Our instructor kicked off P2 by pulling up a slide with all the companies each group could potentially get, yes this is a team project our first one. Ikea, Kindle, SoFar, Blue Apron, Venmo, Lyft, and Etsy. Once she recapped all the briefs, I was secretly wishing for Venmo in which the brief explained that they want to add a feature to extend social impact. Cool! But next we were going to have to pick out of a bowl for which company we were going to “work” with. With the chances of picking Venmo being 14% I did not get my hopes up as my team member Alex went up to pick out of the bowl. Then by some miracle he picked Venmo! That almost never happens!
Alex, Josh, and I were now “Team Venmo” and we were all really excited about it. We agreed that we all favored the Venmo brief and were coming up with solutions already, which we know your not supposed to do. We couldn’t help it!
As part of P2 we were asked to start with a screener survey before going into interviews. Being that we had 3 days to complete exercise one which included all the interviewing, infinity mapping, and user journeys, we got right down to it! We sent out a survey asking about donation behaviors to all our friends and family.
Interviews and Insights
Being that we were doing most of our interviews the next day, I got my parents, one sister, and boyfriend to agree to fit me into their schedule for a 30 minute interview. Since Josh was only interviewing one person, he helped me with transcribing the interviews which takes forever. By Saturday afternoon all our interviews and transcribing were done. We moved on to getting all our insights down on post-its so we could infinity map by the time General Assembly’s campus closed at 6pm. Alex and I kept the group on a tight schedule, no late night or all nighters were going to happen. We got stuff done and fast. Josh was running a bit behind us but it was 5pm so we started moving post-its into themes for the infinity map.
Josh joined us shortly after and soon we had a very large infinity map taking up half of a hallway wall. We discussed and moved more post-its around before we were able to start listing out all our insights.
Just as we were finishing listing out our insights, we heard the staff coming around saying “Campus closes in 10 minutes!”. We left campus on Saturday feeling great about our progress and planned to meet at 11am the following morning back on campus.
Primary and Secondary User Profiles
The idea of user profiles was explained to us the day of P2 kickoff and to be honest Team Venmo didn’t fully understand the use. Before sending off our screener surveys we had to decide who are primary user was and who our secondary user was. The primary user was obviously going to be a user who donates, but for the secondary we were a little lost. It would make the most sense to have the secondary user be the people who work at charities but we had no contacts. We eventually decided that have a non donator made more sense for us since we simply didn't have time to try and find people who worked at charities and then convince them to do a 30 minute interview for nothing in return. So we started forming the profiles by finding a nice stock photo then giving that photo a fake name, job, and personality. All this information is decided based on the research from user interviews. Voila we arrived at Amy the graphic designer who loves to give back and Dave the software engineer who does not.
Our next task was to draw out a user journey map for Amy (our primary user)… again something new for P2 that we had just learned and didn’t quite understand. We decided to draw a journey map of her donating to her friends charity of choice on Facebook. Something you often see these days on Facebook, even my 83 year old grandmother did one. We followed Amy as she had to look into the group that her friend was raising money for, make sure it was a worthy cause, then decide she was going to donate only to have her credit card number come back with an error. Argh she’s so frustrated! Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to deal with those errors? Enter Venmo.
Now that we had all the exercises for the first part of the project done it was time for problem statement. We glanced back at out insights and quickly agreed that users want a quicker and easier way to donate. This statement didn’t surprise any of us, it was pretty obvious to us from the start that we would end up here after research.
Ideation and Planning
Step one was a design studio in which we sketched out our ideas for solutions in under 8 minutes. We then held another quick sketch session of designing into certain screens in a 4 minute time box. From here using the MoSCoW method (Must have/ Should have, Could have, and Won’t have)and our infinity map, we decided what functions and features were musts haves. We made sure that the features that remained in Must haves were directly reflected of our research.
We decided to focus on the “social pressure” aspect of donating, that being that if you see your friends are donating to causes you might be more inclined to donate as well. The main features being:
- Users Must be able to search causes within Venmo.
- Donations must appear in feed.
- There must be a unique “Donate” user action.
- Causes must have their own pages.
- We must introduce the new functionality to the user.
For our first prototype, we started with having on-boarding screens welcome the user once the app opened. This took you to the home feed once you completed swiping through on-boarding. We made the main user flow of the prototype use the “new recipient” icon in the top right hand corner. Once you click on the charity’s profile, we addressed concerns about transparency with the proceeds infographic on the profile page. This all probably didn't make much sense so please see the image below.
We also addressed users’ donation habits being influenced by social network by having the feed show when your peers donated to charities, with the users consent of course.
Yeah so we had a-lot of issues! But nothing too bad, so we thought. See below:
Pain point #1 — Users were confused with on-boarding screen
Pain Point #2 — Users misunderstood the information hierarchy in the donation cell and did not know what the donation tag icon would lead to.
Pain Point #3 User wants a search engine capable of filtering results in case they don’t have any preferred charities.
We made these changes but still felt like we were missing something, like we took the easy way out with our feature. So we double checked our post survey results. Our numbers were pretty low in the questionnaire and users did not seem enthusiastic with the social pressure and direct donation features. But would that improve with the changes we had to make? Maybe but maybe not. After a quick talk with our lead instructor in which she not so subtlety told us to take a risk. We decided to go for another idea. The “extra change” idea. What if you could automatically have extra change from transactions automatically go to your favorite charities? For people who don’t like to hand out 20$, this is a nice low impact way to donate but becomes high impact over time.
Prototype #2 — Updates and the New Feature
For our second round of testing we moved the on-boarding screens to an optional pop-up placed on the home feed. Then we introduced a secondary donation method; rounding up your transaction to the nearest dollar and donating the remaining change to the charity of your choice!
We also added filter options to charity searches in case you need help picking one out. We also added the option to turn on/off the extra change feature in settings.
So now we moved on to round two of usability testing…
Success! All our numbers improved and users were much more engaged and excited about the features!
- We made good progress, but the app still needs to be improved and tested before launch.
- In the second round of testing, users were able to make a donation in an average of 27.5 seconds.
- Our success metric was: if, during usability testing, 90% of users are able to donate in 20 seconds.
- The other success metric: if, during usability testing, 90% of users feel like the information presented about social causes is enough to make an informed decision.
- During round 2, only 80% felt that way.
The one thing that I did not bring up in this retrospective yet was working with a group instead of solo. I have to say I got lucky. Both Alex and Josh were easy-going but hardworking and we all put our egos aside to get this project done. Other groups in my class were not so lucky. We witnessed a lot of clashing and confrontations and a few tears. So thank you to Alex and Josh, I am so proud of what we created!