that CTA and housing services involve a lot of existing physical infrastructures, such as elevators, and would require a longer timeline for change. Thus, we decided to focus on welcoming parents of children with disabilities to the Chicago Public School. We dug into how parents, students, teachers, and government officials interact in the complex Chicago Public School system.

#2 Research Findings

#1 Insight

Diverse Levels of Parent Engagement

Different types and severity of disabilities, age ranges, socio-economic backgrounds, distance from school, and other factors all lead to very different needs and levels of engagement that the parents and their kids have with CPS. For example, parents of elementary school kids are usually more active than those of high school kids. Another example is that some parents are very involved and want to be in the process of adjusting their kids' special education plan, while others prefer the school to figure out what is best for their children. These different levels of parent engagement can make it difficult for special ed teachers to share and deliver CPS services to all parents.

#2 Insight

Combative & Isolating Process of Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

In our research, we heard a lot about the challenges parents face when applying for an IEP, which can take around 1.5 years. Many parents feel like they have to figure it out on their own, from calling a conference with school teachers, to submitting a great amount of paperwork, all the way to making the IEP and re-evaluating the IEP. In the process, parents often feel like they need to prove the needs of their kids. The process feels combative and isolating, instead of collaborative. (See IEP Journey Map here.)

#3 Insight

Higher Barriers to Form Community at a Non-Neighborhood Specialized School

Different from a typical public school that is neighborhood-based, a specialized school has students who are referred from different neighborhoods. It becomes more difficult for families that live far away from the specialized school to attend school events, drop off or pick up their kids, and connect with other parents in-person.

#3 Concept

MOPD Hub

A social platform that connects parents of children of disability together to share resources and build community safely, while having transparent information from their school and the City of Chicago.

#1 Feature: News Feed

First, MOPD Hub creates an easy-to-enter and communal space for resource sharing by offering a News Feed. This feature alleviates the combative and isolating feelings of parents by bringing together parents that span across different engagement levels, from passively consuming to actively posting. It is addressing:

#1 Insight: Diverse Levels of Parent Engagement (Low - High)

#2 Insight: Combative & Isolating Process

#3 Insight: Higher Barriers to Form Community

#2 Feature: Map

Second, MOPS creates a crowd-sourced map that provides information on accessible routes, restaurants, and more to help with day-to-day planning. This feature helps parents navigate day-to-day planning with a peer-to-peer approach, alleviating the common combative and isolating feelings. It is addressing:

#2 Insight: Combative & Isolating Process

#3 Feature: Resources

Third, MOPD Hub offers a resource bulletin board that has official announcements from the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), CPS, and other relevant Chicago departments. It is addressing:

#1 Insight: Diverse Levels of Parent Engagement (Low)

#4 Feature: Groups

Lastly, MOPD Hub helps the formation of more specific communities through Group. The Group page aims to help parents build their own communities based on their own needs. For example, a group of Vaughn Occupational High School's parents who live in South Side, Chicago can form a group and have more convenient meetups. It is addressing:

#1 Insight: Diverse Levels of Parent Engagement (High)

#3 Insight: Higher Barriers to Form Community

#1 Insight

Diverse Levels of Parent Engagement

#2 Insight

Combative & Isolating Process of Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

#3 Insight

Higher Barriers to Form Community at a Non-Neighborhood Specialized School

#1 UX Principle

Various Levels of Engagement

MOPD Hub include various form of engagement, from passive engagement, like reading CPS announcements at Resource page, to active participation like crowd-sourcing an accessible route on Map page or attending a meetup posted in Group page.

#2 UX Principle

Communal

MOPD Hub leverages peer-to-peer support to build a trusted community that shares resources and experiences and alleviate isolation. 

#3 UX Principle

Accessible

MOPD Hub lowers the barriers for parents to form communities. The Group page aims to help parents form their own communities based on their own needs. For example, a group of Vaughn Occupational High School's parents who live in South Side, Chicago can form a group and have more convenient meetups.

Team

Seeking Roles in UX Research/Design