Project Open Hand

Simplifying signups to get more volunteers in the community

Project Open Hand is a nonprofit organization that provides meals to seniors and other critically ill members of the community.


4 UX designers,

collaborative two-week sprint, 200+ hours

My Role

Our challenge was to restructure the pre-existing information on the site to create a more streamlined volunteer sign-up process.

Product Manager

Lead Visual Designer


Research & Synthesis

Business and customer interviews, identifying the user, defining the problem

Ideation & Delivery

Building out a solution, rapid prototyping, usability testing 

The Problem
The Solution

Project Open Hand needs a satisfying volunteer experience to entice people to sign-up for one-time volunteer sessions and, eventually, on an ongoing basis.

By handling potential volunteers’ time and sense of comfort respectfully, we create an experience that will garner Project Open Hand more recurring volunteers.



We first started with contextual inquiries to create a baseline understanding of how users navigate the site in its current state.


Next, a series of two surveys were sent out to get insights of both users and potential users of a volunteer portal.


Later, I held open and closed card sorting exercises to further better the information architecture. 


After interviewing responders of the surveys and the volunteer recruiter for Project Open Hand, we were able to understand our target users' needs.

Survey Responses

Under what circumstances are you most inspired to help others?

Which of these best describes your preferred approach when it comes to offering help on a community scale?

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My time is the most valuable thing I can give to my cause.

Research Synthesis

After interviews, we were able to find a few trends. We found that people value their time, and while they are motivated to use it to help others, they want to know that it is being managed wisely and effectively.

With a few notable exceptions, volunteering is largely a

social event.

Who We're Helping

This prospective volunteer varies in terms of experience. They are motivated to help and give back to their community with the condition that their time is managed well and their security is respected.

"I'm most inspired to volunteer when the need is greatest"

Survey Responder

White Paper

During initial mockups for the landing page, we wanted to be sure to keep the sense of community that we learned is a major aspect of Project Open Hand. To highlight this aspect, I included a Volunteer Spotlight to showcase the volunteers that help the business run smoothly.

Before we were able to get useful feedback for the initial wireframes, we didn't originally consider the importance of copy.

During the contextual inquiries, users were unclear on how to properly navigate the site past the primary navigation. 

Original wireframe

Initial landing

page sketch

Original wireframe for testing

White boarding workflows

The drawing board

During usability testing there were some issues:​


  • Low contrast between text and the background colors hindered accessibility.

  •  Accessibility was affected by too many dropdown menus.


Final Prototype

Transparent volunteer opportunity listings allow users to find and reserve relevant opportunities based on interests, location, and date preferences.

The new site uses familiar structures seen in common restaurant reservation mobile apps, such as the ability to reserve based on criteria and group size.

Beside is a video walkthrough of the "Final Prototype". Although it was only a two-week sprint, I'm proud of everything my team was able to accomplish. During the sprint, I learned a lot about accessibility and its role in creating inclusionary experiences.


Looking back we focused heavily on initial research which made the entire design process simpler. We were able to interview competitors, the volunteer recruiter from Project Open Hand, and around 10 previous volunteers which gave a deep insight to who we were helping. We kept going back to the research along the way to be sure we were staying true to the target user which really helped the project stay on course.

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