DESIGNING AN APP THAT CHANGES THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER
Goodify case study
Goodify has a big and bold goal - to change societies into more supportive and helpful communities. They want to do it by introducing people to their mobile app - an app that encourages people to do good deeds for others every day.
We, as a team at inFullMobile, have been invited to join Goodify at this ambitious challenge. Our task was to redesign and develop from scratch an app where people could give and receive help.
Now we are all a good team and work together on developing and optimizing the product, reaching more people, and discovering new ways to support those in need.
The hardest and most important challenges for the project were (and still are):
Encourage people to ask for help without feeling guilty or indebted
Engage as many people as possible in helping others, to build a strong, helpful community
Take care of the safety of people who are strangers to each other and meet
iFM team: UX Designer (me), UI Designer, 2 React Native Developers, Project Manager, UX researcher (periodically)
Client team: Goodify owner and Product Manager
After getting to know the business context and technology constraints, the first and most important thing we needed to do, was to understand who we’d be helping (and how). We were surprised to learn, that one of the biggest issues in the previous version of the app was that there were more people who wanted to help, but not enough of those who actually asked for help.
You may think - how’s that possible? You usually hear about so many people in need and not enough of those who want to spend their time volunteering. And yet here we were with this undeniable fact - not enough people ask for help.
My first intuition was to explore the psychology behind asking for help. I was right because it turned out that psychological studies show, that there are substantial barriers, that hold people back from asking for a helping hand.
The biggest barriers that keep people from asking for help are shame and a feeling of indebtedness.
We decided to tackle this challenge using Design Sprint methodology.
DESIGN SPRINT - RESEARCH
A very important part of this Design Sprint was Pre-sprint Research. We conducted a series of interviews aimed at defining problems and checking how the process of asking for help looks like in various organizations, foundations or associations. We did interviews with people from polish NGOs like Szlachetna Paczka and Mali Bracia Ubogich, and with people from social welfare centers.
We also interviewed normal people about their experiences with asking strangers for a helping hand. We talked with single mothers, visually impaired and blind people, and other people who just needed some practical help at some times in their life (like transportation or help with cleaning).
During the research we learned that:
People who are often in need of help from others (e.g. visually impaired people) also want to help others
Mothers usually used Facebook (especially Facebook groups) to find help
Elder people usually don’t need practical help like grocery or cleaning. They just look for some company - someone to talk to or have a short walk with
People in poor financial condition were not always in a situation like that. They usually ended up like that because of some big crisis in their lives, like costly operations or losing someone close.
And most importantly - a lot of people feel bad about receiving help and they want to repay others in any way
During the research, we also went through all the posts in the Goodify Facebook group where they have concentrated the most effort so far. In the Goodify group, people could ask for help anonymously and were then later paired with a volunteer. There were around 15k good deeds done because of that group.
Going through the posts in the group we were surprised to find how many people were eager to help, but we could also read about the situations of those in need. One of the cases from there became our driver for future work. Any time we designed something, I was thinking about this person.
DESIGN SPRINT - PROTOTYPING
During the workshops, we created two different approaches to creating missions that we hoped would minimize the bad feeling related to asking for help. Our ideas were to show that everyone is a superhero (since both asking for help and helping make the world a better place and require a lot of strength), and we needed to make the experience as seamless as possible.
We decided to test two prototypes: a more classic form to request for help and a chatbot.
DESIGN SPRINT - TESTING
We tested the prototype with a total of 7 users, based on the following target user groups:
mothers with small children
people that get help from, or work in the local social welfare center
people that are not tech-savvy
Users tested both the classic form and a chatbot.
During the tests, we wanted to check which flow users will prefer and which will cause them fewer problems and allow faster requests for help submission.
DESIGN SPRINT - SUMMARY
Sprint for Goodify allowed us to quickly set the direction and make fast design decisions. The prototyping of the two solutions made us quickly verify our assumptions and create the most optimal flow for end users.
The final solution took into account the needs of the users with whom we conducted the research. The form to request for help is very simple, transparent, allows to be filled by people who are non-tech-savvy, as well as people that are very busy (i.e. single moms).
What was very important to us, the application shows very clearly that every user is equal and equally important for the Goodify mission to succeed — thus alleviating the resistance to adding a request for help.
FURTHER DESIGN WORK
During later phases of work at Goodify, we worked closely as a team to design other parts of the application.
For bigger challenges, we used Design Studio method to generate many solutions and choose the ones we think are the best for later testing.
During one of the Design Studio workshops with the client, we focused on another part of our main challenge - not enough people asking for help. This time we decided to reverse the problem and give volunteers the ability to offer help. This way people who are reluctant to ask for help could just contact those who offer help in a similar matter.
Because of very tight deadlines for the MVP app, we did not always have time to do proper testing with users, but we tried to test as much as we could, sometimes just using Guerrilla Testing.
When creating categories for the missions, I organized 30 card sorting sessions with 15 participants. Participants were supposed to assign exemplary missions to the appropriate, predefined categories or create a new one if they felt that a new category was necessary. I sought to understand how potential helpers and help-seekers interpret predefined categories and whether they can assign potential help requests to these categories with enough ease.
After the test results, and in collaboration with a UX Writer, we decided to create 4 categories:
Skills and advice
Since one of our main ideas was to show people that they are all superheroes, no matter whether they give or receive help, I also propose to show more social inclusion illustrations. Based on that our illustrator created illustrations of people who are of different backgrounds and are all superheroes.
I strongly believe that by showing a diverse picture of society we build a belief among the users that everyone is equal and we all deserve to call ourself superheroes.
OVERVIEW OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURES
I could go on and on about the design process, but respecting your time I'll just sum up with an overview of the most important features in the app 😊
Users can easily browse through all available missions, both requests and offers. To quickly find or offer help nearby or in a specific category, they can either use filters or a map view.
Details displayed on the mission overview has been tested with people to make sure, that only important information are visible.
We care about users' safety, so we made sure to minimize the risk of any potentially harming situation.
Everyone who creates a mission can choose to stay anonymous until they're in contact with a volunteer and have an option to share the mission's address.
Every mission also has random geolocation in the area of 1km from the real address.
To help each other, users need to exchange messages and addresses on their own.
To take care of their safety and comfort, we gave them an option to leave a conversation at any time without having to explain themselves, which blocks the other person from sending more messages. They can also report a conversation to the admins if needed.
When the mission is completed, users give each other reviews and the volunteer gains another good deed point on his profile.
Goodify@Work is an option for companies to join Goodify as an organization. The proposition is directed to companies that aim to contribute to societal goals, in this case by encouraging its employees to help people in need.
Employees can unite to help as many people as possible, observe the efforts of their colleagues and build a good name for their company.
Current state of the project
After releasing the MVP version, we now have time to implement more advanced analytics in the app and make sure that the product has the best user experience.
After 5 months from the release, more than 1300 people received help in Norway in the app itself. It proves that there’s a big need for such an app and that Goodify is on the right track to change the world for the better. And I’m glad I can be a part of this amazing journey!