Kickstarter's mission is to bring creative projects to life. The crowdfunding app's ability to reach across international lines and draw support for new ideas is unprecedented. What if Kickstarter used its tremendous ability to connect individuals with projects, not just for fundraising, but for community organizing and empowerment as well?
What if Kickstarter went local?
Timeline: 2 weeks
My team was comprised of three UX designers. I planned the research component of the project. First, I conducted preliminary interviews in order to develop our questionnaire. I began with a combination of questions about Kickstarter and volunteer work, but after observing confusion about the line of questioning in the informants, I created two separate questionnaires: one regarding Kickstarter, and another regarding volunteer work. Informants who had experience with Kickstarter and volunteering received both sets of questions.
The purpose of the Kickstarter-focused interviews was to get a sense of how Kickstarter users (including people who donated and people who managed campaigns) use the service, how they choose which projects to back, whether they use the website or native mobile app, and if they've ever gotten involved in a project through Kickstarter. From our volunteer-oriented informants, we wanted to learn how they get involved in volunteering opportunities and, considering their limited free time, why they choose to spend time volunteering. By understanding what compelled these informants to donate their time, we were able to shape the features of Kickstarter Local.
Based on approximately thirty interviews (ten long-form, twenty short-form), we created three personas. These personas represented three distinct demographics and clusters of user needs, around which we based the various features of our app. Three personas allowed us to address different user needs and scenarios, while also keeping us within the scope of the project.
Our team also conducted a competitive/comparative analysis of crowdfunding websites, volunteer databases, and, since Kickstarter Local would have an event-creation feature to match the "Create Project" feature on Kickstarter, we added event and meet-up applications to our comparison as well.
Designing a Local Kickstarter Experience.
Our research was fundamental and formative to the development of Kickstarter Local. My team and I considered, for example, combining volunteer opportunities with Kickstarter campaigns, but our most experienced Kickstarter users (those who had managed or created multiple projects in the past) told us emphatically that changing the structure of a Kickstarter campaign, or offering the opportunity to fold in volunteer work with the dissemination of rewards, would be displease loyal Kickstarter users.
Our volunteer-focused informants told us that the often wish they had the ability to connect with like-minded people and create on-the-fly events (such as a 'party' to pick up trash in a local park). With this in mind, we gave users the ability to search for Kickstarter events based on location, but didn't change anything about the projects themselves. We also created features that allowed users to find and create volunteer events locally, and keep track of their volunteer hours within the app itself.