GoodGivr

Simplifying
youth volunteer experience

Every high school student in Ontario is required to complete a minimum of 40 hours serving the community in order to receive a secondary education diploma. GoodGivr is a prototype to help youth volunteers discover interesting opportunities and record their hours digitally. I worked on this project as part of my UX Design Bootcamp at BrainStation in 2019.
Platforms
Mobile (iOS)
Roles
Product Design
Product Strategy
Research
UX Design
UI Design
Sketches
Wireframes
Prototypes
User Testing
Tools
Sketch
InVision
Principle

Overview

Problem Space

In the province of Ontario, secondary school students must spend a minimum of 40 recorded hours of community involvement to obtain a diploma. High school students search for opportunities online that can help them achieve this goal by scouring the internet for placements. While most organizations post openings online, there is no source of truth for connecting with every single opportunity available while on the go.

Scouring multiple websites creates a lag between students and their goals as they spend more than necessary time searching for a placement that suits their individual constraints.

Design intervention

While researching existing solutions to help students get their hours, I studied volunteer websites that focus on placements in Ontario. Websites such as SparkOntario.ca allow students to search placements using primary and secondary filters, and show versatility by interchangeable interface between list and map view for ease.

However, there were no corresponding mobile applications for searching placements. This opened up an opportunity for a potential mobile application product catering to youth volunteers. Synthesizing the information I collected from my research as well as through user interviews, I distilled my data down to three high-level problems to solve for:

1

The
Wrong Fit

Placements were not meaningful enough leading the youth to feel less fulfilled at the end of their shift, therefore, reducing their motivation to continue past required hours

2

Administrative
Errors

Students sometimes lost credited hours because manual recordings  were misplaced or entered incorrectly causing frustration and leading to repeat hours

3

Lack of
accountability

Some organizations don't take youth volunteers seriously and have them fill out paperwork or sit instead of letting them do fieldwork which leads to poor experiences

design solution

My proposed solution helps the youth search for all available volunteer placements in one spot while filtering results according to their personal interests and constraints. The youth can then use the application to track their volunteer hours digitally, thus, reducing administrative errors in recording volunteer hours. In addition to being a one-stop shop, GoodGivr enables an accountability system using volunteer reviews for every organization a volunteer has provided their time to.

Constraints for this project include designing GoodGivr from two different perspectives: one from the volunteer's perspective, another from the perspective of the organization to make this prototype a functional communication system.
Here are the design solutions I focused on:

Personalized Initiatives

New suggestions every week keep the user informed about opportunities they will like when they’re available. All suggestions are relevant to the user’s preferences to help save time wasted in searching for the right opportunities.

Details for each initiative include external contact links, the ability to read reviews from previous volunteers, and saving the placement for later.

Digital Record Keeping

Users can view the details of each of their active placements by tapping on the arrow to expand. They can see information like number of hours volunteered and available, the durational nature of the placement, and contact buttons to contact the organization directly.

To find further details such as a form with all recorded hours, they can tap the card and access the information there.

Volunteer Reviews

Users can access review written by other volunteers on the page with placement details.. They also have the option of writing their own reviews under their active initiatives on their volunteer tab.

Design Process

Research

User Interviews
Competitive Analysis

Synthesis

User Personas
Experience Map
User Stories
Task Flow

Ideation

Brainstorming
Sketching

Prototype

Wireframing
Prototype

Synthesis

Usability Testing
User Feedback

User Research

Interviews

Understanding youth volunteers

In my research, I conducted 4 interviews online and over-the-phone with adolescents aged between 15-18 to examine their process from discovery to execution when it comes to finding the right volunteer placement. I hoped to discover answers to the following questions:

1. What today's youth understands by the term 'volunteering' and what it means to them

2. How their volunteering experiences have shaped their attitudes towards volunteering

3. What are some ways they look for volunteer placements and how they feel about their process


To gain reliable insights, I made sure all interviewees owned a smartphone and were Ontario GED hopefuls currently enrolled in a secondary school. Each participant was either in the process of completing their hours (currently volunteering) or was searching for the right fit (motivated to volunteer).

Research Insights

Design Challenge

How might we simplify the volunteer experience to increase volunteer retention rates in the youth?

Synthesis

User Persona

Empathy blocks for the user

I created a primary and a secondary persona to represent user groups that exhibit similar behaviours. This gave me a clearer idea about how either user group would engage with a solution product.

User Journey Map

Discerning design opportunities in real-life experiences

I designed a real life scenario a student would go through in their attempts to collect their volunteer hours. By reducing their overall experience to bite-sized chunks (smaller actions and thoughts), I was able to identify opportunity gaps that could serve as a starting point for solving larger problems.

User Stories

Translating design opportunities into product solutions

By exploring the journey Jacob takes to find and participate in initiatives, I was able to construct user stories from his perspective keeping in mind his pain points. I then used these pain points to group the user stories into three distinct categories called epics:

  • Large Pool of Volunteering Placements (Core feature)
    "As a youth volunteer, I want to contribute 40 hours of my time to community involvement so that I can complete my post secondary diploma requirements"
  • Smart Filtering (Core Feature)
    "As a youth volunteer, I want to find initiatives aligning with my schedule so that I can maximise productivity during after school hours"
  • Digital Tracking (Should Have)
    "As a youth volunteer, I want to keep track of my time spent volunteering so that I can get reliably credited for my community involvement"
  • Accountability Enforcement (Should Have)
    "As a youth volunteer, I want to be taken seriously by organizations so that I can meaningfully contribute to my community"
  • Direct Communication (Nice to Have)
    "As a youth volunteer, I want to connect with organizations that need my help so that I can successfully enlist as a volunteer for that organization"

User Task Flow

A representation of a user's typical journey

Once I had narrowed down the user's journey to three main tasks, I combined them into task flows to explore how they relate to one another. The task flow below is broken into two chains to only focus on tasks occurring within the solution product and not externally.

Once the volunteer application is accepted and the user is enrolled in the program, the user can check their hours digitally using the product

Ideation

Initial Sketches

I began the ideation process by sketching out some screens to help me visualize and structure logical design components prior to digital wireframing.

Wireframes

The first low-fidelity prototype

Using the 'need to have' list and task flow, I created low fidelity wireframes to build the first prototype for user testing early on. Through rapid iterations, I intended to receive feedback on design components in the early stages to prevent issues later on in the design process.

Testing

User Testing & Iterations

Identifying usability issues by observing user design decisions in real-time

I conducted 2 rounds of usability tests with 3 users per round. Each user was asked to onboard, interact with suggested placements on screen and check records. This activity helped me measure the ease with which a user can engage with the interface so I could more accurately gauge user expectations.


I used the qualitative feedback I received to make important design changes to improve usability, focus on the  shortcomings of my user task flow and came up with solutions that I then tested to validate. Here's how I incorporated changes to my initial few prototypes:

Prototype

Onboarding & Customization

The on-boarding process allows the user to personalize the app before using the interface. With their details in, the app transforms the use's experience by suggesting volunteer placements based on the user's unique interests, giving them access to their personal volunteer history as well as the ability to reference and share their community involvement records digitally.

Style Guide

I used a style guide to provide a design standard when I worked on high fidelity wireframes.

reflection and key learnings

During this project, I had the valuable opportunity to empathize with Ontario's largest volunteer population and develop a better understanding of their needs through the interview process. I realized that giving back to the community can displace itself in our personal priority list if there are barriers to find out how we can do it. Being human means we want to connect with others and make an impact and when we feel selfish it's not our proudest moment.

Future considerations from an organizational perspective
Being able to communicate with volunteers directly using an application, schedule their hours, and digitally record their contribution can make the volunteer process easier on organizations from an administrative perspective. If I were given the opportunity to build this app, I would definitely consider exploring the needs of volunteer organizations and designing for their pain points.

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You made it! Thank you for reading through this case study! Hope you enjoyed learning about my design and thought process. This was my first ideation to prototype process. If you have a moment, I'd love to hear your feedback and learn from you!