App set to increase youth engagement

24 July 2023

Images depicting the evolution of the app's design

Genesis Sun is a not-for-profit social enterprise which was formed to inspire, encourage and develop young black people who may not have access to the networks required to succeed.

Its founder and CEO, Diane Spence, spent over 25 years in the IT sector, and said: “During my career, I consistently found a lack of diversity and representation in leadership positions, particularly in STEM roles, and now want to focus on creating positive change and maximising opportunities for all.”

The organisation is best-known for delivering its Ascension Programme – a unique combination of music, inspiration, entertainment, relatable positive history stories and life skills, provided up to the point that participants begin employment. It has great ambitions and so it applied to the WCIT Charity for funding to design and develop a custom-built app to further incentivise learning, encourage curiosity and build knowledge.

With their grant they were able to begin building the app, helped by black students from two local schools in the West Midlands who have informed the app’s design and usability through a co-design group . The group reviewed and gave feedback in weekly design workshops, which led to some wireframe designs and a beta version of the app for real-world testing.

Though pro-bono technical delivery resources were available to a degree, pressure on charitable funding post-pandemic has meant that the funds to secure a cloud landing zone, and associated support contract, have not yet been completed. The launch has therefore been paused and a manual points process introduced in the interim. This has proved the motivational impact of points accrual and gamification, as the manual process has been well received by the young people.

Once the app is officially launched, the organisation intends to use quizzes and challenges to complement the Ascension programme, and after that they hope to introduce awards and trophies to encourage achievement, as well as in-app player surveys so they can ensure the programme is delivering real value.

Remarking on the grant and the progress made so far, Diane said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured support from the WCIT Charity for the Genesis Sun Mobile Application; it will help us make a positive difference within our community.”