— Volunteer Matching App is an app that connects volunteers to people who needs them. Users can offer help as a giver, or ask for help as a receiver, and be found by others.

The Design Challenge.

The main challenge consisted of simplifying and optimizing the volunteering experience, so volunteers and people who need them can easily find the best fit in terms of interests and availability.

In addition to the previous, it is important to offer an experience that transforms the habit of scrolling into something meaningful and offer users a platform full of opportunities to make real human connections.

Research — Unveiling the joy of helping others.

The research stage consisted of two parts. The first was conducted with the purpose of having a deep understanding of the project and client needs. It consisted of a kick-off meeting, in which the client presented the project; and a co-creation workshop to refine specific aspects of it.

During the kick-off meeting, the client shared with the team his view of the project, its objectives, and some documentation he had previously collected. These documents provided deeper information about the initiative (ie: Business Model Canvas, Elevator Pitch, Letter from the Founder, etc), a list of contacts interested in the project, and a survey he had previously conducted. Once we processed such documentation, we had a broad idea about the assumptions that needed to be validated through research before designing. The co-creation workshop gave us the opportunity of clarifying certain aspects of the business, debate assumptions we found on the documents, and make strategic decisions that directly impacted the app design.

The second stage was conducted to validate pre-existing ideas, identify the spectrum of potential users, and finally dig deeper into their frustrations, motivations, and challenges when it comes to volunteering. We approached users via interviews and a survey, which provided a good mix of qualitative and quantitative data.

In parallel, we identified and studied direct and indirect competitors (other apps like Simbi and Fiverr) to understand their approach towards similar interactions with users (navigation, discoverability, etc).

Planning — Help others, under your own terms.

To begin the planning stage, we worked on an affinity map to group the gathered information, detect patterns, and find insights. This allowed us to identify the three main triggers/motivators when it comes to volunteering: practice a passion, networking, and the joy of helping others.

These three categories allowed us to create personas and dig deeper into their motivations, frustrations, and challenges; and to understand their needs at the time of offering o requesting help. Then, we mapped their journeys using role-playing to understand how they would interact with each other and with the app. This provided a wider vision about the touch-points and user needs that needed to be covered to offer the best experience.

Finally, we used additional planning tools to better understand how users would use the app. User Flows, Scenarios, and Use Cases helped polish the selected set of features, and therefore offer a simple, valuable and well-rounded experience for givers and receivers.

Design — From paper to the screen.

During the early design stages, we explored different navigation styles, gestures, tested key features and identified opportunities for improvement. We used paper prototypes to show our client different approaches towards the app and to quickly test our ideas. Thanks to this rapid prototyping approach, we came up with the main feature of the app: a sort of chain of help through which givers could recommend receivers activities, so they give back and show gratitude. This dynamic would help build a stronger community and to involve more people.

Before moving to mid-fidelity prototypes, we worked on a brand refresh for The previous branding didn’t transmit any of the values unveiled in the research phase. We considered important to steer the brand in that direction and to visually differentiate givers from receivers using color coding. This decision had a positive impact on the design of the app and its user experience.

Our mid and high-fidelity prototypes were developed having in mind key interactions, features, and paths we wanted to keep testing. The versatility of each screen was also directly related to specific actions we wanted users to try.

App breakdown — Translating findings into features.

Flexibility / Availability & Location: People willing to help others want the flexibility to do it under their own terms. Filtering by location and setting up their availability using a calendar provides them with enough tools to find opportunities that are a real match.

Interests / Hashtags: Users have diverse and particular interests, and we didn’t want to leave anyone behind. Hashtags resulted to be a versatile tool to filter and discover new activities.

Easy navigation / Feed & Tabs: Filtering using tabs to easily differentiate giving and receiving activities is a quick way to move through the app. Color coding provides visual aid to differentiate between those in the main feed.

Trust / Profile Verification & Social Media: Trust is a big factor when it comes to meeting strangers. Profile verification using LinkedIn and links to their social media help users to know each other better.

Social / Suggestions & Recommendations: The biggest challenge of the app is to keep users engaged in helping and receiving help. Recommendations are a way to keep certain users motivated, and suggesting activities to receivers help to keep the community in constant movement and expansion.


Testing with different users provided us with valuable feedback. Some of the screens were redesigned several times to assure users had the best experience while using the app.

One of the most challenging was “Availability”, due to the amount of versatility we wanted to provide. Some users felt overwhelmed by the number of options, therefore we tried different versions until we found the right balance. We also tested different ways of displaying “Filters” in the main screen to assure users would easily modify those fields, added a shortcut to “Favorites”, and optimized the copywriting in the onboarding screens.