Meredith Hamilton





Service design and strategic design tweaks

Sometimes small changes can have an outsized impact. I often prioritize adjustments to existing processes through the lens of a service design mapping. But sometimes even simpler visualizations tell the story. I approach these small projects with a practical combination of skills in UI design, wordsmithing, and the ability to tactfully shape (I hope) changes in organizational behavior.

1. Strategic changes to the on-boarding and log-in process

Before they can volunteer new users at New York Cares must create an account, take training, and provide a few strategic bits of information. Over time this process had accumulated extra steps which created friction, particularly on mobile devices.

The introduction of an asynchronous on-demand training into this flow created an opportunity to adjust elements of the process. This training replaced in person training.

Edits to the forms:

• Elimination of non-imperative questions

• Form organized in contextual chunks

• Context as to why the organization requires personal information like birthdate and home address.

• Elimination of non-imperative questions


Design and heuristic changes:

• Modified the design of the form to encourage rapid scanning

• Redesigned the modal to clarify choice of account creation or login




These small adjustments had a big impact. On the volunteer information form:

• Exit rates on all devices declined from 13-14% to 6%.

• Exit rates on mobile devices declined from 19% to 8.5%.

• Average time on the page was reduced by 50%


2.  Service diagram of data flow


 New York Cares recently pivoted how it identifies and addresses community needs. This change in strategy was accompanied by an organizational restructure. The combination of the two changes created room for a number of changes in procedures and data tracking.


These diagrams focus on staff interactions with the data framework, and  illustrate a missing link in data flow within the organization.


3. Using a flow chart to shape project management

This road map diagram tracks the steps leading up to an annual event hosted by New York Cares. The  visualization helped align stakeholders on the digital process and a range of individual tasks. The diagram:

• Shaped project management steps

• Helped define on which pages on the website the virtual gala should be featured

• Revealed dead ends in navigation.

 4. A new on boarding flow for dedicated training

Volunteers who lead teams of other volunteers need additional training. Traditionally the training is in person. This service diagram shows the incorporation of an asynchronous on-demand training into a new team leader’s onboarding flow.

 5.  Retiring a widget: A single quantitative chart speaks volumes

When I came to New York Cares the homepage featured a widget to gamify volunteering. A glitch in the widget provided the opportunity to retire the widget and slightly reconfigure the home page. In order to justify retiring it I was able to show that 95% of all users had never interacted with the widget. This scatter plot shows the widget’s unintended consequences among the remaining 5%. Basically, most volunteers were being shown a low percentage of participation, no matter how much time they had spent volunteering.

Removing the widget freed up room for a homepage design with smaller, more browseable items.