In our advanced undergraduate design class, Human-Computer Interaction II, our team was assigned to a community partner for a service-learning design project. Our group was assigned Volunteers In Medicine,a sliding scale health clinic mostly run by volunteers. After meeting with and researching VIM we found that they had a major scheduling problem. Our team then came up with our design problem: Create a uniform and easy-to-use scheduling system for Volunteers In Medicine.
We began our process by researching scheduling systems and scheduling of volunteers in specific. We meet with multiple volunteers and paid personal of VIM and conducted interviews with them. Our team also thought that it would be important to understand the current scheduling processes. To understand VIM’s current process we decided to perform some rapid ethnography. Throughout the course of the semester, we also conducted some paper and online surveys.
Our team needed an easy way to schedule volunteers from both the perspective of the volunteers themselves, as well as the personnel assigning the schedules. We wanted to improve upon the current practices to improve volunteer retention and delight, and therefore improve the quality of health care received by individuals who attend the clinic.
Our design incorporated the clinic’s existing scheduling system, Volgistics, and supplement that system using some software add-ons. These add-ons, VicNet and VicTouch, allowed for an easier process of scheduling from the volunteer’s viewpoint, as well as an easy-to-use touch screen sign-in/sign-out system. Furthermore, we designed awareness opportunities for volunteer recognition and internal communications.
At the end of the system, we presented our design to Volunteers In Medicine and provided them with a strategic roadmap, a volunteer training presentation, and training videos on the new software. With our design Volunteers In Medicine could drastically improve their scheduling processes while saving money year-over-year.