Designing a Charitable App: Concept

These are the preliminary concepts that I have drafted. Each are modeled from several popular and widely used apps such as Tinder, Instagram, and Amazon. The details are not as important as the general way in which the app would work to make donating as effortless as possible. The designs are not concrete and are still open to change. For instance, I didn’t think of utilizing Youtube’s top-anchored menu until my last iteration, but I feel that it would work with a number of other ones.

When I first came up with the idea for this project, my solution could be summarized as “Tinder, for charity”. Ergo, this was the first concept that I developed.

The idea behind it was to incentivize donations by making it as simple and effortless as swiping right. This model also presents passing up an organization or cause (swiping left) as an active choice.

One issue I identified is that while this model can nudge users to donate, it can also cause users to feel pressured into donating. Because each right swipe represents money, however small, rather than being effortless, a right swipe could instead be a fraught decision, causing the user to default to swiping left.

A solution could be that instead of an instant donation, a two-step process can in implemented in which right swipes are the causes users are interested in and donating can come at later time. That adds another hurdle to completing a donation and risks having users be less likely to commit. Instead of step 2 being opt-in, it can be opt-out where donations go be committed at a specified time or date and users can undo their choices not only instantaneously, but also in their activity feed.

Another issue would be that left swipes in Tinder are a rejection, and users can conflate that with the left swipe in this app with permanently rejecting a cause as opposed to momentarily passing it over. This conception could be a double edged sword as noted above. A tutorial of the app upon first use could help clarify it’s function, but it’s not guaranteed that it users will be able to disassociate Tinder’s left swipe with this app’s.

This design is based on an Instagram-style image feed. The functionality, which is familiar to a lot of users, should be easy to pick up with less chance of confusion as compared to the Tinder style design. Double tap to donate, and click on the heart to favorite a cause. Users can simply scroll past causes that don’t interest them instead of having to actively reject them.

This format is already being used by Spotfund and it was my favorite of the apps I reviewed.

Like Instagram, there’s the potential to integrate other forms of media such as video (that possibility also exists with the Tinder and One Today options). A Youtube style top-anchored menu would also work well in this format.

This design is inspired by the one7days days, which prominently features one cause. Having a single organization occupy the screen space can give users a lot more information about a specific cause and empower them donate.

On the other hand, it can be too focused and if the user is not interested in the particular cause, they would have to scroll further than with the other designs before they could see the next one.

And because this design has as much screen space devoted to a single post, it’s not as apparent that it’s a feed as with the Instagram style design.

However, it is the only one with a dedicated “Donate” button, and while I prefer it to be more integrated into an action as with the other designs, a very obvious call-to-action could nudge users into donating more so than a double-tap or swipe.

This design modeled after OkCupid’s app allows for more options to be shown on the screen at a time. It gives the user a better ability to see the available organizations for their interests and is more catered to those who may want to browse and search.

However, the format might allow for too many options, limiting how much information can be displayed about each one. And because of the quantity of choices available, users might not be as pushed to donate.

Swipe actions can be used, but are not as easily integrated into a two column design as a one column design. And because of the size limitations, content such as video could not be used in this design.

This ecommerce-style is modeled after the Amazon app. Like the OKC design, it allows for a lot of options to be displayed with a reasonable amount of information.

It’s not as image-reliant as the other designs and so gives more weight to information such as name, rating, and description. Which, to be honest, is probably more important than an image, although less compelling.

The same issues with the one7days design can apply here: while it gives a lot of options for certain users looking to browse, too many options can give other users decision paralysis and they might not donate as frequently.

Unlike the one7days design, swipe actions can be easily integrated, functioning similarly to an email app. But like the one7days design, it cannot utilize content such as video.