Nextdoor: the neighbourly app

Post date: 
Friday, 17 April 2020
iPhone with Apple logo

Nextdoor is an app which can help you connect with your local community, share important information, offer help, request assistance and reach out to your neighbours.

Is there a parcel that was delivered and you can’t read the couriers note or don’t know where to find it? Or did you run out of bread and want to ask your neighbours if they would visit the shops for you?

Every now and then we all could do with a bit of help, or a friendly word from a local neighbour. It’s made easier now with the Nextdoor app. Just download the app from your App Store (Apple or Android) and start to get to know your neighbourhood.

Some communities in Belfast have been using it successfully, as this video shows. One local user found a guide runner using the platform.
 
There’s even a Help Map feature set up to connect neighbours during the current health situation. On the Help Map neighbours can mark their house with an icon to indicate they are available to help. And those who need help can use the map to find nearby volunteers and ask for help.
 

Installing the app

Follow the download process and enable all notifications to show on your smart device. The app will ask you for information to complete your profile.

Many options can be skipped but the more details you provide, the better you can support and be supported by your community. For example, Nextdoor suggests you should upload a picture, so your neighbours know it is you but this isn’t compulsory.

You can select to show your full address, but many people opt to only list their street name. You can specify whether you want people in your most immediate neighbourhood to see your profile, or you can opt to widen it to include more nearby districts. 

Nextdoor prides itself on making sure users are verifiable members of a neighbourhood, and it is strictly moderated to screen out anyone who is using it inappropriately.

Using the App

There are five buttons, or tabs, on the bottom of the screen. It is worth exploring them, so you have an idea where to go when in need of different things.

  • Home – the main message board.
     
  • Groups – a new feature for creating themed groups within the community.
     
  • Businesses – a searchable database of local businesses and services, with a comment section. You may find shops you didn’t know existed.
     
  • Notifications – see any replies or activity related to posts that you’re involved in.
     
  • More – some advanced options and app settings.

You will find all recent activity by pressing the ‘Home’ tab. You can post a message or shout out to your community, but importantly, you can read about what is going on in your neighbourhood. To compose a message to another member, or a post to the whole community, explore the buttons on the top of the screen.

They are:

  • Search – a free text search field which will return results from all message boards, groups and business listings.
     
  • Invite - If you feel this is a great app, and if someone you know could benefit from it, invite them here.
     
  • Message - you’ll soon get to know people and it is easy to privately message them. Just hit the Message button and select the Compose button on to top of the Message screen. Here you can scroll through the available profiles in your community. There’s no need to pass on information you don’t want to share yet, messaging within this app is easy. All messages will only be seen by the recipient.
     
  • Post – here you can share a post, create a poll, add an event or sound an urgent alert for your community. All posts will be seen by everyone in your local area.

If you choose the More tab, there are a several useful features that may be worth exploring. Here you will find links to events, items for sale, lost and found, crime and safety notices and more. There is also a map of your local area, so if you have some sight you can see where in your community the other members live. You will also find the app settings, where you can change your profile details and notification preferences.

For me, this is a fantastic app if you want help getting to know your surroundings. You can choose how much, or how little you wish to interact. All features are accessible at the time of writing in March 2020.

Website: nextdoor.co.uk

Author: Madleen Mann, Technology for Life co-ordinator, London

Members of The Technology for Life team at RNIB are early adopters of new technology and are sharing their own experiences with the most interesting and useful apps in this series of reviews. This is not an official accessibility review or audit, nor reviewed the site for any security or compliance with data processing law. For any issues concerning accessibility please raise these with the developer via its website.