User research for improving the social solidarity mobile app Iris SMS

DERC Iris user research

Iris SMS is a mobile app for social and solidarity economy organisations designed and developed by the Open Lab at Newcastle University and the Open Lab: Athens. The system allows sending SMS text messages to a list of subscribers through SMS donors. People supporting an organisation, group or cause can sign up to become ‘donors’ and donate a number of SMS messages for that cause.

Assistant Professor Maria Roussou and Dr Katerina El Raheb of the Department of Informatics and Telecommunication, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) are collaborating with the Open Lab Athens, using one-to-one interviews, focus groups and a lab dedicated to the discussion of the IrisSMS concept as a technology probe, to understand how the day to day needs of non-for-profit organisations for digital and distant communication are shaped. The objective is to understand the technological requirements and how these reflect the social dynamics, self-organisation structures and objectives of these communities, and, ultimately, to improve the design and deployment of the Iris SMS app.

The research has been funded in the framework of the project DERC (Digital Economy Research Center), under the supervision of Assistant Professor Maria Roussou (NKUA) and Dr. Vassilis Vlachokyriakos. The project DERC, at large, is focused on the design and evaluation of community technologies, social innovation and the incorporation of fair social values in the design and development of technological applications and solutions.