Many non-profit arts, culture and social organizations have young professional groups but struggle to recruit and engage them.
Problem Statement: Young people don’t join or regularly participate in philanthropic activities.
Though competing services connect volunteers with organizations in need or networking events centered around common interests, none offer access to a variety of event types as well as foster a community.
To differentiate the solution in the marketplace, I needed to better meet the users’ needs with a service that was not only functional, but also convenient and enjoyable to use.
UX Methodology: Empathy Interviews + Lean Prototype for early, rapid feedback
Design Stack: Invision + Sketch (mobile only)
Project Length: 12 weeks
Initially, I hypothesized users were not as engaged because they lacked awareness of existing organizations relevant to their interests. In-person interviews enabled me to dig deeper on interesting feedback and ask more “why?” questions to get a more thorough understanding of behaviors and habits.
- Method: In-person, empathy interviews
- Participants: 3 Males, 3 females; aged 27 – 31, from around the United States
- Research revealed young people frequently had a connection with one or more organizations, but found getting involved in activities difficult due to their fluctuating, busy schedules.
- Personas see career development as a top priority, followed by spending time with friends. Other activities tend to get pushed from their calendar first.
- They also want to support and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, so they don’t want to go out every night.
I designed a primary persona of Anne, which I relied on heavily when making design decisions, prioritizing features and creating empathy.
Designing a solution began with creating a mental model and primary user flow based on insights from the discovery phase, then translating the user journey into stories for the backlog:
- As a user, I want to see events happening in my free time, so I can make last-minute plans.
- As a user, I want to see where events are happening, so I can evaluate how easy it is to get there.
- As a user, I want to see who else was at an event, so I can keep in touch with them.
- As a user, I want a variety of event types, so I can do something to suit my mood and budget.
I want to feel like I’m doing something meaningful to benefit society.
I prioritized creating features that could have the biggest impact but did not require not high effort.
After mapping features to different tasks within the user’s journey, I began sketching screens and storyboards of ideas for UI, elements and navigation patterns. Because the user is frequently on-the-go and making last-minute plans, I prioritized sketching a mobile experience, with the intention of adding in tablet and desktop experiences afterward.
I set up several sessions for users to explore the concept using the interactive prototype and presented scenarios to discover if they would be able to complete tasks.
The mental model for events is tied to a calendar, and a simple interface, like iCal and Sunrise, resonates will with this audience. I continue to work on mocking up ideas for features based on feedback and adding functionality.
- Adding integration with popular calendar services (Google, iCal or other) so users can simply select a time frame to query events.
- Color coding event types to make them easily distinguishable
- Test a swipe-style UI
- Search for events by certain day as well as specific date or explore upcoming.
I am also working to increase the fidelity of prototypes, and next steps will be performing usability testing with new versions.