In a time being coined the “Information Age”, it is difficult to deny we are living in a world shaped by technology. Positive technological advancements in medicine, protection, and information dissemination are changing the way we live, work, and play on daily basis.
Such technological advancements are quickly becoming evident in the non-governmental sector. Organizations and associations are rapidly integrating digital tools, such as humanitarian apps, into protocols and everyday practice. These tools deliver aid most notably during times of UN Security Council negotiation and resolution, but also provide the general public with previously inaccessible information required to raise awareness and promote change.
Non-governmental organization PeaceWomen, a subsidiary of the world’s longest-standing women’s peace organization, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), is one of the first to embrace the use of digital tools to enable their efforts. As advocates for the visibility and protection of women’s rights and security worldwide, they work to support the UN’s commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, by pledging to strengthen women’s rights, participation, and representation in international peace and security, and conflict prevention.
Since 2010, Lucid has been contributing to the recognition of PeaceWomen by providing strategic digital solutions, beginning with the optimization of the organization’s app. For this project, we were faced with the challenge of improving upon a preexisting structure. The app, though functional, lacked usability, general visual appeal, and was available for iOS only. Our goal was to create a user-friendly application, providing better access to content, through visually appealing design.
To simplify the PeaceWomen app, the interface was divided into seven colored-coded sections. These sections include: Security Council Tools and Analysis, WPS Resolutions and Statements, National Implementation, Civil Society’s Key Roles, Peace Talks, News, and the “About” section, explaining the development and mission of PeaceWomen. Each section contains relevant information concerning key issues surrounding the PeaceWomen agenda. For example, The Security Council section of the app, based on PeaceWomen’s Women, Peace and Security Handbook 2012, provides an analysis of best practice language, and recommendations on incorporating gender and women’s rights into the work of the Security Council. Other highlights of the app include: texts of seven Women, Peace and Security Resolutions, info and analysis of national action plans, and resources for civil society’s engagement in the mission. As a tool, the app is designed as an aid for policy and decision makers, as much as it is a general information tool for those looking to support and contribute to the cause.
It is undeniable that apps are important contributors to the bigger picture of any organization, however it is arguable that an organization’s website still remains its most important communication tool. For PeaceWomen, the establishment of a well designed and executed website, was key to making sure their message was heard loud and clear. Like the app, Lucid designed the PeaceWomen website to warrant the best user experience possible without sacrificing content. With over 26,000 resources on the topic of Women, Peace and Security from around the world, our goal was to develop a simpler, more direct interface, providing quick access to all areas of the website. To do so, we focused primarily on content organization, and visual design appeal. Today, the site sees upward of 500,000 visits, with over 27,000 page views per month from audiences including: policy makers, civil society organizations, supporters of the WILPF, and the general public.
It is evident the use of digital tools and systems, in the non-governmental sector, means greater access to life-saving information. What in the past would have required countless hours of research, can now be accessed by a simple click of a mouse or tap on a smartphone screen. Humanitarian organizations such as PeaceWomen, create voices for those who cannot speak for themselves. To ensure these efforts are not wasted, it is imperative to get the right information to the right people as quickly and efficiently as possible. The integration of these technologies means the difference between saving the life of a mother and child, or simply hoping they survive.
The Women, Peace and Security App is available for download in English. To learn more about PeaceWomen and their mission please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/