We got loads of great ideas from the people who came to our focus group in Bristol. A group of people who do inclusive research made our own low tech TimeBank there where we wrote what we can offer on green cards and what we need on red cards. We used wool to connect our offers with our needs. When we thought about making this into a web-based version we talked about communication, accessibility and security. People were concerned with fairness, i.e. that the website must be accessible, no one should be excluded, and everyone involved should give and take. People were also concerned about being safe online saying they would need new skills, information about each other, video guidance and examples, perhaps meeting people first and having a contract. Some said the website needs to work with assistive technology. Our technical developer has been working with these and other ideas in developing our early prototype being tested now.
Our Twitter chat about the TimeBank involved around 40 people. This added to what we learned from the face-to-face focus group. On the themes of trust, accessibility and communication worries were expressed, and helpfully suggestions for reducing worries. These included having clear parameters and transparent working and organising regional meet-ups. There was the idea of a developer ‘hack day’ to help build or fine-tune the software; and importantly, enabling clear user control of design decisions at the outset to build confidence. We got lot of help on the website functions people would want too (entry-level information, use of social media for community building to fit with the TimeBanking ethos, user profiles, and even badges leading to us discussing the idea of a gamification element). We are grateful to everyone for their input.