Axure, InVision, Sketch
1/7 The brief
Who is N-Vest Africa?
N-Vest Africa is a non-profit organization startup founded by Emiola Dosunmu. She aims to tackle the negative effects of voluntourism by matching African non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to viable volunteers. As a small organization, N-Vest Africa is currently focusing their efforts in Nigeria — due to Emiola’s contacts in the country, but eventually wants to expand their reach across the African continent.
Their ask for us
Emiola asked us to create a digital product that matches skilled volunteers with organizations on the African continent. Her goal is to utilize volunteers in the best way possible to support local communities in an impactful and sustainable manner.
2/7 Exploring our options
After receiving the assignment, we wanted to understand why volunteers were being ill-matched with opportunities. We began by casting a wide net and researched the volunteer space in-depth.
Understanding the volunteering landscape
After a bit of research, we quickly learned there were over 46,000 NGOs in Nigeria alone. These organizations aim to supplement service gaps that are unable to be filled by the Nigerian government. We then looked to understand how volunteer organizations interacted with these NGOs. Current organizations fall into two categories:
From our research, we identified that there are a lack of meaningful yet accessible volunteer opportunities.
Speaking to volunteers and experts
We wanted to understand why it was difficult to find a reputable volunteering experience. We spoke with 9 volunteers and experts from around the world to understand: the pain points of volunteering around the would, the motivations of volunteers, and the organization’s perception of volunteers.
Who we spoke to
What we heard
Our interviews taught us that volunteers had many motivations. They were interested in helping others, but needed to be certain an organization was trustworthy and would utilize their skill set properly.
3/7 Understanding our user
4/7 Defining the problem
We determined that volunteers were looking for not just the right opportunity, but a credible opportunity. Trust is the foundation of human connections, so we created guiding principles to keep that in mind when designing our solution.
Volunteers and organizations need a digital tool that builds trust and matches both audiences based on skills, values, and level of commitment because they are reluctant to commit to an experience that wastes resources and doesn’t consider the needs of the local community.
5/7 Seeing what ideas stick
Next, we looked to create concepts and test our ideas with participants that fit our target audience. We looked to test ideas that facilitated mutual trust among volunteers and organizations. Our research taught us there are 3 ways to build trust and our concepts attempted to address these in divergent ways.
3 Ways to build trust
We tested the following ideas on 4 active volunteers. All participants were the same demographic as our persona, Mobo.
Helps users prepare for their volunteer experience through articles, videos, and other content about a country’s culture.
Provides assessment tools and credibility scores to help volunteers and organizations easily verify and evaluate each other.
Connects current volunteers to previous volunteers and expand their personal network.
Visualizes how organizations and volunteers are progressing towards their goals. Users can set up personal goals and document their progress of personal growth, like a journal.
Concept testing results
After looking over our test results, we learned that the best way to build trust was through information. Understanding someone’s behaviors, motivations, and experiences allow people to trust others. Our solution would need to be a cohesive convergence of the ideas that worked in testing to create a solution that builds trust between organizations and volunteers.
6/7 Our solution
Our team created a platform that enables volunteers and organizations to build their identities, create networks, and prepare to create positive change for communities around the world.
7/7 Future recommendations
Given the limited time on the project, we were unable to address all the issues in our solution. We left Emiola with recommendations to help with the success of future iterations.
Considering the organizations
We initially wanted to address volunteering opportunities from both sides — volunteers and organizations. Ultimately, we opted to address the organization’s issues by focusing on volunteers. As a result, <mark>we recommended that Emiola invest in research regarding the direct needs of organizations.
After my time on this project, I saw tremendous growth as a designer. My ability to collaborate with a team, interview participants, and execute on wireframes and prototypes in a timely manner all showed improvement. I also found my voice as a presenter and learned to convey my design process through an engaging story. My ability to collaborate with a team, interview participants, and execute on wireframes and prototypes in a timely manner all showed improvement.
Based on the strength of our final presentation to Emiola and the quality of our wireframes, my team was chosen to hand off our work to the UI team. Overall, I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish in a short amount of time. Success!