Shortlisted & sponsored by Microsoft Research.
Presented at Design Expo 2019: Empathy at Scale.
A training app for suicide & crisis helpline volunteers, focusing on empathetic listening skills.
How can we make the training for helpline volunteers more efficient and scalable?
We conducted 12 interviews with helpline volunteers, callers, trainers, & therapists. And reviewed training materials & policies.
Good listening skill is a foundation of counseling.
Training materials are hardly standardized.
Training is still heavily reliant on specialists.
A supplemental training app that makes listening and verbal-responding practices more repeatable, trackable, and accessible.
The training modules start with learning the concept, followed by a series of scored verbal exercises.
In the app's Reflection Exercise, users are asked to paraphrase what the caller said. How can we make sure a response is correct?
As a proof-of-concept, I used word2vec with GloVe corpus to approximate the 'meaning vector' of prompts and responses. Using the distance between the vectors, the app then determines if a response is robotic, appropriate, or incorrect.
Content & UX Design
From our testing, we gathered that first-time volunteer might be intimidated by the volume of content. The training design should be efficient yet not intimidating and user-friendly.
To achieve that, here are our design guiding principles:
Trackable & manageable progress
Gradient of difficulty: easy -> medium -> hard
Abstract to executables: what -> why -> how
Repeat & assure