Background

Stand was a mission driven company. The mission was to make altruism into a habit. Stand was backed by Resolute Ventures, Twitter, and Square founders, with Biz Stone as our Chairman. Stand’s initial product was a social network for philanthropists. After conducting qualitative user research, we found that STAND V1 was not meeting our user’s biggest needs. Our users were socially minded individuals looking for ideas on how to contribute to humanity the moment they have a real life event that urges them to give back.

To try and understand the needs and goals of our community better, we set out to design and conduct qualitative user research and persona development. This was a critical project as it help to inform what direction to pivot our product next. With the new product, I lead the team to build out and ship the MVP for both iOS and Android in under two months.

We wanted our solution to be actionable. We took a step back and remembered that a lot of our users learned altruism, about giving back and volunteerism through childhood experiences. Some were introduced to volunteering opportunities through family, church, and school. With this in mind, we wanted to focus shift our focus from young professionals to teenagers and new grads. Teenagers are encouraged to volunteer through school activities, once they finish school, some still want to continue their altruistic ways. 

By appealing to younger users and getting them involved in charitable causes, we are “unleashing the compound impact of early altruism.” - Biz Stone

We pivoted the product to be more of a social game with curated daily challenges for people to contribute to the causes they care about.

 

ROLE

Initial role was UX + UI designer and later promoted to Product lead on a team of four engineers and one marketer. 

PRODUCT

Responsive webapp, iOS + Android app

 

METHOD

  • Analyzed user data to derive a list of most active users in our system.
  • Created a user study interview script
  • Created personas based on variables discovered.
  • User interviews, research and analysis, persona development, Usability testing, A/B testing, Interactive prototypes, Mockups, Wireframes, Competitive analysis, Road mapping

 

LEARNINGS

We learned that our most active consistently had an urge to want to help when there is an outside trigger. But when they opened Stand V1, it didn’t satisfy their need.  For example, when there heard about the refugee crisis, they had a desire to contribute to the cause, but they don't know what how to help, nor do they know where to turn.

  • People were not interested in yet another social network, even if it was for charity.
  • People wanted to pushed ideas and opportunities to give back, rather than casually browse through content.
  • There was no hook or trigger to bring the user back into the app

Young people feel a strong innate desire to help others. The problem is they’re not quite sure how and if what they do will make a difference.

“There’s nothing I can do. I don’t have millions of dollars to contribute.”

“Maybe I can do something once I’m rich and powerful.”  

“I want to volunteer, but I don’t know how/where to do that.”

Passive activism: “What good does a petition on change.org do?”

SOLUTION

We created a curated list of ideas to push to users on a daily basis. We also design points and levels, doing so allows users to collect points and compete with their friends.  

In designing the new product, we thought about how we could help people build a habit of altruism. Taking a page from Jane McGonigal’s Super Better app, we wanted to use mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration in the real world.  By considering the behavior we wanted to instill in our young active do gooders, we set out to design the core loop based on a set of behaviors. We also designed the app using Nir Eyal’s hook model as a guide to design the core flow we wanted our young do gooders to perform.

 

Designing Stand's V-2 Core Flow

The idea was to design the simplest set of behavior we wanted our do gooders to perform in order to establish a new habit. That habit was to check their phones everyday. 

1. External Trigger: After school, check your app. Attach this new behavior to an already existing behavior and make this part of your daily routine.

2. Action: Open the STAND app and check it for your daily challenges. Habits become stronger when linked to an already existing routine. Students and adults as well will check their phones as soon as they are able to. At this time, we would gently remind them to that they have new challenges to review.

3. Variable Reward: Participants checks their app and gets rewarded with exciting fun challenges, sometimes. The challenges themselves are could be appealing or not depending on personal preference. Think of it like a feed on facebook or pintrest, or even faces on dating apps like tinder, there will be some that are incredibly interesting while others you swipe past quickly, regardless, you continue to scroll in search for the next “reward”.

  • Creating variable reward generates FOMO, if they don’t check the app everyday, they would lose the chance to accept one of the challenges.

4. Investment: As they accept challenges, participants start to collect them on their profile as “to dos”.

  • As they complete the challenges, they are adding to their philanthropic profile/ resume
  • The more they use the app, the more the product learns what kind of challenges and activities the participants like.
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