I designed all aspects of Windaids’ official website end-to-end from the initial wireframing through to a high-fidelity interface design. I was also responsible for conducting user and market research, creating a UX & content strategy, and prototyping and testing the final designs.
Winaid’s website was outdated, and lacked the strategy to reassure and encourage donors to donate and volunteers to enroll for their programs. Enrolments provide the majority of the funds and manpower to support their projects across Peru.
Rishi Khan - Lead Developer Gandhi Alva - Executive Directer
Aaron N. - Content writer
WindAid institute is a nonprofit organization that addresses energy poverty by providing wind and solar-powered lighting to rural communities. They also provide the education and training needed for sufficiency so that they’re not dependant on Windaid.
As we know, access to electricity is a key identifying factor of economic growth, health and safety, and most importantly, education - by allowing children to stay up an hour longer to do their homework.
Solution 1 Redesign Prototype
These programs come with a high price of $3000 per month, and with its key source of income coming from volunteers; the website failed to reassure them of their experience due to lack of credibility and trust. Furthermore, this prevented people to donate towards their cause.
I started getting information and data to understand the current situation and context. Synthesizing research insights and sharing them with stakeholders.
Brainstorming content ideas, creating a content strategy and developing user flows.
Testing the prototype, analyzing the insights and decieding next steps.
Pivoting our strategy to a primary customer for a new solution.
I began the project by interviewing key stakeholders to better understand the goals, customers, and company, but from their perspective. I found that there was some conflicting views on the business direction. Some wanted to focus only on private companies for funding, while others wanted to continue gaining volunteers and donations to fund the projects.
I used the “what was said, and how I heard it” activity to bring discussions around the project goals, customers, and success metrics so that we can come to a mutual agreement.
I conducted 8 interviews with previous and potential attendees to learn what type of content they’re looking for on the website. Then the data was used to build personas and support the customer journey exercise.
Facing difficulties gaining work-experience related to their field. Eager to work, and also to travel abroad, but he's on a tight budget and is lacking job opportunities.
Interested in traveling and giving back to communities, but they’re significantly time poor.
It was noted that the majority of volunteers are university students studying engineering.
Both valued ethical community work, and interested in travelling abroad for an immersive experience.
More vigilant due to voluntourism scams; businesses posing as non-profits to recruit foreign volunteers, while creating a dependency for the community.
Previous participants were apprehensive about the heft monthly cost of $3000 USD due to lack of transparency of spending.
I ran a competitor analysis of organizations that requested donations and provided voluntourism programs, so that I can benchmark key business metrics and practices.
The major theme amongst these website were trust and empathy in their storytelling to influence users to donate or make a purchase - which Windaid lacked throughout their site but not their social media channels.
Also, pricing for NGO voluntourism programs ranges from $500-$1200 USD / 2-4 week term - which puts Windaid on the EXTREME end of the price.
When Windaid was first established, it lacked a strong brand strategy, style guide, and strategy. Therefore, I needed to develop a strategy focused on connecting the customers needs, brand, and market.
I facilitated a brainstorming activity to help us empathize and identify any opportunities. First, introduced each persona and then read a script while showing each page of the user journey. Within each step, we would discuss user needs, pain points and brainstorm opportunities.
Prioritize and analyze
After highlighting the key user needs, we prioritized the content and feature ideas based on value and feasibility; so that we can develop a content strategy, user flow, and sitemap.
Windaid’s work has improved the lives of many Peruvians, and it was their mission that continues to motivate them and volunteers. So, it was crucial that our design followed three design principles, impactful, trustful, and transparent, so that they gain more donations and volunteer participants.
We tested the prototype to better understand how users navigate the site, and if our solution solves for the issue around price.
We then rewatched the tests, documented observations and analyzed the data.
Through our validation research 5/8 users questioned the credibility of Windaid due to their costs.
“I’m not sure why the price is so expensive, it’s like paying for a semester in school.”
We concluded that the goals of our 2 customer segments conflicted within our strategy.
While students had the primarily goal of gaining work experience, they saw the value in the programs. But in contrast with working-professionals and potential donors, they’re interest was to spend more time working with the community but found that the duration of the program was heavily focused on building the wind turbine.
With this data, we considered, as most volunteers were engineering students looking for hands-on experience in the field.
What if our strategy primarily focused on them?
WindAid repositioned as an educational institute, marketing as an add-on their professional career - while being able to adventure out and travel. In comparison to other educational institutes (ranging $3000-$9000+USD), Windaid’s price was starting to look like the better deal!
We still followed the design principles towards designing the features that supported the goals of the students, and donors, but the content structure was primarily focused on students.
This provided better incentives towards applying, and clear out any ambiguity around the price and programs.
Users need to understand how valuable the work is and the impact it’s making for the communities.
User must feel reassured throughout every touchpoint to build trust and credibility.
Provide context for most aspects of their journey so that they feel confident and excited about their experience.
To help students discover the benefits of the programs, we provided success stories and testimonials that aligned best with their professional journey. Furthermore, we included contact information (email and Linkedin), as they agreed to act as ambassadors for Windaid.
There was an idea of a “live map”, a concept to visualize the impact by viewing all the locations on a map where wind turbines are built. Though this wasn’t feasible due to high efforts and having a low impact, we still incorporated the available data into the project and case study cards.
An ‘Impact Page’ that incorporates storytelling with a narrative around the problem Peruvians face without electricity, and how WindAid works together to solve these problems; and highlighting the outcomes of the work.
This was especially important for donors to build credibility of the work.
Integrating third-party payment software for better security, and also providing paypal as an option. This also required less steps for accepting payments which made the process faster. More reassurance through the safety ‘lock’ icon and ‘secure’ message.
Customers goal was to learn about their experience but most didn’t know what to expect when arriving in Trujillo. To quote “I was going there with my eyes closed.”
So, I sent out a brief survey to previous attendees to ask about their favorite (and least) work and leisure experiences. Then prioritized the list to capture the essence of the Windaid experience.
Student’s (or for some, their parent’s) major deciding factor was the price. Providing clarity on each page of the program about the price, dates, and what is and isn’t included with program. Additionally, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section to help reduce ambiguity, and customer support emails.
Include professional writers if available! We tried to over-reassure customers that we’re legitimate and the work has an impact but we tried too hard that it created frustrations. The content writing portion of the design took about 1/3 of our time, which is another reason why it’s important to hire a content specialist.
When such a big purchasing decision is dependent on the content provided, it becomes difficult to test comprehension and recall without the right participants, and the right situation. So the next best thing is to test user flows and content in separate phases for more reliable results.
Starting the designs, I consider the content hierarchy for a screen reader and UI elements supporting it to help simplify the designs and its development. Though I did overlook the reading level of the content. This became apparent during our usability test, when several users asked for the definition of words (e.g. dissemination) or we’re unclear about heading and labels.
It was difficult working on this a sole designer because feedback and critiques were so important when considering which designs variations worked best. Eventually, I reached out to other designers for further feedback.
Looking back, I would rewrite the usability tasks differently as I tasked the participants with exploring the website to choose the best program suited for the scenario. This required more time to complete a task because the would need to read through the programs, leading the user to guess or give an uninformed decision.