Animal Planet is an innovative app where animal charity donations becomes an engaging activity to overcome the hesitation of donation
Animal Planet is an innovative app where animal charity donations becomes an engaging activity to overcome the hesitation of donation
In the UK, for the last 5 years, trust in charities has fallen from %67 to %55 (The Charity Commission, 2016). This concerning 55% trust is lower than a random person in the street (Populus and Charity Commission for England and Wales, 2018).
Due to this trend, the number of donators to charities will be fewer which results in significant damage to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of UN (United Nations, 2017). Actions should be taken immediately to increase people’s trust towards charities while increasing their motivation to donate; since motivation is highly associated with trust (Degasperi and Mainardes, 2017).
Further, there is a massive potential in donating digitally since a whopping 53% of people still prefer cash while donating in regards to 19% who donates digitally. (Charities Aid Foundation, 2019)
Animal Welfare is selected as the target cause because of my increasing sensitivity towards animals and my increasing awareness. Furthermore, taking action towards animal welfare means taking action towards climate change and saving the world.
In-depth contextual research had to be conducted to gain deep qualitative insights about trust towards charities and motivation to donate.
The most suitable methods should be used to be able to capture all insights of what people think, do, feel. Five different methods were used to research the relationship of people to animal charities, donations, and the concepts of trust and motivation:
Around 25 questions have been asked about:
After completing the data collection, all sessions were transcribed into hundreds of sticky notes.
Affinity map was used to visualize this messy data by clustering them into meaningful categories and relationships.
Visualizing data enabled to gather findings.
Two distinct personas are crafted from information from affinity mapping; a non-donator and a donator. These personas made insight generation easier as it became easy to associate the findings with a persona.
Personas were then further refined with actionable insights. Non-donator persona will be used throughout the following design process; by keeping their pain points in mind and being aware of the target users I am designing for.
People’s trust in charities starts to decrease drastically after around age 21 (Populus and Charity Commission for England and Wales, 2018). The reason for this turned out to be becoming more aware by either encountering bad news about charities or having trust-breaking experiences. To understand and prevent it; Gen Z was selected as the target group. It was defined further as below:
Key insights are defined from affinity map and they will serve as a basis for the following design process.
Non-Donator Gen Z seek for personal benefits and personal satisfaction because their focus is on themselves rather than others, they donate mainly to satisfy themselves. But;
Non-Donator Gen Z want to be 100% sure of what's going to happen during and after the donation, eliminate the uncertainty because they won't spend their money on uncertainty. But;
Non-Donator Gen Z want to get motivated to donate and become more aware about charities because low awareness forms high trust but low motivation. But;
Non-Donator Gen Z want to donate easily, know where and how to donate because they don't know how/where to donate, and too many decisions overwhelm them, causing action paralysis. Also;
People keep their donation story to themselves or tell it only to their close friends / relatives because they do not want to be perceived as a braggart by talking about their donation. But;
Jobs-to-be-Done (JBTB) summarizes the bigger picture of what users want to achieve when they use certain services or digital products (Clayton and Raynor, 2003) JBTB focuses on the motivation of the users and provides a different perspective.
JBTB statements will be regularly being referred to be sure that users will achieve what they want.
Reframed key insights, persona and JBTB helped to craft a UX vision which identifies the desired experience for the target user. UX vision was iterated many times, in every step, to achieve the most suitable one.
Six design principles were generated to assist UX vision to guide generating concepts and during the development of the final concept. These design principles must apply to the final concept.
Focusing on the most innovative and desirable insights, around 100 “How Might We” questions have been created as a goal to provoke meaningful and relevant ideas (Standford University d.school, no date).
HMW's were consolidated with an affinity map; forming 25 HMW's.
25 HMW’s are evaluated again by their innovativeness and desirability.
Evaluated HMW’s from previous chapter were now color coded and then grouped. While doing this, upcoming trends (from the reports: (Fjord, 2020; Frog, 2020)) and new/emerging technologies were considered as well.
With UX vision in mind, ideas were generated from HMW groups with Crazy 8’s method (Knapp et al.,2016), 8 ideas were tried to be sketched in 8 minutes per session.
Ideas from Crazy 8’s transformed into 5 concepts. They were further evaluated while two of them were discarded immediately.
After deciding on a concept idea, a concept statement was generated that addresses the UX vision statement.
Competitor analysis helped to benchmark other apps or services. By doing this, I was able to see what attracts target user and how, how do current apps work, and avoid the mistakes others made.
From the analysis, the design should have:
incredible motivation aspects • surprise affect • simple and professional look • progress bars • connection with real-life • community aspect
From the analysis, the design should also have:
autonomy, competence and relatedness • always something to do • step-by-step approach • variety of animals • leaderboards • challenges • badges
A storyboard was sketched to understand the concept better by demonstrating the user experience, and to communicate the outcome better with a participant.
Following that, a to-be user journey map was created to further dig down details of the app usage. User journey map allowed to see how users’ requirements were being addressed and how their motivation is getting affected in each step.
Wireframes were sketched with pen and paper initially.
Wordings were decided elaborately. How to communicate with the user is vital for such an app (in e.g. animals should not be “gained”, it would not be ethical. They should be ''discovered''. Not “my animals”; but “helped animals” etc.).
App's name “Animal Planet” decided as well to have a specific context to inform the design decisions.
Before sketching the pages, features were written down to help the structure. With the decided features, a sitemap is created to structure the flow.
Rapid prototypes will be built repeatedly as testing prototypes as much as possible in the first steps is essential; and this is the first low fidelity prototype.
If users donate to a campaign related to rhinos, they will discover a rhino that will appear in their animal town. In the end, they will have many companions in their habitat.
Users will receive 0.25£ from Animal Planet which will allow them to make their first donation without spending money.
Designed wireframes were tested in these sessions. I prepared for the sessions to find the answers to my concerns.
Questions were prepared beforehand to be asked in the sessions. Sessions were done as online video calls with screen sharing. The user has been asked to think aloud.
After an ongoing process of iterative design with many prototyping sessions; final low fidelity prototype was designed. Most important changes are as following;
For a full experience, an app needs its soul; therefore it required branding.
Font should be playful as gamification is being used and playfulness will increase motivation.
However; it should also give trust. Research shows that there is no specific font for trust (Laiso, 2017). Yet, if the used font is related to the product, the product will be perceived as trustworthy (in e.g. fitness app having dynamic font, news app having serif font). Therefore, two fonts have been selected to be playful but also be trustworthy.
Since it is a donation app for all kinds of animal around the world, name should address all the animals in our planet. Further, it should emphasize the value of the animals in our planet. Therefore, name and logo were formed.
Motivation, trust and nature feelings were sought while deciding colors. Viridian green is selected as the primary color to resemble earth and water, and to evoke peace and nature. While this green ensure trust, reduce stress and create calmness; a contrast color was needed to increase the motivation where needed. Therefore, coral orange is selected for motivation, warmth and joy. Rest of the colors have been selected accordingly.
Being informed by design principles, following were looked out for;
4th iteration was improved into a high fidelity design. While doing this, usability heuristics and accessibility guidelines were taken into consideration; to be more readable, clear, effective, efficient and satisfactory. Also, design improved to be more aesthetic and minimalist. Cognitive load was minimized in many screens.
With this high fidelity design, usability testings were started, to identify the problems and areas of improvement. Usability testing has been done with 6 people in detail.
The participants have been given tasks. Aim of having these tasks is to build the environment for the user as if they are really using this app. Further, it would be easier to identify the issues related to these tasks.
Usability, accessibility, satisfaction and performance have been tested online with a video call with the following methods:
Participants have been asked to “Think Aloud” (Jaspers et al., 2004) while they have navigated in Animal Planet with the given tasks.
Task success and errors have been collected which gave results for task completion percent and number of errors (Smith, 1996).
After the usability test, users answered ten SUS questions about the app. These questions are about finding out the perceived ease-of-use (Sauro Jeff, 2011).
Results were looking promising; but they should be better. Some critical improvements in some areas have been made after tests in the following final design.
Users go through a 5 screen onboarding; about how users can discover animals.
Striking statistics about animals will be shown. Many non-donator GenZ are unaware of how animals suffer. Further, it shows that this app is not just a game, it serves for a bigger purpose.
Users will have the planet earth. When they donate, discovered animal will appear in the related location. One by one, planet will be filled with the animals helped saving.
Users are welcomed to this page with an animation of rotating planet; which gives a visual clue that planet can be rotated freely by the users.
For the first time users, small onboarding messages will appear time to time.
Animals all around the world can be seen here. When the users discover an animal, that animal will get colorful. Being aware of none of these are discovered will motivate user to discover.
Every animal will have a page that shows information about the animal and current campaigns about that animal. Information scent (Nielsen, 2004) may lead to users to donate from here as well to discover the related animal.
Campaigns will be listed in a simple layout as cards. A progress bar is given; users tend to donate when the campaign is closer to the goal (Chung, 2016).
At the top, there will be “stories” and live feeds of the charities. Having live feeds will increase trust and awareness by showing the footages of animal cruelties and how they get help which only a minority people are aware of. Graphic feeds will not be allowed.
If users add their friends, they will be able to see who donated to this campaign; users may choose to hide their name if they wish.
“Filters” text is added near icon to improve memory recall according to dual coding theory (Paivio, 1991). Past campaigns will be at the bottom but can be viewed from filters as well.
First-time users will be welcomed by a text saying “You have received 0.25£ from Animal Planet to be used in your first donation. Spread the goodness, save the animals.”.
This way, they do not need to spend money on their first donation; it will be like a trial. Non-donator Gen Z do not spend money on uncertainty, so a huge obstacle for them will hopefully vanish. If they make their first donation, their motivation to do another one will gradually increase with other incentives in Animal Planet.
When clicked to a campaign, campaign card will expand to fit the screen for a seamless transition. Campaign details will be visible here;
Donation page is kept simple for not to overwhelm users in this last step. Users may use the slider or tap the number write a donation money. Slider’s shape subconsciously forms a smile therefore creates an urge to slide.
Donation can be as small as £0.25; main purpose is to change behaviour and to get started. Micro-donations are extremely valuable (Aposporos, 2020). First-time users can use the money given from Animal Planet.
Color theory (IDF, 2019) is used at the bottom. Green catches the attention with the writing “85% of the money goes directly to the cause”; with a full transparency, showing that there is nothing to hide. When tapped, money distribution can be seen and users can view more information about Animal Planet.
Saying thank you is extremely important and will trigger for future donations.
If a campaign is for multiple animals, a surprise effect will kick in as the users will discover a random animal amongst them. If it was a in e.g. a donation to a dogs surgery, the user will directly discover a dog; because that is the only animal he/she helped.
In all of the usability tests, users got extremely happy when they discovered an animal, even some of them reacting loudly.
Badges will be rare and not always will be gained with every donation. Since this is the first donation, users will gain their related first badges to motivate them.
Discovered animals will appear on the users planet at the exact location where the campaign is. Gained points from the donation will be added.
When users tap to discovered animal, they encounter with a striking text “This is one of the kangaroo’s you helped saving in this campaign”.
Due to identifiable victim effect (Chung, 2016); having a digital animal here about the related campaign contextualizes the donation and makes it easier to relate the help. Users will emotionally connect to that digital animal. This takes the sympathy to the next level which increases the motivation to help and discover more animals.
Users can see the challenges and claim gained points. Having challenges builds motivation as there will be always something to do.
Gained points from every challenge will increase every time they finish that challenge. Challenges will last forever; there will be always something to do for users (in e.g. Save Lives Level 1 = Help saving 1 animal, Level 2 = Help saving 3 animals)
Users will receive badges for certain actions; they will be motivated to collect them.
Elements of the main page will be revealed one by one, to not overwhelm with many features. Shop will be unlocked after first time users visit their achievements.
(Camera button takes a photo of your planet to be shared, it is a "could have" feature)
After opening the shop page, users will see the following text: “You may buy gifts to support Animal Planet or you may get them with your credits. Every point you gain = 1 credits”.
Shop will act as another rewarding mechanism or a place to support Animal Planet.
First-time users will encounter will leaderboard settings when they first open leaderboards. They will choose to either use their real name or a nickname. Nickname is default because giving the users the option to select a nickname would have result some people choosing disrespectful or “cheesy” names which will lower app’s respect.
Leaderboards encourage competition and reward people publicly for their participation (CauseVox, 2020).
Leaderboards will be available as region and friends. Having a district leaderboard enables more connection with real life and it increases the chance of being at the top. On the other hand; if the person is at the top, he/she needs a new challenge; so the area expands to city, country, worldwide.
Points will not be very obvious to not reveal how much people donated (in e.g. 1£ may be 7pts. but making a donation may be 5pts. etc.) Points can also be gained from gaining badges, discovering new animals etc.
Users will receive brief updates about the campaigns they donated; once or twice, without overwhelming. During usability tests, participants got highly emotional during this step which is a sign that receiving such an email will trigger further donations.
In the first phase; charities will be contacted to invite them to Animal Planet. In the second phase; charities will sign up to Animal Planet on their own through the app.
Every new joined charity will be inspected whether they are trustful; multiple websites that rates charities will be checked. Charities will be able to post campaigns after they receive a confirmation from Animal Planet.
Animal Planet focuses on non-donators and therefore, micro-donations will be widely made rather than huge donations. That is why; a campaign’s maximum money requirement should not be very high and it should gradually increase depending on the number of Animal Planet users. In example:
This will prevent never-ending campaigns and never-filling progress bars and it will result in a more active and dynamic app. Further, people prefer donating to causes with a limited number of people or small money pool to have a more significant impact ratio.
Also; to reduce the overwhelm of seeing too many campaigns, charities can share up to maximum 3 campaigns at the same time and having a maximum two months duration.
Donors are averse to the idea of overhead costs and also they seek full transparency. Wagisha Jha suggests to “have professional philanthropists or major donors to cover overhead costs so that the vast majority of smaller donations can go directly towards your programs” (Jha, 2019).
Therefore, assuming that philanthropists will be found, an assumption made about money expenditure ratios in the prototype; keeping the money that goes directly to the cause in a reasonable percentage;
Behaviour change is sought to happen with gamification and using lots of seamless small incentives; starting from persuasive technology, to using behaviour steering and finally to user feedback.
Persuasive Technology: Initial apporach; which uses the product to change behaviour.
Behaviour Steering: After getting hooked, their behaviour will be steered with using incentives and affordances.
Feedback: After creating this channel to reach the user; finally, users will be informed of the impacts of their actions to encourage behaviour change.
In this particular case; trust and motivation are the most important aspects for a behaviour change to happen and they were achieved by;
Many people will be motivated since they will feel like they are working towards achieving something meaningful and greater than themselves (Mitchell, 2019); to help animals and make the earth a better place.
“Feels like healing the earth. I’m making the earth a better place” P6
As referred before, Self-Determination Theory is critical when it comes to games to increase intrinsic motivation (Deci and Ryan, 1985). Autonomy (freedom) and relatedness (being connected with others) are achieved in Animal Planet.
Most important strategies from Artefact Group (Artefact Group, 2018) were used:
Animal Planet makes a disruption for good, creating a new era in donating. Transforms traditional donating methods to an engaging activity.
Animal Planet aims for personal benefits and personal satisfactions but doing these seamlessly with lots of rewarding mechanisms; and not exaggerating gamification to not to distort motive and not to undermine the actual cause.
App allows them to go through the donation process once, so they feel how satisfactory it is to help animals, so they will not hesitate to donate again.
Animal Planet highly focuses on after donation phase to create the best experience in the aim of motivating to donate again. After experiencing a highly exciting after-donation; users, later on, receive an e-mail showing the campaign process, which increases accountability. Further, Animal Planet also emphasizes how donations can change the planet by visualizing it.
As a result, Animal Planet creates a more responsible, aware generation that cares about animals, hence the world; bringing one step closer to achieve sustainable development goals (United Nations, 2017).
All participants were fascinated by the donation experience. While user experience of Animal Planet successfully delivered the intentions of motivating and giving trust, the project awaits for future developments.
Coronavirus made this project to become fully remote. Adapting to remote-working was highly difficult. However; being in a constant communication with my lecturers and friends, motivating myself, setting up a work place in my home etc. made me to get used to get used to remote working and see how powerful it is. I adapted to tools, working methods to make remote working as powerful as office working.
This project made me realize realized how important ethical considerations are. Every small detail that can affect people negatively should be thought; people should not own animals but instead animals should appear in our world etc.
The prototype is able to deliver the key user journey. However, due to time limitations and because of UX process’s very nature; some parts have not been fully developed and some parts have not been considered.
At least round of usability test With post-questionnaire is required to be sure about the usability, accessibility, satisfaction and performance of the app.
Animal Planet might deliver an incredible user experience; but, if the charities will not be on the same page about joining the app, it all worth nothing. Therefore, more interviews and test should be done with charities to see if they would be willing to participate if this was a real project. Due to time limitations and being not ethical to take charities’ time with tests for a school project; these interviews were not done.
Not being able to do more interviews with charities caused me to develop the service with strong assumptions which may not be hundred percent correct, or a sponsor may not be easily found; therefore, service design aspects should be developed further.
For the true feelings for such a gamification app, sound effects are required.
Users will be able to invite their friends to Animal Planet to gain points. These points will enable them to climb up the leaderboard and will be added to their credits to be used in the shop.
There would be a number of people who may want to donate directly to Animal Planet to support such an organization. “Support Us” button is located in the profile page; but is not fully considered or developed.
Clear service design should be developed for how Animal Planet has items to sell.
It looks like a game, and if it gets downloaded by children and they donate with their parent’s money, it can have serious consequences. A solution should be made for this.
All icons from FlatIcon and Material Design
Illustrations: undraw.co, freepik.com
Mockups by gregdlubacz on gumroad.com and uxfol.io
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