My emoji – Fy emoji

A quick and inclusive measure of mood, current experience, and wellbeing changes.

My emoji – Fy emoji

Let’s Set The Scene

Down to Earth works on the big idea that by creating green infrastructure and sustainable buildings, you can also help people with their health and wellbeing. Since 2005, they have been working with disadvantaged groups and people with mental health challenges to create something sustainable - from putting up a fence or planting trees through to building a house or community centre using natural materials.

Over the last decade or so, Down to Earth has also been working with Swansea University on clinical research into their innovations in health care delivery and education delivery. Part of this work has been the development of a new inclusive, emoji-based form of measuring depression and anxiety, and the positive impact that different activities can have for people.

Being emoji-based, the scale enables participants who may struggle with literacy or language skills to fully participate in sharing their feedback and experiences.

The Challenge

To date the My Emoji / Fy Emoji scale has been running as a paper based evaluation tool. As well as the advantages in terms of inclusivity, it’s much quicker to use than traditional evaluation forms so doesn’t take too much time away from the project or activity it’s being used for.

It’s a simple tool to help participants measure their wellbeing at points along their journey with Down to Earth, measuring changes and improvements over time.

Users of the tool rate how they’re feeling on scale of one to five for:

  • Connected to others
  • A failure
  • Anxious
  • Good about myself
  • Bored

Now, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund “Growing Great Ideas” programme, Down to Earth has worked with Big Lemon to develop a web-based application for My/Fi Emoji.

As a web-app it can work across devices and operating systems and requires no downloads - just a wifi connection - to work. People can use their own phones and access the app via QR codes at Down to Earth sites, where wifi and Ipads are also provided.

“One of the best things about working with Big Lemon has been the knowledge and experience they’ve brought to the project. Theirs is an industry that’s moving very quickly so they’ve been able to bring innovations to the project that we’d never have thought of - like an easy translation tool that we’ve used. With their background in the industry they’ve been able to really help us to interpret what we needed from the tool into something that’s well-designed, works well for the user and can do the data analysis that’s going to make a big difference to our teams.”

Chris Dow, Project Manager, Down to Earth

The Tech Bit

  • Many participants don’t have an email address, or readily don’t have access to their email on the fly - this made us rethink our approach to identifying users
  • We needed to build the main participant-facing app with a simple code-based login system, and a more complex admin dashboard with locked-down email login
  • The app has been built to be intuitive for multiple languages - initially for English/Welsh speakers but built with the ability to add more languages easily in future

“The product that we’ve built for Down to Earth is easy-to-use and accessible, removing the need for them or users to ‘be techy’. This allows Down to Earth to focus on the work that matters - changing people’s lives.”

Owen Richards, Co-founder, Big Lemon

The Outcomes

The new web application is currently being tested by Down to Earth staff on live project activities.

Already, Down to Earth can see the impact on the organisation in terms of the time that will be saved in data entry and processing from moving from paper forms to digital. With data being processed by the app, it also means staff running programmes can access ‘real time’ evaluation results almost as the monitoring is happening.

For users it makes feedback easier and quicker to provide - so that it feels like it doesn’t interfere with the activity they’re doing as much as previously. Speed of completion has other benefits in terms of some of the measures - particularly asking people about more challenging feelings which could colour their experience of the activity if too much time were dedicated to it.

Perhaps the biggest outcome for the organisation is in the quality of the data they will be able to collect, in being able to tell groups whether their health and wellbeing is improving as they progress through a programme. In some cases it may even enable Down to Earth to adapt and tailor activities to particular groups or outcomes in direct response to feedback.

Externally, that data can show funders and other partners how well programmes are working and as it rolls out more widely, it has the potential to become a valuable data set for many organisations.

“There’s huge potential in this, if we were to roll it out free to other social businesses. It could generate a huge data set for researchers to continue to analyse, with more meaningful results comparing outcomes, for example, across gender, ethnicity and social background. We could see its application in the private sector too, adding to the value of the data generated and as a potential commercial opportunity for Down to Earth.”

Chris Dow, Project Manager, Down to Earth

Why Big Lemon?

“As a social business ourselves, we feel it’s important to work with like-minded people so Big Lemon being BCorp accredited was important to us. We get each other's values and why we work in a certain way - they’re lovely people to work with and it's been a very friendly working relationship.”

“We’ve liked that they approach things a bit differently - they’ve got a distinct approach to how they understand your needs from a project. And during the process they’ve been responsive, supportive and really organised.”

“On the technical side, it’s great to work with a business which can tailor its approach to the skills we have in house - it's a real advantage to us that we’ll be able to maintain what they’ve built once the project is finished. I believe a low-code way of working can be really empowering for the social business sector.”

Chris Dow, Project Manager, Down to Earth

Got an idea of your own?


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Developing the next generation of healthtech apps