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People Helping People

In this project, we researched and found opportunities to increase donations to a local nonprofit employment program.


While referencing the user research report, we defined agency and user goals, created user journey maps, and proposed recommended solutions.

Timeline: 4 weeks

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About People Helping People

People Helping People of Utah is a nonprofit, long-term employment program for low-income women and single mothers that relies on donations to provide:​​

  • 1-on-1 Mentoring

  • Educational Workshops

  • Resume + Interview Prep

  • Job Fairs + Seminars

  • Job Placement Partnerships

Defining agency objectives

A meeting with PHP’s Executive Director clarified the agency’s purpose and helped us to discover the goals for their website which we used as our North Star to guide our design direction.


In order to continue serving their clientele and to expand their reach, the agency needs their website to attract more donors.

User Interface Analysis
Auditing the original website

We got to work conducting a website audit to assess the current site’s branding, usability, and functionality in order to highlight the issues we would need to take into consideration in the redesign. We identified several challenges, including aesthetics, clarity, color palette, information architecture, and text overload.

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Evaluating heuristics

Digging deeper, we evaluated the website’s efficacy within four key heuristics categories.


It failed three of them.

It's clear we need to prioritize the aesthetics, make content easily accessible, & fine-tune the website's functionality in the redesign.

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User Research
Defining our users

Our initial agency interview revealed 4 categories of users:​

  • corporate donors

  • corporate partners

  • individual donors

  • program clients 

Because the agency's goal is to generate more donations, we need to first focus on the donors.

Interviewing and testing for insights

Targeting our individual donors, we conducted surveys, long-form interviews, and usability tests on the current site. It took users so long to figure out what the organization actually did, that most said they’d abandon the search.


Using words like “sketchy” and “questionable”, potential donors are doubting the organization's integrity enough that they are reluctant to make donations.


Our users need to trust that People Helping People is a legitimate, credible agency, in order for them to feel secure enough to donate.

Turning to our competitors

We looked at other comparable nonprofit organizations that had gained the trust of their users and were successfully collecting donations.


We found 5 features that were integral to gaining our user’s trust.

Clarifying user needs

Extracting the key findings from our competitor analysis, we aligned them with our user needs based on our persona to give us the right guidelines for our design.

1 — Clear purpose

“ I want to know exactly what I'm getting into. If a site can't be really clear about its purpose, I'm going to question whether the organization can be managed well.”

2 — Clear, clickable  donation opportunities

“I want to be able to immediately donate when something I've read on your site moves me to do so.”

3 — Strong call to action

"I want to know exactly how to donate. I shouldn't have to search for or guess where to go to make my donation."

Ideating, Testing + Prototyping
Sketching our user's journey

Knowing user's needs, we developed the ideal scenario that would motivate our user to trust enough to donate then sketched out what that journey might look like.

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The best ideas from each designer's sketches were integrated into one cohesive direction for our wireframing. Guided by our restructured sitemap, we sectioned off our homepage into clear categories with the option to expand those sections for additional information.

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Testing & validating our ideas
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Can users ascertain the purpose of the site within 5 seconds?

Can users access important, relevant information quickly and easily?

Can users quickly and easily make a donation?


Shaping our Hi-Fi design

Our mood board and logo redesign informed our final style guide.

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User Test + Card Sort

We asked our testers to evaluate the order of the sections in our prototype, and then to do their own card sort with those sections, arranging each in a way that told the most compelling story.


While each tester had a slightly different way of ordering, we saw a pattern in categorization and adjusted accordingly.

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People Helping People 2.0
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Heuristic Re-test

A final comparison heuristic test reflected back a significant improvement from our initial findings.

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Next Steps
  • Retest, reiterate, and refine.

  • Piggyback off of the research and design of the Individual Donor flow to begin the Corporate Donor flow, followed by the Community Partnership flow.

Key Learnings
Sometimes the best direction won't fit the timeline.

While corporate donors offered the most potential for big donation money, we chose to focus on the individual donor first because we knew we had access to resources that would yield research results that fit our timeline. 


Learning to prioritize within given parameters is key to creating successes that you can then build off of.

Design for moments

Designing for moments by capturing and observing the emotional journey of our users provided us with the space to interpret, understand and add meaning to their experiences.


When designing products, we lean toward a frictionless flow that removes impediments to immediate action and focuses on increasing conversion at all costs. This approach doesn’t consider the deeper story of how we can design and build experiences that are also enriching and fulfilling.


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