USAHello initially came to use a few years back needing a website and a light rebranding. That initial site was a big upgrade, and lead to several new opportunities and grants. With their mission to help refugees coming to the United States thrive in a new circumstances, the organization soon wanted to begin expanding their services. Thinking about new ways to help using technology, the USAHello team, in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Council, hatched a plan to build a location-based app to help refugees and their families find critical resources tailored to them.
While existing location-based tools like Google Maps, Yelp, and Foursquare are useful to the general population, they’re mostly useless to newcomers who many not speak English and need specific services, like legal help, healthcare, or even an ethnic grocery store. To address this gap, we built FindHello. An app the combines the usefulness of popular map tools with features and functionality specific to the refugee community.
Development was a colossal effort, taking the better part of a year to complete. Leverage the Google Maps API, we built a custom Django dashboard to allow USAHello and their volunteers to add, edit, and flag resources, as well as manage user submissions from the app itself.
To better differentiate and brand the app, we also created some bespoke icons and artwork to set the app apart and give the entire product a professional, approachable feel.
Shortly after launching, the app garnered the attention of policy makers and the general public alike. It even garnered some local news attention, which for us is a personal milestone.