What problem am I trying to solve?
Lori's Hands is a great volunteer program that connects college students with a bit of free time to elderly or unfortunately ill households who have trouble doing daily tasks, such as yard work or grocery shopping. While the students help out, they work towards lasting friendships and potential grants. As you might imagine, keeping track of all of the students visits every week, along with what actions they performed, is fairly cumbersome. Not to mention, printing out / writing down individual client info for each volunteer and supplying contact lists. With a little bit of upfront input and a helpful app, these problems can be solved.
How does my app solve this problem?
The app helps out in a variety of ways but the focus is on two things:
Allow students to check in and out of visits and enter comments as well as what services they performed. They can see a report of all of their visits and know how they're doing when it comes to grant consideration.
Allows the administrators can assign clients to specific students and view reports of their student's activities.
Just a nice collection of images to browse through if you haven’t logged in
Gaining access to the app is via special invite from the administrators and once the students log in, they don't have to re-login anymore unless they explicitly log out. This is to keep the app use very quick and painless. Students phones natively require authorization to access so adding a cumbersome second auth point in the app every time they open it is a bit too much. A lot of the client information is suppressed already, such as last names only being initials, etc.
The backend technology is Apple's CloudKit, which means that users who want to log into the app need to have iCloud enabled on their iPhones.
List your clients and you can view students and your visit history
You'll notice that the main function after logging into the app is "Check In". This is done in a two step process. Checking in only requests a date, client and who your partners are. Once that's saved the "Check In" button changes to a "Check Out" button and they can check out via the screen below. Each of these steps only take a few seconds to perform.
One item of note is that all views throughout the app that take user input (aka, check in, check out, scheduling a visit, etc) all appear as blurred modals, similar to the screenshot below. This gives the app a very consistent look and feel when it comes to viewing read-only content vs entering data.
Adding a visit is pretty simple, just tap a few tasks and enter some notes
That pretty much takes care of the student's actions. A few other things they can do is view a client, along with their visit history. Here the student can call or email a client or their emergency contact, or they can get directions to the client's house. Clients are assigned to a particular student and that student can only view information about their assigned clients.
Looking at client details get your access to emergency contact info and history of visits
Lastly, for students, they can view their profile to see a snapshot of how they're doing while working towards their grant.
Looking at your profile gets you a nice summary of your work
Now, you might have noticed a big "Admin" button in the profile area. This gives the administrators restricted access to an area of the app where they can add or edit visit, client or student information as well as see customizable reports of everything going on in their organization.
The app has an admin area that allows you to create clients and generate reports
The app is a fairly routine app that allows Lori's Hands administrators track and report on their volunteer activity. Working with this organization was such a great experience, allowing me to try out some new technology (such as CloudKit) for a great cause.
What's next in version 2?
We're still beta testing the app and working out any inefficiencies but a few things that I know are coming are:
Scheduling visits in the app interfaces with the iPhone calendar
This app is surprisingly not Auto-Layout compatible. Now that stackviews have made auto layout significantly easier, I definitely need to go back and add that in.
It would be great if the volunteers used the app for a bit of other stuff, other than just quick check ins. So adding a social flavor to the app is definitely on the drawing board.