Community Fridge KW x UW Blueprint
Automating the scheduling donations process
UW Blueprint is a design team that creates technology for social good. As a product designer on the team I work with local nonprofits and provide accessible technology services such as websites, apps, and analysis tools—free of charge.
... what i did/impact of this project
2 Product Managers
01 // Background & Problem
What's Community Fridge KW?
Community Fridge Kitchener-Waterloo is a mutual aid initiative launched in 2020 that aims to improve access to food and reduce waste. They operate with a core team and depend on 200+ different volunteers to fulfill food deliveries and facilitate fridge operations. Local businesses are the main food donors that are able to provide end-of-day food to stockpile the fridge. Food typically goes out in 1-2 hours.
How might we decrease the effort on the core team to schedule donations for Community Fridge KW?
Deliver a tool which empowers the Community Fridge to facilitate a greater number of donation exchanges with less time and manual effort.
Here are the stakeholders involved in this flow:
Constantly trying to coordinate the schedule of food donors and volunteers. Stressed.
Supply all the food to keep the Community Fridge running— absolute legends.
Come time to time to check in on the Community Fridge and help donors with food dropoff.
⚠ This case study will be focused on the donor experience.
flow with our solution
The small core team at Community Fridge KW wishes to automate some of the donation scheduling processes to improve the efficiency of their operations.
- TEDIOUS - CF Admins are constantly coordinating with Donors and Volunteers and contacting them through different mediums.
- NOT SCALABLE - Community Fridge is a growing organization and their current process involves too much manual effort and time.
- LOW-VISIBILITY - Volunteers and Donors, cannot view donor drop off availability.
02 // Project Goals
Reduce manual work
Remove CF Admin from being the middleman between food donors and volunteers
CREATE CENTRAL platform
Create one centralized platform for scheduling and remove dependency from social media and email
Begin standardizing the food delivery process in order to increase successfully delivery exchanges
03 // Research & Ideation
Discovery & Empathy
What are the challenges being faced?
Looking at what else is out there...
We identified the competitors and analyzed their strengths and weaknesses.
- Simple design (limited colour scheme and concise info/instructions make the platform easy to navigate
- View everyone’s availability in real time
- Quick setup
- Assign availibility based on priority of invitees
- Picking timeslots (automated) vs everyone manuallying putting it in
- Clear view of calendar, ability to see all possible scheduling slots
- Lots of auto-fill options provided
- Can edit other people’s avaliability
- Could be beneficial to have more information on pages for invitees; not extremely customizable
- Setup is too time consuming
- Lack of information on the page
- No way to tell user how to get the information they need/ask questions
- Poor onboarding (too complex)
- Can’t contact organizer
- Cannot edit unless have an account
- No possibility of changing slot easily (create account option is hidden)
- Lots of information required before submitting form
After the initial discovery phase and multiple meetings with the client and volunteers, we began synthesizing our insights to create a user persona and flow.
Finalizing the User Flow
⏸️ Dev Review #1 Insights
At this point, we had our first official dev review to get feedback on this flow in regards to technical feasibility within our timeline.
- Include a way to contact admin during onboarding/scheduling if donors have additional questions rather than finding them through social media as they currently do
- Will both the public or other logged in users can see other scheduled donations?
- Move ‘viewing past donations’ to MVP+1
- Plan to change sign up info according to 3 different users
- Include case of forgot password
04 // Ideation & Wireframing
We used brainstorming techniques such as Crazy 8s to begin designing the layout of the solution before moving on to official explorations.
To ensure all the requirements of the project are achieved, we divided up this phase of the solution into four product specifications before continuing with design explorations.
Four Product Specifications
1. User Authentication
- Ability to choose if they are a food donor or volunteer
- Ability to create an account and log in
- Must confirm email by receiving a confirmation email that will expire in X hours
- Ability to request a password reset
- Username has to be an email address
- Password requirements
2. Home & Onboarding
- Engaging and intuitive of donation process
- Has all the required entry points to encourage a donation and easily find how to sign up
- Set a date and time (default 30 min)
- Specify whether the date and time is recurring and when it ends
- Indicate which category of item donor is bringing with the prelisted options
- Indicate whether the donor needs help with food drop-off and request a volunteer and specify pick up location (if not drop off)
- Confirm donor’s choices and information
4. Pricing Plans
- Change a date and time
- Change whether the date and time is recurring and when it ends
- Change whether the donor needs help with food drop-off
- Cancel the upcoming week of a recurring donation
- Has all the required entry points to encourage a donation and easily find how to sign up
After our initial visual explorations, we proceeded to create low-fidelity designs before conducting a second formal developer review.
⏸️ Dev Review #2 Insights
Home & Onboarding
- Remove volunteer entry point + onboarding on the home page for MVP but ensure there is still room for it to be added later on
- Add a dashboard entry point in the navigation bar
- Check with CF about what info we want to collect from businesses + clarify if its the representative or general business’s contact info we want (make that clearer)
- No popup for password requirements because of mobile (can’t hover)
- Build forgot password flow
- More detail to progress bar (labels of some sort?)
- Clarified error handling for different types of inputs like drop downs, calendar, checkboxes, etc.
- Define location entering experience
- Reorder donation/volunteer info
- Tags were unnecessary and crowded the space
- Take out delayed in general for MVP, instead just be able to edit proposed drop off time
- Decrease amount of information displayed on the cards
- Add error states especially because some parts on mobile don’t have a lot of space
- Decrease text size + increase spacing for a cleaner look while keeping in mind the accessibility guidelines
05 // Design System
Creating a design system
After implementing the feedback we received in the lo-fidelity models and presenting those to the client, we created a design system before getting started on hi-fidelity designs!
Some Key Components
06 // Final Solution
Clean and informative home page
By introducing a new workflow for donors, they may not be aware of the changes to their current process. We need to find a way to seamlessly educate them on the donation scheduling process and the different pieces of communication.
Quick and easy user authentication
Food donors that go onto this platform must have a registered account so that it can protect the other user's information and protect the platform from spam or misuse.
Scheduling process that is less reliant on admin
Community Fridge Admins currently collect business name, donation description, and drop-off time from local businesses. This information comes from different channels such as social media and email. The conversation takes a lot of coordination, manual effort, and time.
Efficiently update/edit scheduled dropoffs
Food Donors need to edit their information in order to change their proposed drop-off time. Currently, to do so, they would have to communicate with the Community Fridge Admins through a back and fourth process that is very time consuming.
07 // Takeaways
The project is still in progress for at least another four months with the next Community Fridge KW team at UW Blueprint. The team will move forward with phase I enhancements and building the volunteer and admin experience.
One of the biggest challenges during this process was organization struggling to get us in contact with donors since they were busy with moving the location of the Fridge, hence usability tests for phase I are still in progress as well!
What did I learn?
♡ First time working with developers and PMs—
was very lucky to have an encouraging team that I learned a lot from!
♡ Balancing 12-15 hours work a week—
+ transitioning into university was very difficult, but it pushed me to manage tasks better and was worth it in the end!
♡ Created a design system—
this made life SO much easier, I’m still impressed!
♡ Worked with a real client—
it feels so good to see your work being used to help others in real life!
My fellow designers on the Community Fridge KW project.
One of the UW Blueprint teams I worked with!
More of the UW Blueprint community <3