A few weeks ago, Apps for Good Awards winning team I’m Okay visited our office in London ahead of an evening event with some of our corporate partners. We took this opportunity to chat to the girls from Stratford Girls’ Grammar School to find out what they had got out of the Apps for Good course and to hear a little more about their winning app.
What did you gain most from the Apps for Good course?
We gained a lot from the course! A big thing was our increase in confidence – this came from being able to stand in front of people and present our app idea, especially at the Awards. We’ve also gained really good marketing skills. For example in the run up to the Awards we used Twitter and managed to get a retweet from Stephen Fry to help promote our app!
In terms of the tech side, we found out that we really enjoy coding. From using App Inventor, we got to the point where we were able to code the first version of our app which was really fun to do. It’s also made us realise that getting into tech is not just for people who like ICT, but it’s more about talking to other people, branding and marketing – for some of us, we didn’t know what marketing even was before doing Apps for Good!
What was the reason for choosing the issue of helping young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) to find advice?
We started thinking about mental illnesses as a problem that needs solving, and moved from that to bullying. This got us thinking about why people are bullied, which made us think about the LGBTQ community. While we were brainstorming about this, Apps for Good Expert Bob Schukai visited our school to give us some advice. He told us that this area was something that could really make a difference and stand a strong chance of winning at the Awards – so we went ahead with it!
Since you won at the Apps for Good Awards, what have you been doing in regards to the development of your app?
We’ve been working on our app quite a bit since we won, doing individual research on content, such as support services, that will be included, narrowing down which features will make it into the final version, and having Skype calls to talk about all of this as we go. The most difficult part is deciding which features will make it, and which are not necessary for the first version. We are already thinking about phase two.
How do you hope your app will help make a difference to other young people?
When we conducted our research, we shared a survey on Tumblr tagged with “LGBTQ,” and had a number of responses from all over the world. We were surprised to find that the majority of people who self-identified as part of the LGBTQ community had also experienced suicidal thoughts, and felt isolated and alone. This showed us how real and significant this issue is, and made us want to make a difference. We hope that our app will show people that they are not alone and that there are support services available.
The I’m Okay app will officially launch onto the market at the Apps for Good App Launch in February 2015! We will be releasing more information about the event nearer the time. For the latest news on the App Launch, follow @AppsforGoodCDI on Twitter. Also for the latest from the I’m Okay team, follow them @CheckMateOkay