The Hertfordshire community represented a typical Oxfam regional operation where a man-with-van services a number of shops and bank sites under the supervision of an area manager. The driver had a relatively fixed routine based around the servicing of the shops which were either 'givers' (having excess/unsold donated stock removed by the driver) or 'receivers', (relying on this stock being 'cascaded' to them via the driver from the givers).
The Dorset community were different in that the driver worked out of a depot to which all stock generated by banks and shops was generally taken at the end of the round. There was very little cascading between shops.
The Cambridgeshire community involved a part-time man-with-van servicing primarily book banks with stock going direct to shops. There was some cascading and the trial was an opportunity to test how the community aspects of the app would function with a network of shops involved.
Each shop manager was interviewed prior to the trial starting to understand:
- how their specific shop operated,
- to what extent they currently collaborated with other shops in the area,
- how they organised their daily routines
- what issues caused them time stress during their day
- what predictions of activity would be most useful in helping them to better manage their business
- what privacy issues they foresaw in using the 6th Sense app?
As part of this initial contact, each manager was trained in using the 6STOxfam app and was either given a project iPhone with the app pre-installed, or where managers had their own personal iPhone, had the app downloaded onto their own device.
The rules by which the app should be used and in what contexts were left to the community to decide, under the guidance of the area manager. For ethical reasons, the participants were advised that the app should not be used whilst driving or where to do so would put the user in danger.
Once the trial commenced, all messages and transactions recoded by the managers and drivers were recorded through the linked database for subsequent analysis. A series of semi-structured interviews using questions scored via a five-point Likert scale ('strongly agree' – 5; 'agree' – 4'; 'uncertain' – 3; 'disagree' – 2; 'strongly disagree' – 1), were undertaken with the shop managers before, during and after the trial to gauge opinion on usability and understand how the app had aided communication and collaboration.
We understand the extent to which behavioural change in transport habits and practices can be facilitated through the creation of a new form of ‘transport network’, based on extending social networking principles to transport users.
The project has developed a suite of mobile phone apps for each of the corresponding research contexts. Watch videos and read details of the projects aims, key findings and outputs.
The 6ST team comprised researchers from the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Salford, Bournemouth and Lancaster.