User Research – Exploring a Digital Solution to Better Connect Volunteers with Under-served Youth

The Problem…

How might we assist prospective and active volunteers in finding personally relevant opportunities to help under-served youth?


The Solution…

A user-research plan to gather qualitative data to build empathy for and understanding of the people involved, supported by quantitative data to provide a clearer empirical picture of the volunteering landscape.

Emphasis was put on studying the problem rather than first driving for a solution.

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Research participants were defined and recruited as follows:

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Field research was conducted in the form of contextual observation and inquiry to collect qualitative data on the experience of volunteering.

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Interviews and Focus Groups were conducted both in person and via the web to gather qualitative data on the organizational side of the volunteering process.

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Quantitative data was gathered through a web-survey conditionally formatted for the various participant groups. This data was used in conjunction with qualitative data.

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Quantitative data was used to confirm patterns observed in qualitative data. Thematic tagging of qualitative data helped isolate such patterns.

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Key user personas were generated from the data, representing the types of users that would be served by a digital tool.

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Feature and basic structure recommendations were created for a digital tool based on the needs of the various user personas.

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Competitive and non-competitive feature analysis was conducted to enhance feature recommendations.

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This User Research study provided qualitative and quantitative data sufficient to generate solid user personas and feature recommendations.

This research was the preliminary, divergent phase in a robust UX Design process, setting the stage for information architecture, wireframing, prototyping, and usability testing processes.

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