Rethinking the online donation experience with

Skid Row Housing Trust

Skidrow.org mock

Overview

Type: Website Redesign (Student Project)
Role: Information Architecture, Visual Design
Skid Row Housing Trust is an LA based non-profit organization that focuses on eliminating the structural causes of homelessness, which include housing, poverty, foster care, and mental health. The organization’s first resource in doing so is receiving donations, which mainly relies on its website. As a class project, my goal was to evaluate and improve upon their existing website.

The Problem

Relevant information on the four initiatives (housing, poverty, foster care, mental health) is scattered across a disorganized information architecture, making it difficult for donors to learn about and give to a cause they care for.

The Approach

My goal was to understand why organized information is key to maximizing donations and to simplify the site’s current information architecture, in order to optimize it for donations.

Understanding The Donor

To get started, I wanted an understanding of what compels people to donate and their preferred methods in doing so. I felt I could best inform myself by talking to people, so I conducted user interviews amongst 5 regular donors. The following quotes best reflect the reoccurring themes.
Quote from user interview
quote from user interview

Key Insights

Accurate, organized, and clear information builds credibility. When you build trust upon a donor’s willingness to help, they are more willing to donate.
Insight deliverable

Evaluating The Existing Site

Having understood the importance of organized information, I wanted to evaluate the efficiency of the existing website’s information architecture. To see how many different pages it takes people to find comprehensive information on the mental healthcare initiative, I conducted 4 usability tests of the current site.

Task Flow

I summarized the usability tests into a task flow to pinpoint frequently visited pages. Users generally wanted information on the organization, the people they serve, what current programs exist, and how they could help.
Task flow deliverable
Images taken from skidrow.org

Site Map

Then I mapped out the frequently visited pages on the existing site map to visualize the disorganization of the required content. The current organization required the average user to visit 5 different pages, making it difficult for donors to find relevant information and donate.
Existing Site map

The Redesign

I wanted to understand how users would naturally organize relevant content. I conducted 3 iterations of an open card sort, with the goal of shaving down unnecessary pages and organizing a simpler primary navigation.
Card Sort Iteration 1
Card Sort Iteration 2
Card Sort Iteration 3

Improved Site Map

Using the card sort, I created a new site map with 21 fewer pages.
Improved site map

Wireframes

With the refined pages, I made iterations of wireframes that focused on the flow of finding information and donating money. I conducted usability tests to adjust each iteration according to the user's needs.
low fidelity wireframes
Mid fidelity wireframes
high fidelity wireframes

Prototype

Reflection

I want to continue testing the usability of the site, in efforts to discover avenues for improvement. People are always moving forward with the world, so staying updated with their behaviors leads to better design.

I would also love to expand the website’s focus beyond donations. Volunteering and fundraising are important aspects in supporting Skid Row Housing Trust’s initiatives. Creating a seamless experience for volunteer and fundraiser sign ups would be a productive endeavor.