Accenture Federal Services (AFS) and Fjord DC joined forces on a skills-based volunteering project for Post-traumatic Growth Organization, Boulder Crest Retreat (BCR). BCR serves as a haven for veterans, as well as their families and loved ones, struggling with PTSD and/or combat stress through their PATHH programs. Warrior PATHH is a veteran centered program that begins with seven intensive days of training at one of BCR’s facilities in Arizona or Virginia and continues virtually for 18 months. The AFS group spent the first few months working with BCR leadership to determine the parameters of an MVP. Fjord DC used the MVP to design the baseline of the application, however once user-centered research was conducted, the scope expanded beyond the original plan.
Sketch, InVision, Abstract
role & my team
My Role: Visual Design Lead
Team Structure: Service Designers (2), UI/UX Designers (2), Visual Designers (2), Visual Design Lead (me) & Project Manager
The task was to design and develop a way to keep BCR veteran’s engaged and feeling a sense of community after their 7-day intensive project for the duration of the 18 week program.
The task was to design and develop a mobile application to be used during the 18-month program once the veteran’s return home.
Alongside AFS, Fjord DC helped BCR strengthen the impact of the PATHH program by designing a platform that would offer BCR veterans the tools to connect, grow, achieve and learn, for life.
Our initial goal was to design, develop and test an application that would improve the connection between BCR and its students, minimize overlap between print and digital actions, and develop a clear vision for the use of the platform in all of the PATHH programs. This application will serve as an additional touchpoint between BCR and the students as well as the students and each other.
As the project developed, it also became clear that aligning visual brand assets would be a large part of setting a clear vision for the application and the programs in general. Having only opened its doors in 2013, BCR expanded rapidly with a clear brand image for the retreat, but branding diverged in other mediums, programs, and digital assets as the organization grew. In parallel to the development of the platform, we also worked to synchronize the PATHH program branding.
Co-Creating Solutions: With a condensed timeline, we met with AFS to understand BCR, its users, their vision, and the PATHH programs based on their months of interactions with the BCR team. After the first visit, we mapped out the emotional and mental journey of a BCR student and coach. The Journey Map was presented to BCR to confirm the flow, the features, and the vision. Together with the clients, BCR Founder and key stakeholders, we refined the journey, the vision for the application, and its integration with the many paper and pen activities in the program.
Design, Learn, Refine: Since the project was volunteer, the Studio team was comprised of the usual design team structure. The team included five visual designers, one digital producer/business designer, two interaction designers, and a group design director. We all took on roles outside our typical “craft,” which created an environment that was extremely collaborative and fast paced. The development team became engrained in the design process, while our designers took on a variety of roles. In order to make sure that our output was quick, and the screens stayed within the scope, we created a fast turnaround process for screen refinement and approval. After two months of work, the team had created 70 screens and had gone through several cycles of feedback and collaboration.
With two in-depth prototypes completed for the students and instructors, the team took a road trip to BCR in Virginia to spend the weekend refining the work, co-creating with the BCR team, and gaining feedback from PATHH users. After this whirlwind weekend the Studio team incorporated client and user feedback and passed the designs off to the development team in order to bring the application to life.
myPATHH: With the official launch a few months later, Boulder Crest uses the designs that the entire team created and developed for their mobile application across their two retreat locations and their 100+ alumni. The mobile application facilitates conversion and learning amongst the students and continues to play an important role in the lives of the alumni of the program.
The Fjord team fell in love with the BCR mission and vision, taking on the additional work of developing the brand logo and style guide for the myPATHH app and the PATHH program. The final logo design served as the guide for the visual design development of the entire application. After the project was complete, the organization also adopted the Style Guide that Fjord DC created to inform future changes to their website and designs across the organization.
Even though the myPATHH project has ended, Fjord DC and AFS have continued to work with Boulder Crest by spreading awareness about their mission and assisting on additional design and development projects. Please visit www.bouldercrestretreat.org for more information about the PATHH programs, BCR, and the Boulder Crest organization.