VolunJOY: creates better volunteer experience

by Yi Wang ywa4@iu.edu, teamwork, Sep. 2018 ~ Nov. 2018

collaborated with: Lisa Butler, Cindy Zhang, Shijing Zhang

my role: UX Researcher, UX Designer

research methods used: Artifact Exemplar, Literature Review, Non-participant Observation, Interview, Diary Study, Long-term Participant Observation, Affinity Diagram, Need-based Analysis, Story Mapping, User Testing

design methods used: User Scenario, Design Frame, Low-fi Wireframes

design software used: Sketch, Photoshop, RealtimeBoard


Section 1: Executive Summary

What is VolunJOY?

This was a school project, the prompt was to explore the space of food insecurity and try to improve the problematic situation in a designerly way. After our primary and secondary research, we decided to focus on the current volunteers’ experience in organizations which are helping with food insecurity. Our final deliverable was a web-based volunteer management system allowing organizations to easily keep track of their volunteers. With the help of our system, volunteers can get a streamlined experience which gives them a view into the impact their work has on the community.


Why do we care about volunteer experience?

From our primary and secondary research results, we find that volunteers are one of the most important influence factors in the problematic situation of “Food Insecurity”, and it is often overlooked by our “designers’ eyes”. We want to see what we can do to help volunteers get a better experience when volunteering, thereby mitigate the problematic situation of Food Insecurity in some way.


Vision Statement

The current volunteer experience is not ideal, however, it could be a non-zero sum game for both organizations and volunteers. We want to help organizations improve volunteers’ experience, in turn, volunteers would be willing to devote more.


System Scenarios

Our design system consists of a volunteer card and a third-party website.

Note: we do wish our design could help volunteers to get a better experience, however, due to our time constraint, we were only able to design a mid-fidelity mockup of our design, the design was not developed.




The Volunteer Card

A physical card creates a sense of connection and membership with an organization and allows for quick check-in where available.



The Website Flow:


Prototype / System Features

01 Volunteer Registration

Performed by volunteers on their own, or at a participating organization on their first shift.


02 Volunteer Sign in / Sign out

Automatically record the volunteering hours.


03 Volunteer Impact Review

When volunteers clock in, they are briefly shown their dashboard.


04 Organizations Dashboard & Multimedia Gallery

Organizations can track volunteer data, send out thank you notes, upload multimedia content from the dashboard. Also, they can share images, videos, or documented anecdotes or quotes with their volunteers.


05 Automatic Email Updates

Thank you notes and certificates of hours worked.


06 Certificate of Volunteering

Another way to motivate volunteers, let them be aware of their impact on making our planet earth a better place.


Before proceeding to Our Process below, you may wonder

why would organizations use our design?



Section 2: Our Process







































Jump back to the System Features part for details.









Interested in more detail of this project? 

Click here to check out our full documentation.



Section 3: Reflection

⬆️ Team Slickers!

The experience of Project VolunJOY was an amazing journey to me.

Overall, it’s all about design thinking. Although this was a school project, I was happy because we didn’t only focused on design skills, wireframes and such things, however, our professor tried his best to teach us how to think big, think like a senior designer. I would say this is absolutely the right way to go, and we were going well. Before this Food Insecurity Project, I only knew part of how the process of UX design works, but now, I have a holistic understanding of how to conduct a UX design in a scientific way, which is truly awesome.

We learned and practiced many design methods, including but not limited to:

artifacts collection, stakeholder analysis, interviews, diary studies, observation, affinity diagram, thematic analysis, alignment diagram, user story map, low-fi prototypes/wireframes, what-if scenarios, User testing.

By those design methods, we formed our own design philosophy and showed what we’ve learned this semester in the final design deliverable. I really enjoyed this journey, and I’ve met three wonderful teammates. We’ve spent tons of efficient and delight team meetings and presentations together. This was a truly wonderful team, everyone contributed a lot, everyone learned from each other. I was so happy working with my teammates -> slickers.