UW Blueprint
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UW Blueprint

Project Highlight #6: Pregnancy Centre (KW)

The Pregnancy Centre (KW) is a resource centre that serves local families in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and helps those in need to make healthy and informed relationship and pregnancy decisions. Free pregnancy tests, counselling with social workers, partner programs, post-abortion support, and material resources for children and mothers are just some of the ways they help the community. Since January 2021, UW Blueprint has been working on a central donation platform to manage the Pregnancy Centre’s staff workflow and better support their donors and clients.

The Problem

One of the key services that The Pregnancy Centre (TPC) provides is the facilitation of one-off item donations between donors within the community and clients in need. This includes strollers, cribs, baby gates, baby carriers, and more. TPC’s current workflow starts with a 1:1 client meeting with a mother or close family member who mentions they are not able to afford certain items for the safety and wellbeing of the child. In order to find an appropriate donor, TPC would post the request on their social media or use word of mouth, hoping that someone will meet the need.

Today, TPC’s relatively small team is struggling to handle an increasing volume of donation offers and requests. On the donor side, TPC staff is having a difficult time efficiently reaching all donors to communicate the most urgent needs. They also don’t have a means to clearly outline specific donation guidelines. On the client side, because there is no means today to efficiently broadcast their needs, requests often become stale before being fulfilled. With all the manual and labour-intensive effort, TPC came to us with the task of matching donors with client needs and allowing TPC staff to better manage this process all-on-one platform.

The Solution

Our team decided to deliver a tool which empowers TPC to facilitate more high quality donations with less effort. Some of our requirements included:

  • Accessible and discoverable on the primary Pregnancy Centre website
  • Easy integration with their existing system of managing requests
  • Protect individual client information

With the goal of delivering value to TPC as soon as possible, Blueprint split the development of the donation portal into 4 phases. Phase 1 of the project was to enable TPC to communicate the item needs of all clients to all donors in a single place. The design team and the product managers set out to conduct user research with TPC staff and past donors. We investigated their existing workflow, thought process, and pain points. The primary goal was to understand both users, clarify our assumptions, and properly scope the first phase of our project through feature prioritization. We arranged remote interviews and performed a persona mapping workshop within the team.

The Donor Experience

Beginning with the donor’s view, the guiding questions to our research started with:

  • What information does a donor need to know before deciding to make their donation?
  • What is the motivation level of the donor once they land on the Donation Hub?

The team wanted to deliver an experience that was easy to navigate and focused on presenting the clients’ needs to the donor. We explored storyboards, market research, and our interviews to design an interface to inform our decisions. Shown below are some of the iterations the design team went through as we navigated the different options for this public-facing experience.

Key features of the Donation hub for donors:

  1. Scrolling list of different needs — for easy navigation, we implemented a persistent left-sided list of open requests inputted by TPC.
  2. Detailed view of a need — the information that the donor needs to see prior to donating is in a detailed view. Other key details include item description, different types of the items, and a large image with an option to arrange a donation by sending an email

For phase 1, the design team wanted to maintain a clean, straightforward experience for the donors. To protect the clients, we decided to omit any personifying information tied to the request. Future iterations will explore more how to incorporate additional storytelling into the platform as it gains more exposure from donors who discover the page on their own rather than from social media or word of mouth.

The Admin Experience

On the TPC side, it was important to learn the details of their workflow to design the right platform for them to complete all their tasks efficiently and intuitively. Unlike the donor experience, there was added complexity similar to a B2B platform or enterprise solution. We started by interviewing Rebecca, a current TPC staff member who primarily manages the donation requests as part of her many jobs at TPC. She was able to give us key insights on the different stages she goes through per request, starting from when she first hears about it, to when the donation is successfully completed. The design team built out a flow diagram that outlined the architecture of the admin experience.

Key tasks that the admins can do:

  1. Create a new request — when a client comes in requesting an item, TPC staff can instantly input the request into the system
  2. Create new items — for a item that’s never been requested before, TPC staff can create a description for the item and add an image to show to donors
  3. Edit and manage requests — TPC staff can revise and delete requests

The Team

Megan: I’m Megan (3A CS) and the Project Lead on the team. I work with devs to bring the project vision to life! Over the past term, I’ve learned things about software development that school never teaches us and co-ops don’t let us touch. I’ve learned about estimating timelines, coordinating developers with different experiences, and communicating with designers and product managers.

Ainley: Hello! I’m Ainley, a 3A SYDE and one of the product managers on the team. The past four months leading this project has not only been fulfilling, but also super fun and packed with memorable team moments! As a PM, I’ve been able to scope new features with designers, conduct usability testing with our users, and facilitate communications between our team and The Pregnancy Centre.

Eason: Hi! I’m Eason (4B SYDE) and I’m the other product manager on the team. I’m super glad I got to spend my (hopefully) last term at Waterloo giving back to the local community by taking a project from ideation through to the finish line. I’m so grateful for the amazing team I’ve had the privilege to work with, and can’t wait to see this project grow in the future!

Judy: I’m Judy, (3B SYDE) and one of the product designers for The Pregnancy Centre! I’ve loved working with our client and our amazing development and product management team this term on Blueprint. We truly took this product from research and ideation to shipping it alongside everyone and seeing the value it brought to the Pregnancy Centre staff through testing and interviewing. I’ve truly grown as a designer in so many ways and I’m excited to see what’s next!

Bonnie: Heyo! I’m Bonnie (1B CS) and a product designer on the team. It’s been amazing to work with people who are so passionate about what they do and unbelievably supportive. I’ve grown so much as a designer, from conducting user interviews and becoming more thoughtful with design decisions. I couldn’t be more grateful — -can’t wait to see what we do together next term!

Anand: I’m Anand (3A Mgmt) and a dev on the team. I worked on features on the admin side of our project and watched it grow from idea to design to implementation. I learned so much working with such a talented team and I’m super proud with what we’ve accomplished in such little time.

Guy: I’m Guy (4B CS) and one of the developers on our team. I’m incredibly fortunate to be working with such a great team. This past semester, I’ve had the opportunity to design our database schema and API, do more with React and our frontend, and work with, learn from, and help others. It’s been such a rewarding experience!

Chamod: Hey! I’m Chamod (2A SYDE) and I’m a project dev on the team. This term, I’ve gotten to take ownership over features such as setting up authentication and file storage for the web app, in addition to some front end components. As a result, I’ve developed so many new skills as a developer and it’s been amazing working on a team with so many amazing and talented individuals bringing an entire product to fruition in less than 4 months!

Ellen: Hello! I’m Ellen (3B SE) and I’m a developer on the team. Although I had some web dev experience coming into the team, I still learned a ton from these past few months on Blueprint. I was floored by how much dedication everyone on the team had, and my favourite part about the team is how everyone is always willing to help each other out.

Kevin: I’m Kevin (2A CS) and I’m a project dev on the team. Some of the stuff I worked on included the backend server and integration with the database. I’ve learned so many new skills and it’s been amazing working on a project from concept to product launch. I’m super thankful to be able to work with such an awesome team!

What’s Next

For the next phase of our project, we can’t wait to introduce more client stories into the donor experience and build a story into the platform. We’ll also be exploring more interactions between the donor and the TPC staff directly on the platform by letting donors submit forms if they want to donate instead of having them call/email the centre. For the admin experience, managing request history and client profiles directly on the system will reduce additional tasks and pain points. As part of the design process, we’ll be performing usability testing and critiques to improve our designs to better suit our users. Our team can’t wait to keep working with The Pregnancy Centre to deliver the full solution!

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UW Blueprint

UW Blueprint

Tech for non-profits, built by UWaterloo students