As a prideful Colorado native, I believe that my community is my strength. Everyday I am personally affected by the people, places and things that are unique to Colorado. I am only as strong as my community, and my ability to adapt to its challenges. Whether good or bad, I am shaped by Colorado. This alone was the reason why I chose to collaborate on the re-design for Pledge 1% Colorado. Giving back is not only fundamental for making a positive change in our communities, but it is critical for adding support, value and happiness in our everyday lives.
The idea of giving back to the local community is not so easy for all early-stage corporations to digest. In fact, most disregard the idea before they really consider any potential benefits. So, my goal was to design an experience for a website that would inspire more early-stage corporations to give back through pledging, and therefore impact Colorado.
Empathizing and understanding
According to Executive Director Matt Zwiebel, the existing interface and content structure of the website was confusing and lengthy. The website lacked creative storytelling and felt disconnected between the members, board and advisors. Becoming aware of the client’s pain points. I decided that it was time to do my own investigating and research.
Initially looking over the existing website, I observed a much outdated platform in terms of design trends and function. The look and feel of the site was rather boring, and the lack of color and images made the site feel dull. Being incredibly content heavy, I quickly felt overwhelmed by information. Nowhere to be seen was there any proof of the company’s actual impact in the Colorado community.
- Outdated Accordion Menus
- Outdated forms
- Lack of color and imagery
- No storytelling or evidence of impact on the community
So, to discover possible solutions, I decided to check out the competition. I created a Flower Petal diagram to compare companies and look for new markets and inspiration. Berkeley Founders’ Pledge seemed to give me a good jumping off point in terms of a pledge site that successfully told a story and connected with users.
Then, to better understand the way our users think, I collaborated with my team (8 ppl) to conduct various interviews with stakeholders. I was in charge of conducting the two following interviews — one with an advisor at Pledge 1% Colorado and the other with a small startup owner on the edge of exiting.
Q: In 4 words, what do you think the brand should be?
A: Compelling, Inspiring, Informational, and actionable.
Q: Why would you recommend Pledge 1% CO?
A: I believe that people possess passion for the community and want to do something good purely for the reason of doing something good. Plus, Pledge 1% CO gives you a ton of options for donating which gives companies the flexibility to pledge in any way they are capable of whether that’s pledging 1% of future equity or pledging volunteer time.
Q: What would you improve about Pledge 1% CO?
A: There needs to be more storytelling. First, I would like to see proof of members making an impact. Second, it would be nice to see more exclusivity for members.
Q: Would you/your business ever consider pledging? If not, what is preventing you from giving back?
A: No. Quite frankly thinking about giving someone money is that last thing on my mind as I am trying to keep my business alive. I put all my time, money and resources into bettering my company.
Q: Is there anything that might motivate you to make a pledge?
A: Perhaps if there was something in it for me. Since retirement is in my near future, I do not see any importance or value in networking opportunities.
Defining the Problem
Key Findings/Pain points
- There needs to be exclusive member benefits.
- Stakeholder must be owners of start-ups in their early stages.
- There needs to be proof of the impact of Pledge 1% Colorado.
- Stakeholders must feel a connection to the company.
- Stakeholders are not aware of all the types of pledging options available. They get stuck on the idea of giving away money, even if its later in the future.
User Persona creation
From here, I created a User Persona based on my research for the design challenge.
My Ultimate Design Challenge
Design an experience that inspires giving back in Colorado through impact stories and feeling a sense of community.
I presented my early findings and ideations to our client Matt
Afterwards, I started white boarding random ideas, user flows and options for content layout on the new site.
Below are my carefully selected design principles which will help shape the look and feeling of my design. All principles were chosen based on my extensive user and secondary research.
And now for the fun part! It was time for me to take all my creative ideas and visions, and run with them! I began by sketching out some quick wireframes. Asking myself, “What do these visions look like?”. Then, I moved onto making low fidelity wireframes in Adobe XD. Later, I made those wireframes come to life with imagery, color and font choices!
Take a peek at my Low/High fidelity wireframes!
Before and After Shots of my Re-Design Challenge
I thought this page could benefit from a fresher look! If someone is still deciding to take a pledge with the company, they need to have a warm connection and feeling with its members. The best way to do this is to see faces to the names of the company, and perhaps a little blurb about their personal stories. One advantage of this is that it makes the company feel more personal and human.
Same goes for this page — the design needed a fresher look! For this page and the rest, I chose to stay with the company’s original brand color in various monochromatic values.
Next, the blog page. Based on my observations of the original website, it seemed like blogging held an important part of the company’s brand since there was already so much work put forth into writing past blog posts. While some of my team members excluded this section in their individual projects, I chose to keep it since its an excellent way for the company to recognize members and talk about the latest company news in order to stay transparent.
My New Insights for Pledge 1% Colorado !
Legacy Wall and Bash
A way to showcase member’s who have exited! You can see the complete list or click on one of their stories to read a feature story on their successes. This not only gives member’s recognition, but an extra perk for exiting! In addition, I envision Pledge 1% Colorado throwing all companies that exit a “Legacy Bash” where they are honored for their hard work.
Impact Story Page
Another insight was that potential new members needed a way to see the company’s impact. What a better way than to see and read about stories from the members themselves!
5 Second Usability Test
After developing the wireframes and prototyping the design, it was now time to do some user testing. Below, are my results when 8 anonymous users where asked to describe the design and reflect on how it made them feel in 5 seconds. For the test, they had to quickly scroll through the landing page of the site.
I reviewed my original design principles and goals for my design challenge. I found that the word “Colorful” fit very nicely with my original intentions to inspire people with the use of bold colors! I thought the word “comfortable” was an amazing compliment to the site as that suggested there was a personal and relaxing feeling.
- Font color on dark background was difficult for some to read.
- The new design might still be too wordy.
- The pledge buttons and down arrows feel bulky and outdated. The use of a bold gradient and a thick contrasting border feels out of style.
- The commenting capabilities for members to interact with on posts actually hinder the success of the website. Often times, commenting could become bad spam, denting the reputation of the company.
- I wonder what the site would be like if the background was white instead of dark gray? Would the site appear more friendly? Or less bold? Would font be easy to read?
- I want to update the design of the pledge button and the down arrows to something more sophisticated — flat and transparent feel.
- I want to remove all commenting sections and leave that for the social media pages.
- I would like to build out more exclusive member content. What other benefits might Pledge 1% Colorado provide for their members?
- How can I make my site less wordy and more straightforward?
I guess it’s time to do some more research and a new iteration!