Connecting people to causes
GoBe is a non-profit which helps homeless citizens in the Los Angeles area, who are being rehomed, acquire the items necessary to fill their new home. Filling a home is just as important as being placed in that same home, because the number of people who end up back on the street is quite high due to the inability of the citizen to relearn how to live a normal home life after having been on the streets for years. It is especially hard when you do not have a bed to sleep on, a table to eat at, or a pan to cook with.
Once the non-profit formed they found volunteer acquisition and volunteer management and scheduling to be a challenge, especially when multiple organizations were involved. Through talking to other organizations they found that this was a common pain-point for other non-profits and volunteer groups. These difficulties often lead to burn out and constant turnover of volunteer leaders. So the founder of GoBe, Jesse Ross decided to work to find a solution to this.
My role on this project was User Experience Design Lead. I worked closely with mentors provided by Rhubarb Studio, our venture studio from where GoBe was taken to MVP, with a wonderful team which consisted of a design researcher, two engineers, and a product manager. We also worked closely with the founder and team members from the non-profit.
My most significant learnings on this project were how to dig deeper with ethnographic research, how to analyze the research, and pull valuable insights. This was also the first project I took from idea to MVP professionally.
We identified our personas and came up with the five below. Then we located real people closely matching our personas and began ethnographic research, rapid prototyping and testing with these individuals.
Though several service design frameworks and applications, including journey and empathy mapping, we were able to categorize and organize findings and insights to report meaningful information back to the team and continue to build correctly.
We began to build along during the research phase; the interviews helped to influence what we built next. By finding out the customer's pain points, we created an MVP which met their most essential needs and by making along with the customer we were able to develop a high use and functioning MVP.
GoBe's MVP was a web app that allowed for the creation of volunteer groups, the publishing of events, the ability to volunteer and manage volunteers for events.
We operated using lean and agile methodologies and rapid build. We started building during the research phase to co-build with the insights, and prioritize user needs. We achieved MVP in 4 months and brought on our first users. They immediately reported a quicker and more efficient process when using just the basic MVP.
The MVP allowed for event creation and matching to an available group, volunteer group creation, single volunteer profile creation, and viewing open opportunities by distance. After five months on GoBe, we had built up our MVP also to feature better UI design directed through usability testing and early user feedback, skills input, and we're building out skills-based matching and shift scheduling during my last month with GoBe.
GoBe Software was created as a web app because our Oscar, Sally, and Caleb (volunteer group leaders and caseworker) personas will work from their desktop using other tools such as spreadsheets or their organizations own software. Our Vicky (volunteers) persona was found to primarily connect over a smartphone which is why mobile availability was vital.