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Founded back in 2006, betterplace.org is one of the biggest and most succesful donation platfoms out there, helping more than 10.000 social projects to collect donations online. Since January 2014, I’m supporting concept and design teams at betterplace on numerous individual projects, including the continuous development of their own platform, as well as crafting and designing new products and services. These products are targeting companies and charity foundations, looking to expand their existing social commitment to a more digital context for more impact and increased reach.
Being involved in most stages of the product design process was a rewarding task, covering interviews, early ideation stages followed by extensive paper prototyping, as well as user experience and visual design work and ongoing validation through user testing. To have ample opportunity to participate and to actively conduct tests of created concepts and designs, helped tremendously to reflect on set objectives and to iterate and improve the overall experience.
Shaping the visual appearance of developed products as lead designer, while continuously testing and iterating ideas was another great opportunity. Being involved in these various project stages, not only helped solving the complex design problems the team faced, but also led to a consistent user experience across multiple platforms and devices.
Grab pen an paper – the pixels will follow later.
Main task during the first half of 2014, was conceiving and building a scaleable white-label solution for online-fundraising that is utilizing the existing API of the betterplace.org platform. The most challenging task during the course of this particular project, was working within sometimes limiting, yet challenging constraints (technical & budget), while constantly reflecting product objectives in context of different target & user groups:
(A) Companies and brands aiming to extending their social commitment to the digital world for more impact, sustainability and brand visibility. (B) Social organizations wanting to profit from increased reach of the platform, implemented digital fundraising tools and looking to create a continuous relationship to supporters of their aid projects. And (C), an audience with a strong sense for social responsibility, willing to support aforementioned projects with their donations and long-term support.
With a huge platform like betterplace.org going responsive, mobile use cases took center stage.
Designing for such a varied and huge target audience might feel complex or even limiting at first glance, but also allows you to focus on a stream-lined and clutter-free design approach – utilizing simple and intuitive interaction design patterns, which translate and work well in both, mobile and desktop contexts.
Within a relatively short amount of time, the talented and highly motivated team at betterplace was able to push the project from kick-off to internal launch. Taking in mind that building new products is just one part of their daily business, makes this achievement even more impressive.
Right from the start, we presented first designs and prototypes to potential clients as well as social organizations and the product got exceptionally positive feedback and resonance with some first donation portals launching this fall.
Working for and with social organizations is a collaborative and highly rewarding process and you are quickly realizing that the audience you’re designing for is in many ways expert in the issues you are dealing with. These people are not only passive recipients of created designs and products, but passionated co-workers playing an active role in a cooperative effort to solve the problem.
Cover-Photo courtesy of Nyota e.V. - for Children in Africa - an aid project in Lwala, Sare Awendo, Kenia