VolunteerMatch.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to help match volunteers with organizations.
As a group of junior UX designers, we decided to do this project to practice conducting user research, following the principles and processes of UX design, and creating high fidelity designs. As users of VolunteerMatch, we were interested in assessing the mobile site to better understand how others interact with it and see if they face the same usability problems that we encountered.
Our demographic focus for this project was Gen Z and young Millennials. Gen Z is known as “philanthrokids”. They are mobile first, born in the technology boom, are interested being in leaders and want to make a difference. They may also be social media influencers or easily influenced, looking to gain experience in various career fields, have short attention spans, and more visually driven.
We worked on this project for 3 months. We are not working for or directly affiliated with VolunteerMatch, we simply wanted to apply design thinking principles to solve design problems.
We kicked off the research phase with a heuristic evaluation of VolunteerMatch’s mobile site using Jakob Nielsen's 10 general principles for interaction design. We listed out the features of the site that we thought violated those principles and used them to generate the tasks for our usability testing.
We wanted to determine whether users’ pain points aligned with the findings from the heuristic analysis and discover any other pain points they may have.
The tasks were as follows:
We conducted 10 usability tests and found that users biggest pain points were:
After usability testing the current site, we did some research on who volunteers in general. Though the largest age group that spends time volunteering falls into the Baby Boomer category, we determined that they are most likely not using a site like VolunteerMatch to find opportunities, especially during a pandemic where they are more at-risk. We decided that younger millennials and Gen Z would be the targeted audience for our redesigned mobile site.
During the user research phase, we identified essential features through comparing VolunteerMatch to similar organizations' websites and apps.
After gathering all of our primary and secondary research, it was time to begin sketching. Each team member began exploring ideas individually to solve some of the pain points revealed through testing.
After determining which key features to focus on from the sketches, we all took our ideas into digital wireframes. From there we utilized the heat mapping method by placing dots on everyone's wireframes to vote for the screens and features we thought best solved the issues. We then divided up the work for who would do which screens moving into the low-fi prototype.
The tasks included:
Next we recruited 5 Gen Z users between the ages of 19-23 to conduct the tests with. Overall the users had positive feedback, had were able to easily navigate through the website.
I compiled a quick mood board of images that fit well with the brand and the colors that we pulled from the website. I then took on the responsibility of creating a mini UI kit so that we could all work together on the high-fidelity design and be sure that it was cohesive across all of the screens. Each team member was able to reference the typography, color, and visual style guidelines and together we created a beautiful high-fidelity prototype.
Using the UI kit, we worked together to transform the low-fidelity screens into high-fidelity, adding color, images, and new icons to enhance the mobile experience. It was extremely important that we add these things as well as a clearer hierarchy, as our target audience is very visual, spending much of their time on social media.
One of the key insights discovered was that many volunteering platforms have difficulty keeping users engaged on their platforms. More than one of our users indicated that they had used volunteer websites once to find an organization and then never used it again.
Research also backs up these findings. According to the last Bureau of Labor report, most volunteers are involved with either one or two organizations—72.0 percent and 18.3 percent respectively.
If we had time to continue working on this project, a few ideas that we would explore are gamification and ways to keep volunteers engaged. A few concepts we had were: