Mutual Aid

UX/UI, Design Research
Mutual Aid is an app that empowers people to
volunteer in mutual aids.
View Research ︎︎︎


Volunteering challenges vary depending on a person's lifestyle and confidence. There are certain people who want to give back to their community but have a busy schedule that doesn’t always lend itself to volunteer. This can prevent them from discovering ways to volunteer based on their schedule. There are other people who have the time but lack the confidence to reach out to organizers. They may be afraid of saying the wrong thing or  of not being able to help based on their abilities.


A survey was conducted to understand some of  the obstacles that keep people from volunteering. Based on the data collected, empathy maps were created to highlight the most important and recurring issues. Feature prioritization was then picked based on the most important and feasible issues that arose throughout the research. Once the design was finalized, user testing was conducted on a user who frequently volunteers and on another user who volunteers whenever their schedule lends itself to it. The user testing led up to the finalization of the design as well as brought up a couple of new ideas to further develop this app.

Research Process


Take Aways
The survey was conducted on users who include volunteering of any kind in their life. The purpose to narrow down the focus was to create ab app specifically for those who would be willing to volunteer. Based on the results, all the users find giving back to their community important. All the users specified pain points but there seemed to be a connection between some.

It was clear that some wish they could volunteer but aren’t sure at times how to go about it. Others want to volunteer but aren’t able for personal issues. Based on these insides, it became known that even though some who lack time to volunteer could still be able to volunteer through the app if there were ways to volunteer remotely on their own time. 

User Research

After completing the interviews two different personals were created, one who frequently volunteers and one who volunteers every so often. This decision was based on the survey findings because it seemed there was a repetition in the obstacles that kept people from volunteering.

Feature Prioritization

By dividing the personas into two different volunteers, one who frequently volunteers and one who doesn’t as much, helped discover prioritizations that could be solved with one design solution. It also helped develop “won’ts” that may have not been thought about unless interviewing two different types of volunteers.

User Flow

Before starting the app design, a user flow was created to help organize all the research that had been done. This prevented unnecessary information, helped spot any pains from being created such as, error signs from possibly appearing while the user is on the app.

User Testing

The primary goal:
  • Collect feedback on the feasibility and user friendliness of the different functions within the app.
  • Find out if users will feel motivated to volunteer by the user flow.
  • Determine if finding mutual aids is clear or if there are any issues that need to be resolved

Challenges Takeaways: All the participants of our user testing were excited by the objective of our potential app. The users thought that this app facilitated the process of volunteering for mutual aids by providing them all the information on how to help in one place. Also, one of the challenges that came up during the interview process, was that some users felt intimidated reaching out to mutual aid organizers and when going through the app the users appreciated that they did not have to go out of their way to message anyone in order to volunteer.
UX Takeaways: The users expressed how easily it was to navigate through the app from the beginning. One of the issues that the users had was that some of the wording was confusing however, the users felt it didn’t necessarily make it harder to find things.  Another thing that the users thought was a good addition, was the option to switch between the map and list view when discovering new mutual aids. In the same discovery page, in the list view option users were able to read and find out a little bit more about the mutual aid but the users felt there was too much information when looking for mutual aids. This issue was resolved by creating a different screen that would pop up once selecting the “Read More” option and give the users the opportunity to read more on only the mutual aids of their interest.

UI Takeaways: The users found the color pallet to be calming and not overwhelming. One of the suggestions during user testing was to bring in the orange accent color more in the app to break up the repetition of the purple hues. By incorporating the orange more throughout the app, also resolved some readability issues that arose during the initial user testing because of the initial color choices.  The iconography was easy to follow throughout the app and the users found it cohesive.  

Final Desgin

How It Works
 Once logged in, the user is redirected to the home page where they will find notifications and reminders. Users are able to switch from the date bar to look at notifications from past dates. There are also arrows next to help the user go straight into what the notification is asking from them. Lastly, the user is also able to set up a profile page where mutual aid organizers are able to learn more about them and directly contact them. 
If a user hasn’t had the ability to log into the app for personal reasons they are able to keep up any notifications in the home page. Also, to make the app a bit more personal the users are able to create a profile page that would allow organizers to learn a little bit more about them as well as give organizers the option to contact them directly. 

How It Works
In the discovery screen the user may look for mutual aids based on their zip code or simply select the location icon to discover mutual aids located in that city.  The user is also ale to alternate between a map or list view, depending on their preference. Once selecting a mutual aid they are able to save it or read more about it.
Different users prefer different forms of finding information and to accommodate different users, they have the option to find results though a map view or list view. Another accomodation was to give the user the option to decide whether they wanted to read more about the mutual aid instead of presenting them with all the information at once. Both of these decisions helped prevent the user from feeling overwhelmed and confused.

How It Works 
When selecting to read more about a mutual aid a seperate screen will appear with in depth information about the mutual aid. In the saved screen users are able to find mutual aids they have saved with descriptions of location, distance and they are also able to see how many other people currently have that mutual aid saved. Lastly, in the My List screen, users are able to see volunteering information specific to the mutual aids they are currently active in. In the My List screen they are able to receive messages, view current tasks, or find new volunteering options.
If a user finds a mutual aid they are interested in or is trying to decide between different mutual aids they are able to come back to it in the saved page when needed. This gives the user the ability to browse without feeling the need to settle down in a mutual aid they aren’t sure of volunteering for. In the My List screen the user is able to find all the information needed to volunteer in that specific mutual aid without having to reach out to an organizer. This can also provide them ways to volunteer without actually having to travel anywhere, which would help motivate those with busy schedules wanting to volunteer.

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