Located in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, Congreso de Latinos Unidos (Congreso) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to enable individuals and families in predominantly Latino neighborhoods to achieve economic self-sufficiency and wellbeing. The agency has 40+ programs operating over 5 programmatic divisions namely Education, Employment and Training, Health and Safety, Housing, and Family & Parenting. As Congreso offers a wide range of services and programs, it is crucial to establish communication channels both internally (staff orientated) and externally (first time Congreso clients). Consequently, Congreso has been developing the Referral App through which staff and clients will ideally be able to refer to the needed programs.

Congreso divided the exploration and build out of the app into two phases: internal consisting of staff members and external that includes the first time Congreso clients or community members. In the LabStorm, Congreso presented to the audience to explore features needed for the external side of the app. With the goal that clients would be able to see the list of Congreso programs and their description, self-refer to programs as they see fit, and receive status updates on the referral itself, Congreso aims to incorporate the client’s voice and needs into the app before moving forward. As it is critical to involve clients in building a client-facing portal, the LabStorm participants brainstormed strategies to reach out to the clients to elicit their feedback.

Reaching out to the community. Attendees brainstormed ideas on getting the word out so that the community is aware of what Congreso is looking to do. Getting people to give feedback into the design or presenting a prototype to the clients can elevate the interaction with the app and change the response rate from the community.

Equity design in feedback. Attendees stressed the importance for embedding equity and paying people for their time for the feedback processes. Consequently, Congreso could focus more on quality feedback than the number of people giving the feedback. Having an iterative process of a handful of people at a time would help ensure quality feedback while carrying an equitable approach.

Building trust in the community. The discussion in the LabStorm reminded everyone that feedback can be fun and engaging, and they can be a trust building exercise. Planning how Congreso would close the loop and share the feedback they got from the community can underline the importance of feedback to the community.

Read the full article about community voice for feedback by Sophia Johnson at Feedback Labs.