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A Move for Hunger Hackathon with DSI Students

This past weekend DSI students Sandy Ng, Hrudaya Yanamandala, and Yuka Fukuoka participated in the NBCUniversal Social Hack, a two day event bringing together developers, designers and data scientists to help prototype solutions for real-world problems. Taking 4th place, the team found the experience to be a great success with hopes their idea may be developed further. Below is a a writeup from participant Sandy.

Our team was competing under the UX Track for the non-profit, Move for Hunger. They posed two social impact questions, and we chose the following:

Move For Hunger is on a mission to help people relocating/moving act in a socially responsible way, by booking with one of Move For Hunger’s movers and donating their leftover food.

How can we use mobile and/or web technology to bring awareness to this search and booking resource on Move For Hunger’s website?

Looking at their “Find a Mover” tool, we identified how the user experience could be improved. Currently, users have to fill out the same form and click multiple times to get quotes from socially-conscious movers that then drop their food off at food banks. Initially, we wanted to redesign the Find A Mover tool and its usability in comparing prices and movers. However, after brainstorming with Adam Lowy, Founder of Move for Hunger, we realized that becoming a broker for movers was not the mission to tackle.

In assessing the main audience, we also learned that mostly women between 30-50 years old use moving companies. However, according to the US Census, young adults aged 18-34 have the highest migration rates, but tend to move themselves with the help of friends and family.

With all of this mind, we pitched a web application that could reach a wider audience, by generating a customized moving checklist. Since moving is overwhelming, our web application help users to easily receive moving estimates and keep organized with a customized checklist. Users who don’t plan on using a mover will receive a list of food banks and organizations near them to donate to.

We envisioned our web application as a tool that users come back to over the course of their move. Each time users revisit the site, Move for Hunger can have loading pages with statistics, information, and reminders for where to donate food. Users may also want email reminders to keep them on track during a move, yet another opportunity to solicit food donations.

Before the judging, we took advantage of the mentor sessions and received great feedback. They loved how we framed and presented our idea as follows:

We believe the best way to raise awareness is to create a tool so awesome, people can’t help but to want to share it. Our vision is for us to become like Ben and Jerry’s empire. People go to them because they have the best ice-cream, but by doing so, they also are supporting Ben and Jerry’s social and environmental mission.

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