- Empowering neighbors to create their own public projects, step by step - 

Neighborbloom is a volunteering platform that allows neighbors to quickly and easily create civic engagement projects to revitalize public communities and neighborhoods. Civic Engagement is defined as “individual or collective action designed to identify and address issues of public concern.” This project allows organizers to recruit volunteers who share their active desire for a civic cause, and for volunteers to find and participate in said efforts.

My Role: UX designer, UI designer, Storyteller, Prototyper 

Tools: Sketch, Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop, Principle, Keynote

Team:  (5) Tiffany Wang, John Sun, Ola Micek, David Dang 

Length: 8 Weeks (Fall 2017)

How do you create a project by yourself?

PROBLEMS

People in neighborhoods feel like they don’t have the power to fix public spaces in their neighborhood due to lack of opportunity, knowledge, skills, and resources. 

Lack of Volunteers

​​Gathering volunteers can be a long process. Encouraging neighborhood collaboration may be hard for someone who doesn’t know how to recruit or organize people in a short period of time. ​

Lack of Awareness

​​People who want to start smaller projects in their community may not know the rules around organizing or how to gather resources and volunteers to execute successful projects.​

 

Result based on 4 in-person interviews, 70 online surveys (19 project creators, 51 volunteers)

How can we encourage people to... 

Create community projects
on their own 
Revitalize Public Spaces 
Hold Volunteers Accountable

Presenting an opportunity to empower people who want to help in their community, but may have little to no experience doing so

To revitalize public spaces in their neighborhood without the bureaucracy of government agencies or organizations with larger projects

Making sure the projects we hold have enough people to help out, and that volunteers actually show up. 

Design process 

USER JOURNEY

In the early stage, we mapped out two different experiences: 1) the project creators' perspective and 2) the volunteers' perspective. Based on our research, users wanted a platform on which they could more efficiently organize a project, promote their project and hold volunteers accountable. Most volunteers lack the motivation to participate in community projects. We leverage existing platforms because they offer something we don’t have yet which is social media value. (The moment you sign up to volunteer, it shows up on people’s feed, so people will know you are going to that event)

PROTOTYPE#1 - NEIGHBORBLOOM APP

A volunteering app that empowers neighbors to easily create and participate in community projects. 

At the beginning, we were planning to collaborate with local organizations. However, after talking with several local organizations and getting feedback from them, we figured out that their working process is very complicated.

The biggest issue is that smaller projects, such as community cleanup, may not be as advertised as having a large impact. A multitude of small projects can be just as impactful as one big project. Unfortunately, smaller projects aren’t always addressed by organizations because their attention is often diverted to larger scale projects. However, it’s actually the smaller projects that users want to address ASAP to see change happen.

 

MVP(Minimum viable product)

After redefining the target users, simplifying the organizing process, and rethinking the recruiting process, we came up with this version that is very close to the final mockups. I made a navigation flow to clearly explain the ideas.

PROTOTYPE#2 - DONATION BOX
A donation box that users place into a local business to get donations from the public.  

We placed the donation box in a local business(Umami Cafe) near Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland, CA. We also asked several former project organizers to experience our prototypes. Most feedback was positive, so we continued this concept. 

PROTOTYPE#3 - LANDING PAGE
User acquisition- Looking for more users to test our product and future partnerships

I collaborated with another teammate to quickly design a landing page. Unfortunately, we didn't end up launching our landing page due to time constraints, but it is definitely a way to demonstrate the next step and how we want to expand our market further. 

Final Experience Storytelling

DISCOVERY
“I know this thing exists”
“I know how to get to it” 

Tony is a college student and sees a lot that’s wrong with his neighborhood. He would like to be more active in his community but like many college students, his time is very limited. He sees an ad while scrolling through Facebook about easily creating volunteer projects.

Tony downloads the app thinking that there might come a time when he’ll use this for creating a project in his own neighborhood instead of waiting to join one.

One day on his way home from school, he takes a shortcut through the park. The weather is beautiful and the air is fresh.

Tony notices something and the day doesn’t seem so nice anymore. 

The park is filled with litter. He wants to help clean up but knows that this is more than he can handle alone.

INTENT
“I will participate”
“I want to sign up” 

He is guided through the app to help make the right selection for his project. Neighborbloom is useful for setting up relatively quick and easy projects for people to volunteer their time for.

He begins to create a project on the spot and takes a picture of the area he wants to help improve.

The step-by-step instructions provide Tony a guided experience to develop a clear plan of action; the tasks that need to be accomplished, a timeline, the supplies, and the number of volunteers.

With the project plan mapped out, Tony can promote it and recruit volunteers. He does this by ordering donation boxes, which Neighborbloom provides, to place in local businesses as well as printing out fliers.

A few days later, the boxes arrive in the mail.

He starts placing them in local businesses.

He starts posting the fliers. 

By utilizing these physical touch points, Tony is able to reach an audience beyond the digital realm and raise local awareness to his cause.

A FEW DAYS LATER...

Previously unsure of the volunteer turnout, Tony is pleasantly surprised by the number of people who show up. Neighborbloom not only reminds the volunteers of their commitment, but shows their friends on social media as well that they’ve signed up and are using their time for a great cause. 

Everyone pitches in to help clean the park. 

Tony shares the success of the project by sending a thank you message to the volunteers through Neighborbloom and re-posting it on Facebook as well.

Tony and the volunteers get the neighborhood park cleaned up while meeting new faces. After an eventful and productive day of cleaning up the park, new friends say goodbye to one another and go their separate ways.

But not before one of the volunteers from the park downloads Neighborbloom in hopes of someday creating a project herself.

How We Provide Value?

Spreading awareness of small issues and encouraging people in their neighborhood to come together and take action

Leveraging existing platforms because they offer something we don’t have yet which is social media value

Using social media to hold people accountable 

How did we validate our prototype?

We showed four local project creators our app in order to get their input and feedback to see if it addresses their needs.

Stefani explained what she thought about the overall app and what kinds of social impact it can create for the neighborhoods. How you engaged the above audience(s)—story of your outreach to above audience, and the story of how you made real impact.

Jolene mentioned managing people will be difficult due to lack of commitment but if there was a platform to bring people together in an easy and convenient way then project creators and volunteers can use it. 

Looking forward 

© 2019 Karen Song. All Rights Reserved.