ScoreMore: empowering low-income youth through sports

Contributors:

Shayan Nathan: User Researcher, Designer, Leader of Ideation

Fadel Shitui: User Researcher, Designer, Leader of Design

Libby Knell: User Researcher, Designer, Leader of Prototyping

Problem Overview

Youth sports improves participants’ mental and physical health, academic success, and self-esteem. However, many of the club youth sports programs in the United States have socio-economic barriers and disparities in access to resources that prevent many children, especially those from low-income households, from participating. Our user research identified that parents/guardians need help learning about club sport opportunities and choosing a sport that fits their needs based on a variety of factors like: scholarship opportunities, membership costs, equipment, and transportation.

Solution Overview

Previously, we wrote about our user research, initial design, and storyboarding process for creating a possible solution. Our end result is a design for a “find-your-sport” website called ScoreMore. The website will be bookmarked on publicly available computers at locations like libraries and community centers, as well as accessible to all users with access to the internet via handheld devices or computers. Furthermore, it will be localized in over 20 languages to support non-native English speakers.

Paper Prototype, Testing Process, and Results

After we discussed the story boards and moved into the paper prototyping phase, we decided on the following main modes: your sports, pick sports, marketplace, a search bar and a map. We drew out initial ideas of the interface on sheets of paper, then scanned them into the Marvel Prototyping app to enable interactivity. Next, we conducted both a heuristic evaluation with a group of four of our classmates, as well as a usability test on three different participants.

Photo: overview of initial paper prototype

The most important feedback from the heuristic evaluation was that the paper prototype lacked user control and freedom because the prototype didn’t have a means for users to “undo” their actions. This prompted us to add an “x” to all modals and pop ups to enable the user to abort at any time. From the usability testing, we learned that all of our participants shared confusion about the Pick Sport page. They were confused by the word “comparator” and did not recognize the “find scholarship” button as being something they could click on. In order to amend this confusion, in our final iteration we changed the name comparator to Cost Comparison and added the scholarship page to be its own tab on the navigation bar. Additionally, all of our usability participants showed some level of confusion with what certain pages were and what the different components on the pages do, why we were doing things (like the quiz), and what to do next after a certain point. In response, we restructured the website, added tooltips to give more information, and a brief description of what the purpose of the pages are when you go to them.

Digital Mockup

Prototype link: https://marvelapp.com/prototype/g1i9h11

Photo: overview of digital mockup

Helping parents/guardians learn about club sport opportunities, as well as choose a sport that fits their needs based on a variety of factors like: scholarship opportunities, membership costs, equipment, and transportation are the two primary tasks the design aims to help with. Our final design consists of the following modes: home, cost comparison, marketplace, map, and find scholarships. At any page of the website, the user can also retake the introductory find sport quiz. Users are able to learn more about different sports that they may have previously not been exposed to after taking the introductory quiz, view examples and video of culturally relevant athletes within quiz results, explore other sports their children might be compatible for, and save sports that they are interested in. Furthermore, users are able to compare costs for different sports in order to find the most feasible option via the cost comparison tab. Here, they can add and compare sports costs, as well as explore scholarship opportunities through clicking the find scholarship button or clicking the scholarship tab. The user can also find second hand gear that can help further reduce the potential financial burden via the marketplace tab, as well as find safe and affordable transportation methods to various practice locations by searching for a particular sport on the map tab. From the preliminary digital mockup to the final, we added filtering capabilities and simplified the marketplace to make it easier to use and faster for users to find what equipment they want.

Summary

Studies have shown that participating in youth sports improves a child’s development, mental and physical health, academic success, and self-esteem. However, due to a variety of socio-economic barriers and disparities in the access to resources, many children, especially those from low-income households, are left excluded. After conducting our user research with our target demographic, we found that the most problematic obstacles preventing many children and their families from participating in sports are undertaking the financial burden of rising club fees and equipment costs, acquiring safe and affordable transportation, and breaking into a new sport as a minority.

Therefore, we proposed ScoreMore, a “find-your-sport” website that allows children and their parents/guardians to learn more about different sports that they may have previously not been exposed to, view examples of more relatable and diverse athletes, and find sports they/or their children might be compatible for with our sports quiz. Furthermore, our site empowers users to explore sport costs, find scholarships, buy and sell second hand equipment, as well as determine transportation routes for their child, to be able to do a comprehensive analysis of different sports options and find the most feasible one for their family. By doing so, we hope to enable low-income children across the nation to pursue their athletic dreams while also improving their health, and making it financially feasible for their parents to undertake.

University of Washington Computer Science, Intro to Human Computer Interaction