A UX research project with a focus on UI design
What was I trying to solve?
The brief focuses on enhancing the user engagement of the Communiteer platform using gamification techniques.
The overarching goal is to drive repeat use, retention and engagement.
My role and responsibilities
I collaborated with a team of designers to interview the stakeholders and better understand the problem we were trying to solve. I then conducted research, and individually designed a solution for the redesign of the Communiteer platform that would enhance user engagement. This was then presented to the Communiteer team for review.
Start to finish: 7 weeks; a project-based learning experience for Communiteer.
What are the design challenges?
Based on the brief and the stakeholder interview, we uncovered the three key problems that we were trying to solve:
Volunteers sign up and come on to the platform and are not sure what to do next. Even after joining an opportunity, it is not clear what to do.
Volunteers go off-platform to complete tasks, and there is no way to track them. Completing tasks is the way Communiteer earns money so it was imperative to make this task easier and obvious to the user.
We want to see a high number of volunteers who complete the journey, engage with the platform, and complete tasks and record their time.
This project was guided by a User-Centred Design approach to understand exactly what motivates people to sign up to the Communiteer platform, and to start to understand what they may be looking for in a platform that would enable them to find and undertake volunteering opportunities.
This process moves through 5 key steps:
Stakeholder interviews, reviewing key personas provided by the client.
User journey mapping and defining the design opportunity.
How might we statements, brainstorming, sketching and ideation.
Low, Mid, and High-fidelity prototypes.
Three rounds of user-testing to uncover usability issues and gain qualitative feedback.
Empathising with user needs
Reviewing the Communiteer platform I believe firstly we need to address some of the usability issues before considering Gamification, and this will go a long way to achieving our goals.
Namely: making the platform mobile friendly and intuitive to use, guiding the users more, so they can think less.
I also looked at exemplars in the market, to see what they are doing well.
How might we?
How might we help people understand how to use the Communiteer website better?
How might we engage people who work in corporates to get involved with volunteering?
How might we encourage volunteers to stay on platform and complete tasks?
How might we encourage volunteers to record their time?
How might we encourage volunteers to come back for more?
User personas and journeys
Based on the top two personas provided by Communiteer, I mapped out the user journeys to see how we might improve the user flow.
I started with sketches to explore how I might improve the usability and onboarding flow.
I drafted wireframes and looked to begin user testing.
Refining the look and feel and starting to explore with design elements and how brand colours can be applied.
User testing & validation
Three rounds of testing.
Firstly to validate some of my ideas, and then to continue to uncover usability issues through the prototyping stages.
Round 1: General qualitative discussion around volunteering and gamification or rewards.
Round 2: Usability testing with my initial design wireframes.
Round 3: Final usability testing with a high-fidelity prototype.
Firstly to validate some of my ideas, I conducted general qualitative discussions around volunteering and how users feel about the impact they make and whether they would want to share their efforts with colleagues and friends.
It was important for users to know that their time spent was worthwhile and what impact their efforts were having. Users would consider sharing their efforts if they were proud of the positive impact they had made.
I also conducted general qualitative discussions to explore how users feel about recognition for the work they do.
Users didn't seek recognition, however, it was still appreciated and made them feel good about the work they had done.
I also conducted general qualitative discussions to explore how users feel about competition used as a way to encourage them to volunteer.
Users thought it would be motivating to see how they are doing compared to their peers as it gives them an incentive to do better.
I explored how users feel about rewards used as a way to encourage them to volunteer.
Users didn't seek rewards as they volunteer to give and not to receive. Given the context of volunteering, they felt that any rewards would need to be relevant and complement the true value and idea behind volunteering. The idea of building up points to enable volunteers to give further was suggested.
Following what brand guidelines existed, I began to expand on this and look at what design elements I could use to complement brand.
I extracted elements from the logo that could be used to add a subtle design flair.
Based on the existing colour palette I planned out the states for all buttons within the web app.
I created components for clean and easy-to-use forms, that included styling for state changes and error messages.
I then moved into the Prototyping stage, where I created a wireframe and clickable prototype, based on the Information Architecture and User Flow, keeping in mind the qualitative feedback from users.
Before thinking about gamification, it was important for me to design a simple & easy to navigate mobile first UI.
I included Intro screens and an onboarding flow to familiarise new users with the app, lead the user through the signup and preferences for the app.
A Popup guide when joining opportunities was designed so that users know what to do and what to expect when joining new opportunities - especially the piont of recording hteir time and completing tasks as this is how Communiteer earns income.
Updated Dashboard & Profile section- View in progress and saved opportunities, Set weekly goals, View Impact.
Intro screens to help users get acquainted with the app, which can be dismissed to leaved control with the user.
Gamification without gimmicks
A Badge System was used so users can gain levels for their activity in the app. This was based on the feedback insights that users wanted a little healthy competition with their peers to encourage them to complete volunteering opportunities.
This also meets the client goal to keep users active and engaged within the app.
The Badge System also included badges for Learning, which would encourage users to diversify the types of opportunities they complete. By completing opportunities and tasks outside of their skillset, users are encouraged to learn and develop new skills.
Community Badges were used to encourage users to connect to each other and therefore being more engaged within the app.
Users wanted a little healthy competition and so a Leaderboard of top achievers was designed so that users can see how they are doing compared to their peers.
Inspired by user feedback, Gold for Good was introduced so that users can accumulate sponsored points that they can donate to a community of their choice.
Employers can sponsor the points which make employees feel more respect for them. Employees have more purpose and engagement in their work and employer.
Users feel good for volunteering while being awarded and given control to also donate to a cause of their choice.