App Insights

The value in co-creation

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‘Co-creation’ is a word we throw around a lot at Calvium. You’ll find it peppered across our website and scattered amongst much of our print material. Ask us about how we like to go about our work and ‘we co-create’ will likely be your answer. But what does co-creation actually mean?

A co-creational approach to work, we believe, is one of our benchmark qualities and key attributes. It is our belief that in order for a project to have impact, it is essential that it is driven by genuine insight about its target audience. Furthermore, the co-creation of the product with the people its being developed by and for, can ensure a genuinely intuitive and engaging product that meets the specific needs of its audience.

We have a proven track record of working in close partnership with app originators and innovative ideas. Our research background at Hewlett Packard means that we are familiar with the process of creative problem solving, rapid prototyping and user testing. We believe that this hands-on way of involving end users in the process is the right approach to understanding the problems and inspiring creative solutions.

Take for example the UCAN Go app, made in collaboration with NESTA and UCAN Productions. In 2013 Calvium won the bid to develop an indoor navigation app that would help young visually impaired users to access arts venues more independently. The nature of the project required an extremely close working relationship in order to clearly understand each others needs and requirements by drawing on expertise and experience in both fields. This project is particularly innovative and requires a great deal of experimentation due to its non-technical specific brief; which we were more than happy to explore.

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We are thrilled to say that this ongoing relationship has been most prosperous, with both members of Calvium and UCAN being invited to give a talk at Digital Innovation Week Wales on ‘Exploring The Value of Co-Creation’.  Furthermore, both parties have gained considerable knowledge; with the UCAN team acquiring a good understanding of what is involved in app development and content production, while we have learnt much about the specific needs of the VI community.

We are using our own Experience Design Framework to structure the UCAN Go project.
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The four main sectors in the framework help organise :
1) Thinking around who the design target user is
2) Where the app will get used and to note significant factors about the context
3) What the primary purpose of the app is and how content will be produced,
4) How the user interacts with the app and the interface design.

The framework is also about developing, refining and testing prototypes in an iterative way. We have planned the project in phases. Each phase culminates in a user test to deepen our understanding and to validate or highlight issues with our design.

We find that not only does this approach to work result in a better app, it makes the building journey far more enjoyable. The constant contact and sharing of ideas always results in fun sessions. Fun sessions in turn inspire more creative solutions, so co-creation results in a wonderful carousel of good things.

If this sounds like the kind of experience you want to have whilst building your app, then feel free to get in touch.

The  Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts in Wales is a partnership between the Arts Council of Wales, Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and NESTA to support arts projects across Wales that work with digital technologies to expand audience reach and engagement and/or explore new business models for the arts sector within Wales.