How apps are helping individuals cope with their mental health' with Andy Gibson, Mindapples - She Talks Tech podcast

Listen to our She Talks Tech podcast on 'How apps are helping individuals cope with their mental health' with Andy Gibson, Mindapples

How apps are helping individuals cope with their mental health' with Andy Gibson, Mindapples - She Talks Tech podcast

Today we hear from Andy Gibson.

Andy is the founder of Mindapples, a social business teaching people how their minds work and encouraging everyone to take care of their minds like we take care of our bodies.

Andy will discuss how apps and social tools are helping us to manage our minds more effectively, and the role of technology in a mentally healthy society.

If you want to find out more about Andy – you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

LISTEN HERE


‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2020.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 17 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts – and the first three episodes are now live!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.


information architecture, woman in tech featured

The importance of Information Architecture

information architecture, woman in tech

Article provided by Marc Woodhead, Founder of Holograph

Information Architecture (IA) is all around us in the real world as well as the virtual world.

Websites, apps, software, printed materials and physical places all rely on the development of sophisticated IA to help their customers. Peter Morville was one of the pioneers of IA, he believes its purpose is to help users understand where they are, what they’ve found, what’s around, and what to expect. Bad IA can be like leading the user into a maze and then abandoning them, if this is the case with any website or app the customer won’t stay for long.

In the virtual world IA is about organising the online information in a clear and logical way so that any user will be able to find what they are looking for quickly. Websites and apps contain large amounts of complex information spread over a number of pages, in order for all of this to be accessed easily it has to be structured. Everyone’s used an app or website that has no continuity between each page, these platforms provide information and it is vital that designers make it easy to get from one piece of information to the next. All fluid IA follows similar design, there is a list of folders, you choose one and another comes up in alphabetical order and so on. Think of the iPhone music app, you choose between ‘Artist/Albums/Songs/Playlists’, if you select ‘Artists’ you will then see a list of your artists in alphabetical order, this continues until you reach a song. The majority of apps follow this setup, while they may look different the foundation is the same.

The method of IA for each website or app depends on the company that is making it, what product they are selling and the target audience. These parameters provide the basis of the websites IA, a blog may look very different to a retail website. As user satisfaction is central to IA it is important that designers know who their target audience is, often referred to as the target demographic. A young audience may be more technologically sophisticated, meaning that a website which is less intuitive but offers exciting reward may still be broadly acceptable. However, a website selling or delivering information to those with visual impairment is advised to have a simple format, with all useful information clearly linked from the home page.

Government websites are used by the widest range of individuals, the target audience is every person in the country. Therefore, when searching GOV.uk you are met with one of the simplest IAs possible. A white background with columns of blue and black writing, below a search bar are headings in alphabetical order, these headings cover broad subjects so that users can find whatever they are looking for. While not the most aesthetically pleasing or revolutionary in design, GOV.uk does exactly what it needs to, provide us with one location for all the governments information and support.

A website or app IA can be linked directly to the company’s success or failure, proving an attractive and easy to use platform for your product or portal is vital. If a customer wastes time trying to find what they want because of the design of the website, they will quickly be put off – and worse may share that feeling. It is much harder to bring someone back to your platform than attract them in the first place. The importance of IA can be seen every time a major app updates its design, the Snapchat redesign at the start of this year lead to a petition to revert the changes receiving more than 800,000 signatures!

Many of these redesigns disappoint users when they place aesthetics over usability, the principle of IA is not to create a beautiful website that customers love to look at but have no idea how to use. IA centres around making an app or website that is easy to navigate, then on top of that the design can be perfected. As a final example it is widely agree that Apple have one of the best balances of beautiful design working alongside clear IA.

About the author

Marc Woodhead is founder and CEO of cutting-edge software development business Holograph. With 25 years’ experience in graphic design, computer system design, human-computer interaction and psychology, he is recognised as one of the UK’s most inventive creatives.


Sharon Wyness

Inspirational Woman: Sharon Wyness | Co-Founder, AliveLab and the Mardles Platform

Sharon Wyness

I came from a recruitment background.

Becoming a single mum at 40, I retrained in 'homestyling'. I joined QVC in 2012 as freelance guest & met James (business partner in AliveLab) whilst in the guest lounge pondering over the many millions that we were making for vendors by selling their product for them on air.

We decided to find their own product range that we could sell (though they didn't know what)

I was still getting the trade press from various suppliers in styling and a magazine dropped on my doorstep with an article about - bringing a sofa to life in your room to see if it was a 'fit'.

I didn't know or understand the technology (it was 2014) but James (geek and techie) did and we knew that Augmented Reality was what they wanted to do.

Several months of planning, sourcing UK suppliers, registering trademarks etc followed and Mardles was born & launched on QVC within six months of the first idea. We had a small order to go to air with and by the time we were off air that had increased by 1000 per cent!

QVC USA and Canada followed. We went back to development for ideas - next came colouring, then dress up masks and finally stories.

After our first airing at London Toy Fair, Aardman & ITV came to us for Licensed product.

We were voted Top Five toys in The Sun, made Metro's Lust List, were featured on the Gadget Show and picked up by the DiT to follow a Passport to Export programme.

Up until 2017, we were totally self-funded until we went to equity raise with Seedrs and drew attention from all over Europe with investors from 32 countries and made target in 48 business hours.

In January 2019, we were one of only three companies in London to receive the Board of Trade award for Outstanding Contribution to International Trade & Investment presented by Dr Liam Fox at the Foreign Office.

We are partnering with companies all over the globe looking at adding AR to their promotions, products or experiences. We won a tender with a major Scottish Council to bring a tourism trail to life worth over £90k.

And throughout all of it - even though big business mentors have tried to steer us differently, we remain true to our morals.

Our app is what we call 100 per cent parent friendly:

  • No in-app purchases
  • No data capture - you don't have to register to use it
  • And once downloaded you don't need wi-fi or data to use it so no huge bills

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not at all, there was a point mid in the mid 80’s, I was working in estate agency I  was told  that I couldn’t have a company car or move up through the ranks, even though I had successfully turned around three failing branches. The reasoning? ‘I’d only go and get pregnant’.  There and then, I made a conscious decision to move into a female dominated industry – which is why I made the move into recruitment.

I gave a talk at my old school recently to Year 12 – I worked out that I’d had 37 different job titles in my career to date! That would take some planning….

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes, but don’t we all?!  My challenges have been mainly personal though - marriage/divorce/being a single parent/medical issues. When I encounter career challenges and set-backs, it just made me come out fighting and more determined than ever to succeed.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Rather than picking one particular achievement (although I was very pleased to receive the export award in January) I would say that it’s my ability to re-invent myself and to be able to channel my skillset into any new challenge and to make it work.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I would say that it’s my almost unlimited determination, and unmitigated desire to succeed, win and be the best I can.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

It makes perfect sense that when you have succeeded and worked through challenges, that you would want to share that knowledge – I would love to help someone.  I used to have a mentor myself - an older woman who was with me through some women’s health issues, marriage, divorce and then a very difficult pregnancy. She was an enormous help professionally & spiritually, Anji could adjust her focus onto me when I needed extra support and she could also help me deal with my team of 25 girls that in their early 20’s, had their own struggles to work around in a busy stressful sales environment.  I am a big fan of mentoring - both giving and receiving!

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Girls having the confidence to find their voice and use it.  Too often women keep quiet and don’t push to have their views heard - I think they are worried about being branded bossy or pushy (which they can be), but the more we speak out, confidence grows. Once it becomes the norm for women to be an integral part of senior management teams, girls will have more to aspire to and women in business will have natural mentors to learn from.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Men don’t have to fall into one of these categories: Father, brother, boss or boyfriend! (I went to an all girls school)

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I am busy growing our business to the next level and developing new markets around the world - working with people internationally is deeply interesting and there is always something new to learn from the different ways that business is done culturally. I want to change the shape and future of play and help children engage with technology through experience and fun


marie francois featured

Inspirational Woman: Marie Francois | Tour Bus Manager, Memrise

 

Marie Francois, Memrise

Marie Francois, Tour Bus Manager for language app Memrise, is currently travelling across Europe as part of the app’s Membus project – a summer roadtrip adventure to collect micro-videos of locals across the continent using their language in context in order to compile the world’s largest video dictionary.

How did you get involved with this project?

I met Memrise’s CEO, Ed Cooke, at a concert. He told me he wanted to buy a double decker bus and go on a road trip around Europe to capture the diversity of languages (he didn’t have the bus yet, it was just bragging at this stage). I was not sure what he was on about exactly, but I knew I immediately wanted in, so I pitched myself for this job. I thought it was such a brilliant idea in terms of its innovative and fun approach to learning languages, and a great opportunity to work on a mission I would truly believe in.

What has been your biggest challenge along the way?

Definitely running a 1978 vintage double decker bus around Europe. You would not suspect the amount of things you have to look into, as well as not listening to the ‘non-dreamers’ who said this was an impossible mission. I quickly got acquainted with things such as European legislations and mechanical jargon, which are skills I never intended to develop.

This project also became the biggest problem-solving enterprise ever created. For instance, one week before starting the tour, the bus being too high for Europe, we got in touch with a crazy French guy in the Pyrenees who was supposed to remove the top deck of the bus, cut 5 inches, and then re-weld it back together.

Luckily we decided not to go with this option and took the risk to see how far it would go, and nine countries and 12 000 miles later, the bus is still standing! It was all worth it as it became our mascot, and got us a lot of attention on the continent.

What has been your greatest achievement?

Collecting 20,000 videos of native speakers, from 6,000 different people, with a team of 60 volunteers hopping on board. It has also been a privilege to get to know that many different people and places. We now have a great database of video content for the app for nine different languages, which I hope will motivate people to learn even more.

What has been your favourite place that you’ve visited during this tour?

Wow, Europe is full of gems so it’s a tough one, but Venice was a showstopper for me. One of our volunteers was a true Venetian (rare creatures) and showed us the local spots, which only made it more special.

Your bus is full of coders and scientists – what would you say to women or girls looking to get into these roles?

In fact, it just so happened that the Membus team has always consisted primarily of women so we’ve got to know quite a lot of female coders and linguists. I believe that tech is a fantastic progressive environment to work in, for whomever, and regardless of your role.

Memrise bus

Do you think that learning a language can help advance your career?

Absolutely. I think it shows a sense of curiosity, hard work (coz’ it ain’t easy) as well as open-mindedness. It also naturally opens more doors if you want to be sent on a mission or job abroad.

What tips would you give to women looking to learn a new language?

Having a goal helps me (a trip planned, a friend speaking that language, a desire to go live somewhere…) because the first thing you need to learn a language is motivation. I would say to use different methods to diversify your learning, such as movies, apps, books, and trips - obviously the most immersive the better. Every time you have an opportunity to practice, take it, and give yourself credit for trying. Everybody goes through the same frustrating feeling to sound dull and slow, but that’s the only way you’re going to improve.

Do you have any advice for our members with regards to their careers?

The thing I learnt on the back of this trip is to be spontaneous, take up challenges and take risks. When I first joined, I was not prepared for the grand scale of challenges and hurdles to cross to make this tour a success, but I learnt on the spot because I had to. It forges your character, so I’d recommend to anyone to put themselves in these kinds of situations. Although they may seem daunting at the beginning, they are highly rewarding in the end. And if you fail, fail fast.

To check up on the progress of the Membus tour, in the last leg of its journey, please visit the blog.