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Expanding Donation Opportunities

Developing an informative goods donation page to empower potential donors with knowledge about the donation process and its positive impact. 

CLIENT

St Vincents Du Paul

(General Assembly Mock Project) 

MY ROLE

Co-led team of 4 UX Designers,

UX Research,

Project Management

TOOLS

Figma, Fijam, Slack, Zoom, Marvel

DURATION

2 week design sprint

INTRODUCTION

St. Vincent de Paul, widely known as Vinnies, is a dedicated charitable organisation that supports individuals in need through its op shops and charitable donation programs. In particular, Vinnies op shops play a pivotal role in generating funds for charitable endeavours, offering affordable pre-loved items while conscientiously contributing to environmental preservation. With the rise of fast fashion, the concept of sustainability has emerged as an increasingly pressing concern across various industries.

 

Vinnies, in particular, has observed a noticeable influx of donated items categorised as ‘expired’ or ‘out of trend.’ In light of this observation, Vinnies endeavours to encourage the donation of more sought-after and desirable items, aiming to foster community awareness regarding the vital significance of sustainability. In response to this, our aim is to develop a goods donation information page  to allow donors to feel informed about the donation process and impact.

KICKING OFF | UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET

To start off our research, we delved into market research on industry trends and individuals’ behaviours with donating and op shopping. The purpose of conducting this market analysis is to help inform our knowledge and understanding on noteworthy behaviour patterns that exist in the industry. In addition, it will help us to identify valuable information that can support our primary research in subsequent stages.

UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET TRENDS

What's the current impact of the clothing lifecycle?

Researching the clothing lifecycle revealed numerous detrimental effects on the environment:

  • In Australia, a staggering 800,000 tonnes of clothing and textiles are discarded annually

  • 90% of unwanted clothing ends up in landfills

  • It costs charities $13 million annually to dispose of unusable donations

  • Unusable donations amounts to approximately 60,000 tonnes of waste

MARKET TRENDS | DONATING BEHAVIOURS

Donating behaviour is on the rise in Australia and across the globe

Upon examining the patterns of people’s donating behaviour, we observed a notable rise in giving and donations both in Australia and worldwide. Interestingly, older Australians tend to engage in donating activities more frequently, whereas younger individuals exhibit a greater inclination towards supporting social justice and environmental causes.

COMPETITOR ANALYSIS | WHO ARE THE OTHER PLAYERS ON THE MARKET?

Gauging what Vinnie's competitors strength and weaknesses are

To assess Vinnies’ position relative to competitors, we conducted a thorough business and competitive analysis. This exercise aimed to identify any potential gaps that could be addressed to strengthen Vinnie’s market position.

We analysed the websites of both direct and indirect competitors, evaluating factors such as their locations, pricing, e-commerce processes, op-shop and donating information, and UI design.

Notable findings revealed that successful competitors:

Possessed strong branding, transparency, and retail strategies that effectively attracted younger generations.

Some drawbacks identified include:

Websites that had no e-commerce function, limited op-shop information, and minimal social media presence.

How does Vinnies compare to its competitors?

Our analysis indicated that a common trend among competitors was a robust social media presence. Recognising the significance of social media in reaching younger audiences, who rely on various platforms for information and research, we plotted competitors based on their digital presence and community engagement metrics such as social media followers and participation in charity programs.

This uncovered a potential gap between Vinnies and its competitors, as we found that while Vinnies maintained multiple social media platforms, its overall digital presence was weak. Further investigation revealed a fragmented social media strategy, with multiple accounts or pages across platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

While some platforms such as Instagram were regularly updated, others, such as TikTok lacked consistent attention. This lack of a structured upload schedule and unified social media presence may contribute to lower engagement levels.

INTERVIEWS | WHAT ARE OUR USERS SAYING?

Surveying 66 users and conducting in-depth interviews with 65 users

In the survey, we reached out through various channels and received 66 responses. We collected data on demographics, frequency and mode of donations, preferred charities, motivations, and barriers.

 

Our survey key findings include:

  • Majority of donors were from the younger generation, with 20 respondents aged 18–24, and 40 respondents aged 25–34.

  • 47 out of 66 respondents were motivated to donate due to their desire to support a cause.

  • 48 out of 66 respondents donated money, 33 donated goods, and 19 volunteered their time.

  • 42 out of 66 respondents did not engage with charities after making donations.

From our interviews, the following were revealed:

ARCHETYPE | WHAT DOES OUR USER LOOK LIKE?

Further analysis of these insights via empathy mapping led to the emergence of three archetypes:
Deciding which archetype to solve for

At this point, our team had to determine which archetype would be more valuable and appropriate to solve for. To do this, we considered the pros and cons of each archetype as well as Vinnie’s need to build community awareness on the negative impacts of fast fashion, and to increase donation of desirable items.

Our voting criteria looked at which archetype would the most feasible to solve for within our constraints and will provide value to the business and user in the short term. Considering this, each member voted on an archetype accordingly.

As a result, the “Informed Donor” archetype was agreed to have a lower barrier of entry as this user is self motivated and had a fixed behaviour of donating to causes that resonate with them. We also felt that this archetype was a stronger choice as we had a reasonable amount of insights to support it.

Meet The Informed Donor

Meet the Informed Donor, a user who does their research before donating as they want to make sure their donations actually make a difference by helping those in need.

The Informed Donor

Female, mid-late 20s

Bio

The Informed Donor is someone who donates regularly especially to causes that resonate with them strongly. They are motivated by wanting to make a difference, and tries to keep with with news around charity and various causes. However, The Informed Donor doesn't really know how much impact her donations are making a difference as this information is sometimes not easily found.

Goal

Wants to make a difference by helping people that are in need.

Needs

Needs the charity to: 

  • Be transparent about where the donations go

  • Be Credible

Behaviours
  • Does in-depth research about charities and causes

  • Encourages friends to join the cause

  • Reads social media articles, friend's posts, and news to find out more about causes

Pain Points
  • Not knowing where the donations goes

  • Not knowing if their donations are really helping

  • Not sure where to find credible information

PROBLEM STATEMENT

The informed donor needs to know where their donations go, so that they can help people in need.

JOURNEY MAP | IDENTIFYING THE OPTIMAL POINT OF INTERVENTION

By creating the user journey map, it was revealed that the 'Research' phase was the ideal intervention point.

A journey map was employed to further empathise with our user and to understand their needs and engagement during their donation process. This helps to identify opportunities along the way and what parts of the journey we can address to ensure a smoother user experience.

Based on our user research, our scenario depicts the journey of the Informed Donor browsing social media and the internet when they come across a cause that aligns with their values and beliefs. They conduct in-depth research into the charity more, viewing their mission, vision, and impact. They finally decide to donate to the charity, and after donating, they want to know where the donation goes.

We found that the ‘Research’ phase would be the ideal intervention point as addressing pain points encountered during this stage would bring the most value to our user. Another consideration was if our user dropped off at an early stage, this would have a negative impact on Vinnie’s business, so it was imperative to address any issues they would encounter early on.

IDEATE | REFRAMING THE PROBLEM

How might we show where The Informed Donor's donations go?
How might we show how donations are helping people?

By asking these questions, my team and I were able to sketch out ideas via the 'Crazy 8' method and iterate upon them through insightful discussions.

We converged on two main ideas:

1. Testimonials and infographics

Incorporation of testimonials from benefactors of the donations, supported by infographics and statistics regarding impact.

2. Donation Lifecycle

Implementing a donation cycle diagram that includes information on impact statistics, testimonials, and the steps involved in the donation process.

NARROWING DOWN | APPROACHING A SOLUTION

Voting on the winning idea

To determine the idea to explore further, we employed a team voting system. The criteria for voting encompassed feasibility for implementation, desirability and value for the user, and ongoing viability and benefits.

We concluded that revamping the 'Visualising the Donation Lifecycle' solution would be the most feasible and valuable idea.

PROPOSED SOLUTION 

A Visual Donation Lifecycle feature that enlightens donors about the destination of their contributions and the beneficiaries they help.

USER FLOW | PUTTING IT TOGETHER AND GETTING OUR SOLUTION RIGHT

Next, we created a ‘happy path’ task flow that showed the ideal user steps needed for our solution. From this, we extracted which features would be necessary for each step.

FEATURE PRIORITISATION | High Impact, Low Effort

We can't include everything in our MVP, so we prioritised the most valuable and low effort features first.

By prioritising features via the feature prioritisation matrix, we gained the insight that we had initially complicated our features by attempting to include everything in our MVP. However, by referring back to our research, archetype, journey map, and task flow, we were able to determine the core features required to solve our problem, preventing us from going off on a tangent.

For example, we made the decision to shift donating logistics to a “proceed carefully” stage, as it is not essential in aiding our users’ understanding of where their donations go, but it could provide them with valuable information once they have made the decision to donate.

RE-DESIGNING THE GOODS DONATION PAGE

Vinnie's current goods donation page contained several areas for improvement.

Vinnie’s current website features a goods donation information page that we can revamp instead of creating something entirely new. Our research indicated that users typically accessed the website through Google links on their desktop or mobile devices. Hence, developing an interactive and responsive website for both mobile and desktop users seemed appropriate. We reviewed the existing Vinnie’s goods donation page to assess the information currently provided.

We discovered several areas for improvement:

  • The donation process and its impact were unclear

  • The page contained excessive text

  • There were no supporting statistics or data on goods donation

  • Call to action to donate as not obvious

  • Information related to goods donation was scattered and difficult to locate

Based on these findings, our team concluded that redesigning the goods donation page and consolidating all pertinent information in one place would better serve our users’ need to understand where their donations go and how they can help people in need.

SPANNER IN THE WORKS | ADJUSTING TO CHANGE

Vinnie's updated their website as we prepared to move forward. However, we were still able to implement our solution by making a slight change.

As we prepared to move forward, we discovered that Vinnie’s had recently updated their website. The goods donation page now featured an accordion menu to address the issue of excessive text. However, the content remained unchanged from the previous version, and although a section below the accordion menu highlighted the benefits of donating, it lacked compelling visuals and sufficient statistical data to engage users effectively.

ORDER OF CONTENT

Despite these new changes, we found that the majority of content relevant to our solution still existed on Vinnie’s website. Upon referring back to the donation lifecycle diagram on Vinnie’s Western Australia website, we determined that the process was applicable nationwide. Recognising our user’s desire to understand the destination and impact of their donations, we proposed organising the content in a logical, step-by-step manner by grouping related information together. 

 

We hypothesise that by providing knowledge about the donation process and showcasing the outcomes of their contributions, our users wwould feel empowered and confident to donate to Vinnies.

TESTING EXISTING WEBSITE

Prior to wire framing, we tested the existing Vinnie’s goods donation page with 3 users to observe their behaviour.

Each of our usability tests were given a variation of the following scenario:

“You hear from a friend that they are donating goods to Vinnie’s and are intrigued. You want to do some research before donating goods yourself. You click into Vinnie’s good’s donations page. You task is to understand where your donations go and who it helps.”

 

We instructed our users to talk through their emotions as they navigated the page, and to explain the key things they were looking for.

Our key findings showed:

  • 2 out of 3 users skimmed through the information on the page

  • 2 out of 3 users did not feel a strong personal connection to the information in the impact section as the wording was impersonal and not engaging

  • All users commented that they could not find information on how donations were processed and where it ended up

When we asked them about their thoughts on the page, two out of three users found the information to be tedious and felt that they needed more specific details about how the donations are used and how they directly benefit people. They wanted to know more about the impact of their contributions instead of just hearing general statements like “donations received helped 1.3 million Australians.”

PROTOTYPING AND TESTING | Iterating based on usability tests

The cyclical format for displaying the donation process received negative feedback

The usability tests yielded valuable insights:

  • 3 out of 5 users followed the numerical order, assuming it to be the logical sequence. However, they expressed a desire for clearer headings to guide their progression.

  • 3 out of 5 users preferred viewing the impact and reasons for donating first before delving into the other details.

  • The cyclical format received negative feedback from 3 out of 5 users, who found it visually unappealing and cumbersome.

Results from low-fidelity testing prompted us to discard the cyclical format, and another 4 rounds of usability tests were conducted

Adjustments made: 

  • Removal of cyclical donation process format: We discarded the donation lifecycle format in favour of a more intuitive sidebar navigation system.

  • Improving clarity of information: To improve the clarity of information presentation, we streamlined the content by using clearer headers and text supported by iconography.

  • Adding a personal touch: We incorporated a more personalised approach to conveying impact information by adding real-life profiles of beneficiaries who have directly benefited from donations. This aims to create a stronger emotional connection with users by showcasing tangible examples of how their contributions have made a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals in need.

Usability Testing Results: 

  • 2 out of 4 users found the combination of iconography and text in the impact section to be highly useful, enabling them to gather relevant information swiftly and efficiently.

  • 2 out of 4 users found the accordion menu intuitive to use and only clicked on the items to find information they wanted to view, rather than having to click through every single one.

  • All users demonstrated a strong inclination towards clicking on the personal profiles featured in the impact section. They expressed that seeing real faces and reading the personal stories fostered a deeper emotional connection.

  • 3 out of 4 users reported feeling engaged with the content presented and motivated to make a donation.

VISUAL DESIGN

FINAL SOLUTION

OUTCOMES

We tested our final prototype with 4 users and achieved:

  • 100% of users reading through all the headings and subtext provided. They appreciated the ease of access to information, finding it digestible and comprehensible.

  • 100% of users indicated that they were able to find all the necessary information required to feel informed and confident in making a donation.

  • All users commented that the next steps they would take would be to donate.

REFLECTIONS AND NEXT STEPS

Learning to adapt to change and continuously refine the solution based on user feedback.

I learnt to embrace user feedback and iterate designs, like shifting from our initial circular design to an intuitive sidebar navigation based on user input. Adapting to changes, such as Vinnie’s updates during our redesign, highlights the need for flexibility in design. These lessons motivate me to apply these insights in future projects, enhancing my skills and approach to design.

Recommendations & Next Steps

  • Moving forward, our next steps would involve further testing and validation of the solution design. This would allow us to gather additional user feedback and ensure that our design effectively addresses user pain points and meets their needs.

  • Creating an interactive and responsive page to enhance user experience across different devices and screen sizes. The issue of their social media presence can also be rectified with stronger social media and marketing strategies.

  • Collecting and measuring success metrics to assess the performance and impact of our design, enabling us to make data-driven decisions and continuously improve the user experience.

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