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COVID-19 DESIGN CHALLENGE

Created for the TechPoint S.O.S Challenge

Project Overview

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My Role

Project Manager Lead Designer

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Date & Duration

June - July 2020

Five Weeks

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Tools

HTML & CSS

Heroku

Figma

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Team

Patrik Bauer, Shelby Benton, Pragyan Day, Julia Lucas, Maggie Reeves, Caleb Warner

My Impact

As the team's project manager, I managed outreach with the coaches, communicated project milestones, created meeting agendas, and made sure the team stayed on track.

 

As the team's design lead, I created UI mockups of the site based on research, conducted user testing, iterated on the team’s solution, and created a cohesive brand. I was able to utilize my front-end development skills to code the HTML and CSS of the website through the Heroku platform as well.

What I Learned

This project taught me a lot about working effectively on a cross-disciplinary team. I was forced to step out of my comfort zone by focusing on business strategy, as well as actually building out a working prototype. I learned a lot about project management and communicating my ideas effectively. The time constraints proved a fun challenge.

Design Opportunity

The Problem & Goal

The TechPoint S.O.S Challenge gave students the opportunity to gain work experience because of internships lost due to COVID-19. Teams worked on a pandemic related challenge by creating a product prototype and go-to-market plan. 

 

My team focused on Indiana nonprofits' struggle to acquire a steady amount of volunteers to help with their organizations. This has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, because of a lack of in-person volunteering opportunities. Our unique solution, Benefit Indiana, tackles this issue head on.

The Solution

Benefit Indiana is a website created both for people looking to volunteer, and for nonprofits looking to bring awareness to their volunteer opportunities. By utilizing a unique matchmaking questionnaire, volunteers are able to be paired with a nonprofit fit just for them, based on interests, skills, time availability, and location. Nonprofits benefit by raising awareness of their nonprofit, and by acquiring volunteers that are interested in their mission.

As nonprofits begin to accept in-person volunteers again, it can be a challenge to know which Indiana nonprofits need the help and where to find those personalized volunteer opportunities. Our go-to-market strategy relies on online traffic and nonprofit awareness. 

 
 
 
 

Business Strategy

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Environmental Analysis

In order to gather broad information about our markets, the team conducted basic research on the issues that both nonprofits and volunteers were facing in light of COVID-19. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Nonprofits are facing budget cuts as well as restrictions for volunteering activities due to COVID-19

  • Due to the high level of unemployment, volunteers have less of an incentive to work without pay

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Customer Personas

Given that our project connected two key demographics, volunteers and nonprofit leaders, it was necessary to research and reach out to both, in order to fully understand our problem scope. From our interviews and survey, we developed a deeper understanding of our clients’ needs.

  • Interviews: 3 volunteers & 2 nonprofit leaders 

  • Survey: 17 responses

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Value Proposition Canvas

From the customer data collection and analysis, we were able to develop a value proposition canvas outlining the key features of our site.
3 Main Problems:
  • Inability to fit volunteering into schedule

  • Lack of motivation to volunteer (fit interests/skills)

  • Lack of awareness

3 Respective Solutions:
  • Create a timing filter or tool

  • Create an interests-matching program

  • Create a localized nonprofit information page (landing page)

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Business & Revenue Model

Our business model allowed us to identify a solid plan for beginning revenue acquisition. Nonprofits would pay to be featured on the landing page of our website. We would also receive a small fee from donations made through the website. This money would be channeled into overall advertisements for our site, helping both us and the nonprofits increase online presence.
 

Prototyping & User Testing

To begin the build process of our solution, the team discussed key research findings that would inform our design decisions. Collaboration between the business team and development team was essential at this step in our process. We needed to know the interfaces that we were prototyping aligned with the needs of our users and target market. After identifying the main functionalities of our site, we brainstormed how it would work, as well as how it would look. With the help of our task flow, and a few paper sketches, we were well on our way to creating lo-fi mockups that were then tested with users. 

User Testing

What | Basic usability testing, with post-test interview

 

With Who | 4 users (two on the nonprofit side of our interface, and two on the volunteer portion of the UI) 

 

Goals | By going into testing with several goals, we knew what we wanted to get out of it, which streamlined our iteration process. These goals were: 

  • See how users navigate the website and its intuitiveness

  • Discover points of confusion

  • See if users understand the basis of the website’s functions

  • Figure out what specific features users would want out of a website like this

Insights | Insights that we received from this testing allowed us to iterate on our designs. Some insights were: 

  • Overall, users understood main function of website

  • Would be helpful to include specific data points as to how the nonprofits have benefited Indiana

  • Include a “Match Me” button at the top, prior to the featured nonprofits 

  • Add central Indiana to location options

  • Add number to matches on results page

  • Add warning that user will lose their results after they exit page

 

As user testing was happening, the team began coding the bones of the website. We saw it necessary to begin the development process early, which benefitted us as the weeks of the challenge drew to a close and we were ahead of schedule. After iterations had been made subsequent to testing, the team was ready to solidify the design and move forward with finalizing the website code.

 

Future Steps

We had only five weeks to create Benefit Indiana, thus, the team identified several areas in which development of the product could be expanded, both on the product development and business development sides. 

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Website User Interface

  • Create a more streamlined website design

  • Better align UI with user expectations (with the creation of new features) 

  • Add option for donations

  • Design web traffic tool so nonprofits know how they’re acquiring volunteers from our site

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Backend Data Storage

  • Create user profiles in order to save responses from volunteers

  • Email nonprofits their inputs, with the option to buy a feature ad

  • Add traffic analytic tool for nonprofits

  • Match by specific volunteer events/opportunities rather than interests in general

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Outreach & Revenue

  • Reach out to service clubs, schools, and organizations in order to increase promotion

  • Acquire government grants for advertisement costs

  • Create a more complex business/ad structure

  • Calculate web and publicity maintenance costs

Back to top. 

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