Local resident gives HomeWise advice

2019-10-22 06:00
Annabela Bekker, Cynthia Augustine, Western Cape MEC for human settlements Tertius Simmers and Anesu Malisa.

Annabela Bekker, Cynthia Augustine, Western Cape MEC for human settlements Tertius Simmers and Anesu Malisa.

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Pinelands resident Cynthia Augustine (20) has been named as the second runner-up in the department of human settlements: Western Cape’s HomeWise Youth Competition.

The competition, launched in July, asked young people between the ages of 16 and 35 to design the mock-ups, prototypes or wireframes of an app which would allow citizens to easily access information on government housing assistance.

Entries closed on 30 August.

Western Cape MEC for human settlements Tertius Simmers says he is a firm believer in using technology optimally.

“As we believe in inclusive governance, we extended an opportunity to the youth of this province, through a competition, to assist us with the development of this app,” says Simmers.

Entrants were asked to design the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). Of the many online entries received, 20 met all of the criteria. After an evaluation process, three entrants were shortlisted. Anesu Malisa from Bellville was the first prize winner, Annabela Bekker from Constantia was the first runner-up and Augustine was named the second runner-up. Malisa won an Apple MacBook and a wireless mouse. Bekker and Augustine each got a R5 000 voucher.

Aspects of the designs will be incorporated into the final development of the department’s app. It hopes to have a trial version available by the end of the year, with a full launch in April 2020.

The second-year digital media and informatics University of Cape Town student says UX and UI design is something she would like to pursue after she graduates. “That, together with the fact that I could help citizens have access to important housing information, inspired me to enter,” Augustine says.

She says, although she is pleased to have been selected as the second runner-up, her motive for doing this wasn’t necessarily to be one of the top three. “Even if I didn’t win, I now have a formal proposal which I can show to future employers as an example of my work,” she says.

Reflecting on her proposal, Augustine says, for the design, she focussed on the target audience and their user requirements.

“The target audience is citizens from lower-income households who seek to be informed of various housing opportunities, hoping to better their circumstances,” she says.

“The design consists of an easy dynamic. The information architecture and visual hierarchies are structured so that it makes sense. Each component of the app was created based on user-focused reasoning,” Augustine explains.

Simmers congratulates the winner and runner-ups for applying innovative thinking. “I’d also like to express my sincere gratitude to all young people who took the time to enter our competition. As a department, we’ve been able to engage with some of the best and pioneering young techies in this province. It was particularly pleasing to note the interest from our rural towns, such as Heidelberg, Stellenbosch, George and Worcester, to name a few,” he says.

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