Snapshot of a favorite project
Sole UX researcher on a small tech team that developed a web app for volunteers.
What I did
- Ran research sprints and participatory design sessions.
- Jointly created product road map informed by user research and organizational priorities.
- Made and owned high-level structural wire frames that were source-of-truth for UI design and development.
- Post launch usability research and product pivot recommendations.
New York Cares is a large nonprofit that puts 50,000 volunteers a year into neighborhoods around the city. Its high-volume system depends upon specially trained team leaders to supervise volunteers in the field. These ‘super volunteers’ also submit key performance data back to the organization, through its website.
The team leaders often fail to submit this data. Missing data is problematic: it's crucial for tracking programmatic goals as well as for fundraising.
An initial one-month research sprint, combined with participatory design sessions, produced a series of actionable insights. These included:
- Creating a single digital space for team leaders to easily find useful content.
- Prioritizing mobile functionality. Team leaders are often on public transportation and leading busy projects in the field, with limited access to desktop screens.
- A suite of modifications to the existing system and product, including highlighting summary attendance data to better supervise volunteers and automating attendance reminder emails.
High level wire frames morphed from rough paper sketches to more refined visuals.
The wire frames were used by an external consultant to create a final UI skin. We launched a simple product in Spring 2021. It included only essential functions: attendance and impact data submission.
Additional research cycles
After launch we installed a Jira bug reporter. This allowed everyone on the team to be involved in the usability feedback loop.
Although we had planned to incorporate SMS messaging features, a new round of research showed that improving current email functionality would suffice. This prevented a costly build that might not have been widely adopted.
The product is launched but lacks finesse.
It has succeeded, though, in its mission to be a beachhead as we move forward. The team is working on adding new functions, and refining the existing product through user feedback.