How to Make Volunteering Easy — Yes, There’s a Website for It

If you have ever tried to volunteer, the chances are, the process of volunteering was tedious and long that you may have just decided to not do it.

The challenge that I wanted to solve was just that. To create a web app that had an easy on-boarding process so that people can volunteer hassle free.

Previously, I had used Sketched to see how it would like on a mobile app but making it to a web app changed the design significantly.

Snippets of the original sketch — mobile app version (the name of the app changes later)

Because the primary intention of the app is to have an easy on-boarding process, UX has been an integral part of building Happy Tribe.

As you can see, the design has changed drastically to convey the meaning and the value that the website can offer.

The main colour changed because green conveys more of caring feeling to the users and since the website has various features to invite people via social media and further message people you had met at the volunteering events, it creates a platform to build a community, hence the name, Happy Tribe.

Here are a few approaches that went behind the scenes to solve the challenge.

  1. Created User Journey Flows and Personas

One of the personas was Active Adam. Young professional in his mid 20s, He likes to give back and be involved in the community but his time is limited. Many times, he cannot fully commit his schedule until last minute but if there is a place that needs his help and he knows he has time then, he would like to volunteer. He prefers volunteering opportunity to be near him or public transit friendly. This persona became handy because people that we had interviewed shared many commonalities as Adam and this helped in building and restructuring the hierarchy of the events information on the website.

2. Conducted interviews based on Personas

Most of the people that I had interviewed had previous volunteering experiences and this was helpful because their personal experiences provided insights or barriers in volunteering. After interviewing 23 people, I went back to see if the user flow ensure that everything was still relevant.

What surprised me the most about the interviews was the same response that I got which was “Can you actually build it because I would love to use this.”

3. Sketched it out

These sketches were in iteration 8 out of 12 as the design continues to evolve.

4. Tested it out

Big shout out to friends and strangers at coffee shops! I had people go through the websites and had them to book the volunteering events but also test out other features as sign up, bookmarks, messaging, choosing interests and skills and if the filter feature was easy to see. From this, the font weight and sizes were changed from the feedbacks to highlight information such as “Choose a time to volunteer”. Overall, we had positive feedbacks on interface and the flow of how the website works.

What Did I Learn From This?

  1. Communicating design to code and vice versa. As much as I was designing, I was coding. Also, I had a wonderful team of developers who made the website possible with amazing features. They also tried to see it from UX perspective as we were building the features. (Big thank you Rex, Dan, James and Zain)
  2. Wearing multiple hats. As a project manager, as an UX designer, as a developer, there were many hats during the project but when it was all worth it in the end especially when it all came together. It was wonderful.
  3. Show what you are working on even if it’s not perfect because you will have many feedbacks/solutions that you might not have thought of.

Can It Be Better?

Absolutely! We had built the website in 3 weeks from scratch and I am very proud of that. However, there’s always room for improvement; therefore, I intend on taking more time on improving more stable website in both design and functionality.

*While the website is live, the events are examples. If you are an organization in Toronto who would like to post your event, feel free to reach out to me.

If you made it this far in reading, thanks for your time!

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