- Crowdfunding platform for education and nonprofits, with total financial transparency utilizing Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Smart contract -

My Role   /   UX  (User Research/Interviews, Competitive/Comparative Analysis, Personas, Ideations, Prototypes, Wireframes and User Testings) and UI 

Team   /   Yuki Hirayama, Lisa Prins, Marie Park and Eduardo Mena

“How might we better assist inexperienced fundraisers to meet their goal? “

Fundraising Reality for Education / Non Profit Sector 

Educators and nonprofits face many struggles in gaining access to resources that can help students achieve more. Simply, they need more funding. Some of the options they have to gain more funding are

  • Asking for donations through friends and family locally
  • Applying for Federal funding, if applicable
  • Crowdfunding

As we all recognize how powerful social media can be, more educators and nonprofits are participating in crowdfunding. The process seems to be simple and democratic on surface, however to meet their funding goal successfully, they need to create a great campaign to communicate and connect with potential donors online. The fact is, the more unprivileged they are (hence they need more funding), the less access they have to equipment for campaign creation and the less familiar they are with how to architect a compelling story which is vital to communicate and connect with with potential donors.  

Also once campaigns are successfully funded, many crowdfunding websites take a good chunk of the funds for administrative fees (up to 18 %)  and credit card companies take an additional percentage in fees (up to 3%).  

The fact is, the more unprivileged they are (hence they need more funding), the less access they have to equipment for campaign creation and the less familiar they are with how to architect a compelling story which is vital to communicate and connect with with potential donors.  

So eduDAO was established with the mission to provide a low-cost, fully accountable funding platform for the most underfunded education-related organizations by utilizing cryptocurrency, blockchain and smart contract, in addition to a conventional payment system.


    eduDAO was at an early stage of its establishment and needed UX help for their existing website which did not have a campaign creation segment integrated yet.

    The goal of the project was to

    • Design a campaign creation segment which contains streamlined methods for recipients to create effective fundraising campaigns
    • Differentiate themselves from other crowdfunding by emphasizing the benefit of their platform which utilizes cryptocurrency therefore offer lower transaction fee (only 0.5 %) 


    Building from scratch, itemizing actions for the basic flow

    Whiteboards: Since they didn’t have a campaign creation segment yet, the project started with itemizing actions by users (both recipients and donors). We analyzed the whiteboards by the client to plan our research project.


    User Interviews

    We interviewed potential recipients as well as potential donors. It was important to interview potential donors as well to learn what information they would most need from a campaign page to make a decision to donate.

    The discovery

    Needs of Donors

    • D-1.  Need to feel a mission of the recipient = a compelling story from the recipient
    • D-2.  Transparency where the donation goes
    • D-3.  Sense of Urgency
    • D-4.  Social Media / Shareablity
    • D-5.  Want to support campaigns but don’t have money (many students or people at their early stage in career)

    Needs of Recipients

    • R-1. Resources to create a compelling story to have a successful campaign
    • R-2. Social Media / Shareablity

    Originally we thought that there would be a little more familiarity with cryptocurrency among the donors we interviewed. It turned out that most were really only familiar with Bitcoin, and that only by name. Based on that, we decided that there should be some description of what cryptocurrency is and further emphasis on its benefits of donating via cryptocurrency vs. conventional methods.

    Younger people had more empathy for unprivileged students.

    D-5.  Younger people, typically who were still in college expressed they wish they could make (more or) a donation to great causes they believe in but they can’t afford to do so at the moment. They told us they feel their needs so painfully as a student themselves and acknowledge the importance of educational resources for the students to advance.

    Competitive / Comparative Analysis  We conducted competitive/comparative analysis to see what problems our competitors are solving and to find our opportunities on the market. Here are some good practices from the analysis which meet our users’ needs.



    Also the chart below was created based on our findings from user interviews. There was one organization which used cryptocurrency, smart contract and blockchain on the market at the moment the research was conducted. But they were not providing the needs we found through our interviews on their platform. By making sure to meet the market needs through intuitive user experience design, we believed eduDao will be able positioned itself very well on the market, as a pioneer in this industry.


    Design Process


    The campaign creation segment will be visible only to recipients, but for their campaigns to be successfully funded, understanding donor’s goals and frustrations is vital. So we created a persona for donor as well.



    Crazy 8's / Ideations  We had rapid ideation sessions (Up to 8 minutes each) to flesh out ideas how we can answer the users’ needs. We allowed ourselves to be conceptual to break away from potentially boring ideas and think of some fun and worst ones as well.

    • “How to build trust between eduDAO and the donor,”
    • “How to build trust between the recipient and the donor,”
    • “How to assist recipients in creating a successful campaign,”
    • “How to communicate the sense of transparency of the eduDAO business model.”

    Untapped Market - Skills / Knowledge donor option

    During the interview process as mentioned earlier, when interviewees expressed they wish they could make monetary contribution, I told them “Spreading the word or passing the information of the fundraising to their network is a form of contribution.” They seemed to be empowered to be reminded monetary contribution is not the only way to support others. Also some told us, in facet, they tried to volunteer locally when they could for an organization of their choosing. So, during the crazy 8s session, I fleshed out this idea (below) and presented it to the client.

    The concept is to add an option for “Skills / Knowledge donor” to the campaign page. For those people who can’t make monetary donation but are willing to donate their skills / knowledge for the campaign creation can chose this option. So recipients who are lacking in campaign creation resource can benefit from this feature to create a compelling campaign. (screenwriters, videographers etc) In return, the skills / knowledge donors can get portfolio through real experience as well by making a direct and positive contribution.   

    This went beyond the scope of the project but I believed adding this feature would greatly help both recipient and skills / knowledge donors. And as the result, the community would expand further and its experience would be richer.

    “Skills / Knowledge donor” is the option for those people who can’t make monetary donation but are willing to donate their skills / knowledge for the campaign creation. It’s an untapped market.

    The client liked the concept very much. They agreed this layer of support would make the eduDAO community stronger, richer in experience and would be well aligned with their mission: “Bringing people together to support and empowering them”

    Initial User Flows

    Later a legal agreement page was moved up to the campaign proposal segment which  takes prior to this segment.


    Wireframes - Low Fidelity

    We sketched wireframes and chose elements and features we came up with during our crazy 8s / ideation session to answer users’ needs.


    Mid Fidelity Prototypes for User Testing

    Total of 8 sets of prototypes were created, including 2 sets of comparative tests. Not only did we want to see which user flow our testers would prefer, but also we wanted to learn which phrase would give more appropriate brand voice to our testers.   Go to one of the prototypes.



    The discovery

    Pro tips - confused with the wording and location  One difficulty almost every tester encountered was the storytelling help we placed on some of the pages. Our wording, “Pro Tips” was confusing to testers. They didn’t know if it was technical help or something else. Another issue was the placement of it. Testers didn’t notice it right away and looked for help at the top or bottom of the page, or under the section titles.

    More help in the beginning  Some testers wished for a “how to create a successful campaign” page near the beginning as well, in addition to during the process.

    Make it all editable in the end, without making us going back  They also expressed it would be useful to be able to edit the campaign preview right from that page to save them time in going back to those specific form pages.

    Skills / Knowledge Donor - Our uncertainty created an unclear direction  For the testing purpose, we decided not to use the phrase “Skills / Knowledge Donor” because we’re uncertain if the testers would understand the meaning of it or not.  So instead,  we explained the concept in a few sentences then give them a choice to proceed if they’d need any assistance for campaign creation from a videographer to a  screenwriter. It turned out the testers found wording was not clear, but they liked the idea once they understood it.

    A good idea, but ...

    Even though we believed in the benefits of adding Skills / Knowledge donor option as a feature to answer the need D-5, we could not decide where the section to be added within the timeframe of this project. The client thought it may make sense to have the feature while they submit their campaign proposal to eduDAO, not as a part of the campaign segment in public. However, that would add more work to eduDAO and the process would be done privately between eduDAO and recipients. The process would be done in a closed environment which is the opposite of creating and cultivating a sense of community. I pictured this feature to be added to the campaign or pre-campaign page (that means adding another section to the IA) so that Skills / Knowledge donors and recipients would select each other more organically. Either way, we’d need more time for the concept development and further testings. So this feature was forced to be excluded for this version of campaign platform and to be added on the version after.  

    Designing from the middle (-ish)

    To reflect our discoveries from the Mid-fidelity user testing and also as a way of generating ideas for our design language, we decided to first individually work on the most complicated page of the campaign creating segment. Then we compared our pages collectively to select the best practices from them then incorporated in one page.

    Subsequently we designed the rest of the pages following the format stemmed from the preview page.



    Style Guide   Based on their mission and vision, we created style guide, including  a new logo before we created a high fidelity prototype.


    Final design


    Reflection of our user testing

    What’s next   

    eduDAO has been working on their newer website to reflect this project.