This article aims to highlight some of the challenges and amazing solutions available on the digital landscape designed to help kids and grown ups during lockdown life.
- Trends we've seen
- Work-from-home meetings
- Working on projects
- Apps to track a virus
- Online shopping
- Is it Glastonbury? No it’s B&Q!
- Delivery/courier bookings
- Cooking & food delivery apps
- Jumping around in the living room
- More connectivity with friends & family
Life has been pretty weird since the Coronavirus outbreak in the UK. Lockdown life has created a bunch of new challenges formwork, leisure and of course health. I asked some friends what have you done during lockdown. One the quirkiest and oddly common has to be “Washed my shopping”.
Digital devices and services have played a huge role in our lives while we waited out the restriction of movement.
The trends seems to be:
- Plenty of online shopping
- Washing shopping
- Lots of talking to friends on digital devices
- New ways of working remotely with teams
- Lots of homeschooling
- Constant checking of news updates - hoping for some good news!
- Business/Financial husbandry
- Lots more cooking!
- More sharing songs on Facebook
- Longer dog walks - a great time to think and plan
- Indoor exercising: jumping around in the living room
- And dare I say it? More boozing!
Now these have been a mixed bag. I do feel sorry for anyone with a poor internet connection at the moment. It must be testing for them.
Those who are less familiar are probably spending hour after hour saying “Can you hear me?” and “Oh, we’ve lost you”.
Others are running full design sprint workshops.
Recently, I had the privilege of being hired as UX consultant for a new finance application.
The design sprint was conducted using Miro for collaboration.
While it’s hard to overstate the value of having the right people in a room collaborating on a design sprint, somehow I actually felt that it was a better way of running the sprint - pasting in screenshots, organising and editing notes (all with legible writing!) made for a clear outcome. Fully recommend it!
Working on projects
Many companies are making the most of the downtime. With traffic down and business slow, they’re taking the opportunity to work on things they can control, such as updating their website, learning new skills or developing their training material. Others have been planning for the future and creating new solutions to operations - for example, identifying the apps they can use to optimise business processes during economic uncertainty.
If you are considering a new app for your business, feel free to contact Higher Ground UX agency for an informal chat about your ideas.
Apps to track a virus
Not many of us had ever used an app to notify the NHS we had a cough, a temperature or virus-like symptoms. I tried to but couldn't see the feature on the app. But if it helps the NHS locate clusters of COVID-19 virus sufferers and helps people avoid others carrying the virus, it’s surely a great digital product.
Apparently, UK residents won’t receive full functionality until May. We await this update to see what is in store, but sadly so far users have not rated it too well. See Google Store for reviews.
In hindsight, before lockdown I should have opened a fine wine ecommerce site.
Sales must be booming for any online wine retailer. Sadly, the wine industry has taken a hammering due to restrictions on wine tourism and a non-existent restaurant industry. I have a brewer friend in Manchester. Their business made the switch to online sales just as lockdown was announced - and happily, they’re not just in business, but doing well. So it pays for all businesses to have multiple revenue streams... and online has never been more important.
“It pays for all businesses to have multiple revenue streams... and online has never been more important.” Rob Hufton.
Plenty of brands have taken the opportunity to run promotions aimed at driving traffic through digital marketing. To find some of the great deals out there, it’s worth trying https://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/.
During the worst part of the UK lockdown, it was heartwarming to see people applauding the supermarket van drivers grafting through the night to keep the shelves stocked. Big shout out to all van drivers everywhere, including the delivery drivers taking it round to people who couldn’t get to the shops at all.
Is it Glastonbury? No it’s B&Q!
Online shopping surely reached a fever pitch when we ended up queueing for the B&Q website! Rock and roll. What about flour? Did anyone run out of flour? One eBay shop was spotted trying to charge £225 for delivery of a 1.5kg bag of flour. Shame on them.
Anyone running a delivery service at the moment will have seen a huge increase in orders.
Amazon reported huge growth in first-quarter revenue, yet somehow managed to miss out on earnings for Q1. Having led the UX design on a courier delivery app, I have a solid understanding of the complexities of these operations. I'm imagining it’s a very good time to be a delivery driver as demand is high but the traffic (on the road) is low.
At the start of March 2020, the BBC launched an update to its BiteSize online learning resource, a tool that gives children access to the curriculum. Teachers send the kids a link to a particular video and then set them related activities. It offers plenty of content and public figures (such as David Attenborough) doing videos on specialist areas.
Another really useful website is Living World Education (https://livingworldeducation.com/). Through illustrations, stories and games, this lovely site teaches kids to be environmentally aware.
White Rose Maths teaching has also been highly recommended for kids and adults alike. https://whiterosemaths.com/.
Cooking & food delivery apps
Available on the Apple App Store is Supercook. A really easy-to-use app where you can enter your basic ingredients and it gives you an easy recipe to cook. But if you can’t be bothered with all that, JustEat is super useful too.
Jumping around in the living room
Lockdown life has turned lounges into gyms, and made us all more creative when it comes to keeping fit - from Colonel Tom’s laps of his garden, to Joe Wicks’ Kangaroo jumps. Exercising in confined quarters has certainly been one of the happier themes of late. Apps like My Virtual Mission help people create their own fitness challenges, however much space they have available. It’s a nice website too:
More connectivity with friends & family
The increase in online pub quizzes and collaboration has been incredible. The irony hasn’t been lost on me: usually, I’d see about 10 friends per week on a busy week. These days, I’m isolated - but I’ve never had so many social events to attend. It’s all led to an enormous increase of usage in apps like Zoom and Houseparty.
This lockdown has surely demonstrated we can work from home and hang out with friends at home. Who knows what restriction of movement rules are in store for everyone in the coming months? But collaboration tools like Miro, Google hangouts, Figma and Zoom are having a serious impact and making the product design process in my industry so much more effective.
This article was written by Rob Hufton of Higher Ground. A UK-based UX agency specialising in user conversion and digital marketing.