‘Ask Izzy’ is a web and smartphone app that makes it easier for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to access information about essential services, when and where they need them.
Infoxchange was the key organisation driving the app’s development. The organisation, founded by Andrew Mahar over 25 years ago to harness technology for social justice, began a directory of homelessness services known as ‘Service Seeker’.
In many ways, the Ask Izzy app is the evolution of Service Seeker, and leverages the more than 350,000 health, welfare and community services now in the Service Seeker directory. Ask Izzy puts Service Seeker in your pocket, empowering people to take control, easily find location-based services, and get the support they need.
In early 2015, a working group approached Disruptive Media for assistance with the name and branding for the app.
Disruptive Media partnered closely with the working group to determine the objectives and strategy underpinning the brand. Central to the approach was an in-depth understanding of the characteristics and needs of the end-users of the app, so we conducted several workshops with key audiences.
The insights gleaned from the research and workshops were pivotal to the name and branding we developed for the app. The name ‘Ask Izzy’ was chosen to reflect a very friendly, approachable, helpful character – all key characteristics we identified through our research.
In addition, the name avoided any direct reference to ‘homelessness’, as our research showed that many potential users of the app did not think of themselves as homeless. The use of a character-based name is non-stigmatising and also avoids alienating people that do not consider themselves homeless, but that might benefit from the app’s services.
• An A-to-Z directory of over 350,000 homeless-help services and information now at people’s fingertips
• Officially launched by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, in January 2016
• 31,000 people visited Ask Izzy to find information about services for homelessness in its first month of launch