Empowering young leaders to fight local poverty.
This project was done with Harvest Project, a community based organization in the Vancouver North Shore. We proposed Our Harvest — a mobile application paired with a physical product strategy that empowers young leadership students to become active Harvest Project advocates.
Completed over 13 Weeks
Senior UX Design Course
During the term of this senior design course, we were tasked with examining concepts of design practice and methods utilized by interaction designers. These methods included ethnographic research, personas, participatory workshops, and prototyping.
Through this project, we had the opportunity to establish a holistic understanding of Harvest Project as an organization. We uncovered that they aim to help community members break from the state of poverty through the support of their independence. They do this through resources and services such as one-on-one counseling, clothing assistance and monthly food support.
During this project I participated as the UX lead. My responsibilities included overseeing project management, conducting user research, and co-leading UX/UI decisions. My specific contributions included co-development of the visual direction, UI layouts, interactions, animations, and illustrations.
During the initial research phase of the course, we aimed to identify the most effective area to design for the organization. This entailed uncovering problems and goals the organization was facing both internally and externally. Through our three week ethnographic research with the volunteers and staff, we discovered that Harvest Project runs well internally and is unified as a community. We identified three key insights:
1 | Many volunteers and donors first heard of Harvest Project through their children or friends in schools where they participated in their annual food drives.
2 | Many volunteers thought that Harvest Project was a food bank, and only fully understood the breadth of their programs once they visited the organization.
3 | Harvest Project continues to build its network of connections with schools through their class presentations and food drives.
Through these insights, we found that there was an opportunity to holistically convey Harvest Project's impact during school food drives. We conducted further research during a few school presentations. We found that:
1 | Students lacked engagement during the presentation done by two of the five staff members, as we saw some students sleeping or getting distracted with phones.
2 | They were engaged with the activity but it didn’t clearly connect back to their organization enough for students to feel motivated to participate in the campaigns or be involved.
With our findings, our goal through this design intervention was to:
Externally simulate Harvest Project’s community impact in order to inspire high school students to become active advocates for their organization.
With our design focus in mind, we developed user journey maps surrounding the donation process to identify major pain points. We informed these experiences based upon the high school students we interviewed.
Considering our design focus, we conducted a participatory workshop with a group of the Harvest Project community. I helped to strategize the organization of the workshop by selecting specific activities from IDEO that were compatible for our participants. One of the activities we conducted helped us understand their definition of key phrases which we would implement into our design solution.
Through consideration of our key insights and critical contemplation, our team developed our final design solution composing of two major components: A leadership workshop for student council students paired with a mobile application to motivate student action beyond the food drive.
We believe the leadership workshop can be a strategy to grow their productivity by allowing volunteers to run school visits. Through this, Harvest Project will be able to train their volunteers to extend their department work outside of the main organization and into the school. This will allow the limited number of Harvest Project staff to focus on other pressing organizational needs and goals.
In order to reach the rest of the school population, we proposed a mobile application that will allow students to tangibly input and track their donations.
When students donate through the app, they will receive feedback, such as “You’ve contributed to 3 meals!” This is done to make the impact of their donation more meaningful to each student in a quick and rewarding way.
Through the workshop, the leadership council students are set as the administrators of the mobile app to monitor and confirm that the inputted data is correct. During this process, council members may ensure accurate data and also chat with their fellow members to extend the moment of donation beyond dropping a can in a donation bin.
With personal badge achievements, students can collect and visualize the contributions they've made. With the integration of quirky illustrations and friendly copy, students can connect with Harvest Project in an approachable and understandable way.
Through the community tab, Harvest Project can notify students through the app whenever they have certain opportunities, such as volunteer positions, or specific donation items in need. They can also directly write within the app to share personal stories of community members. This is to introduce Harvest Project through various perspectives that high school students would not be able to see otherwise. It will keep Harvest Project and students connected all year round and create experiences beyond the mobile app.
In connecting Harvest Project with schools more strategically, we are able to empower students to be active leaders and volunteers within the Harvest Project community. Students are also able to acquire leadership skills while expanding the Harvest Project community through creative solutions.
Additionally, this design strengthens the understanding between students and their idea of Harvest Project by making their impact tangible. Through visual representations and friendly copywriting, students may be a part of Harvest Project's impact in a deeper and more personal way.
Through this project, the practice of applying various UX Methods within certain contexts became very important to me. I found that in the real world, methods can be nimble and should be applied to different projects in different ways. That is to say there often isn’t a one size fits all “process” when working with various clients.
Moreover, being able to listen and hear the stories of Harvest Project's community made the design process much deeper and relevant as I was able to empathize with people face-to-face. Through this we were able to develop solutions beyond the limit of us as designers. It was a pleasure being able to steward the design process while working with Harvest Project as they stewarded me through their own.