Neighbourgoods
Supporting local businesses during COVID 

Neighbourgoods
Supporting local businesses during COVID 

Neighbourgoods
Supporting local businesses during COVID 

Neighbourgoods
Supporting local businesses during COVID

PRODUCT DESIGN • STRATEGY • SELF-INITIATED

As lockdown came to London, many small businesses were forced to close their doors and completely reinvent how they did business — almost overnight. We were blown away by their resilience and their response. We wanted to do something to help. Afterall, these small restaurants, bakeries, merchants and grocers were what made our neighbourhoods so special and London would be worse without them.

As a two-person team (one designer, one developer) we designed, built and launched a community built map helping people find and support small businesses in their area. Our goal for Neighbourgoods was to match people who wanted to quickly know which businesses were still operating to businesses working tirelessly to keep their doors open and offer a bit of normality to hungry customers.

From the initial project spark we launched exactly 7 days later and went on to cater for over 600 businesses across London.

As lockdown came to London, many small businesses were forced to close their doors and completely reinvent how they did business — almost overnight. We were blown away by their resilience and their response. We wanted to do something to help. Afterall, these small restaurants, bakeries, merchants and grocers were what made our neighbourhoods so special and London would be worse without them.

As a two-person team (one designer, one developer) we designed, built and launched a community built map helping people find and support small businesses in their area. Our goal for Neighbourgoods was to match people who wanted to quickly know which businesses were still operating to businesses working tirelessly to keep their doors open and offer a bit of normality to hungry customers.

From the initial project spark we launched exactly 7 days later and went on to cater for over 600 businesses across London.

As lockdown came to London, many small businesses were forced to close their doors and completely reinvent how they did business — almost overnight. We were blown away by their resilience and their response. We wanted to do something to help. Afterall, these small restaurants, bakeries, merchants and grocers were what made our neighbourhoods so special and London would be worse without them.

As a two-person team (one designer, one developer) we designed, built and launched a community built map helping people find and support small businesses in their area. Our goal for Neighbourgoods was to match people who wanted to quickly know which businesses were still operating to businesses working tirelessly to keep their doors open and offer a bit of normality to hungry customers.

From the initial project spark we launched exactly 7 days later and went on to cater for over 600 businesses across London.

Research

Getting help from the community

To begin we needed to build a data set to populate our map from the get go. We used community support GDocs as a good starting point that we had found on Twitter. These resources were great and we wanted club our efforts together to build a better way for people to explore the information.

Once our business directory reached a reasonable size, we launched Neighbourgoods and invited people to add their favourite local businesses. Cafés, book shops, candlemakers, butchers, fishmongers, restaurants — whatever they couldn't imagine their lives without! People responded heartilly and from day one we were flooded with a growing list of small businesses. These were then vetted and added to the live directory via the back-end.

This is certainly not the world’s first retail platform so we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. Through extensive retail research we designed search with best practices built in and saved a little space for some quirks too.

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While doing our research we were inspired by businesses making PPE to protect our frontline workers, and visiting hospitals with regular food deliveries to keep them fed. We saw these businesses as the angels in our communities so created the 'Neighbourgreat' tag to celebrate them and showcase their good deeds 😇.

While doing our research we were inspired by businesses making PPE to protect our frontline workers, and visiting hospitals with regular food deliveries to keep them fed. We saw these businesses as the angels in our communities so created the 'Neighbourgreat' tag to celebrate them and showcase their good deeds 😇.

 

Neighbourgreat

New learning experiences

New learning experiences

Neighbourgoods was an incredible learning experience for us. Together, we built a product narrative, developed a launch strategy and even picked up some social marketing skills along the way! (I'm now a whizz at Later…)

Of course there are a couple of things we can improve on but the learnings have been invaluable that we look forward to taking into our future projects.

Neighbourgoods was an incredible learning experience for us. Together, we built a product narrative, developed a launch strategy and even picked up some social marketing skills along the way! (I'm now a whizz at Later…)

Of course there are a couple of things we can improve on but the learnings have been invaluable that we look forward to taking into our future projects.

 

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Building a brand (in an hour…)

Quick click and checkout

As a designer it’s hard not to be visual. However in this project, our focus was purely to get our product functional so we could launch and start helping people as soon as possible. Any design indulgences felt almost selfish.

However, with what little time we did have we applied a brand that embodied our intentions, softened the product’s appearance and made a connection between our homes and showing love to businesses on the streets around us — the true meaning of Neighbourgoods.

As a designer it’s hard not to be visual. However in this project, our focus was purely to get our product functional so we could launch and start helping people as soon as possible. Any design indulgences felt almost selfish.

However, with what little time we did have we applied a brand that embodied our intentions, softened the product’s appearance and made a connection between our homes and showing love to businesses on the streets around us — the true meaning of Neighbourgoods.

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Type

the team

the team

Alex Thurman  Co-creator & Product Design
Jonny Thaw  Co-creator & Developer

Alex Thurman  Co-creator & Product Design
Jonny Thaw  Co-creator & Developer

GET IN TOUCH

alexander.j.thurman@gmail.com
(+44) 7481 835 732

current location

London, UK