SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
We (Bianca, Yanqin and Sabina) formed a group and had to come up with a topic
SEPTEMBER 21, 2016
Bianca: Hey girls, do you have any ideas for our project? We really need to think of something!
Sabina: Sorry, I can’t. Gotta work…
Yan: No, sorry. No clue 😦
Sabina: Girls, I can’t talk right now. I have to run to work. But I thought of the topic voluntourism. Maybe we can look into that.
Bianca: Yeah, sure
SEPTEMBER 22, 2016
We started researching the topic of volunteering and voluntourism
We realized that in many countries the volunteering rate was dropping, all the while the volunteer tourism was increasing.
We also realized that there were not so many apps for volunteering in the Netherlands, nor were they that good. That is when we thought of making an APP FOR VOLUNTEERING!
SEPTEMBER 24-26, 2016
May the research begin!
Step 1: Search in the App Store for volunteering apps. Key words in both Dutch and English, such as: Vrijwilliger, Vrijwilligerswerk, Volunteer, Volunteering
→ Use Google to search for apps that are in the same genre but do not include these words in their name
Step 2: Organize our findings in tables – below you’ll see the notes we took while researching the apps
SEPTEMBER 28-29, 2016
We started thinking of the intervention the Volunteering at Hand offers for selected public/academic debates
When we search for volunteering opportunities on the website, we often get an endless list of organizations or posts. In order to look into more detail or apply, we need to click into each one of them. This gives us a sense of information overload in this field. Going deeper into the topic of volunteering, we also find the existing apps not sufficiently organized by category. This is a very typical case of information overload. In hope of helping the current situation, we came up with the idea to develop an application which will provide better categorization and better selected information. Another purpose of our application is to help solve the problem of voluntourism by encouraging users to take the volunteering opportunities near them. So our application is carefully designed with functions and encouraging elements so that we can better allocate the volunteers, matching them with proper jobs.
SEPTEMBER 20 – OCTOBER 2, 2016
We decided on the name of the app and the interface colors
Why Blue and Orange?
In the decision of colors for the app, the psychology of color was at play. One of the reasons we chose blue was because we regarded it as a neutral color for the design of apps (even our phone and computers use blue extensively). It is perhaps easy to say that it is a safe color. In addition, “positive qualities of blue are trust, integrity and efficiency” (Haller 2015). Moreover, “blue represents calm, reflection and serenity” (Haller 2015). In addition, it relates to the mind and conveys communication and logic (Haller 2015). With these connotations in mind, we chose this color as we wanted to portray trust, reflection, and to speak to the mind of our users.
As for orange, it is a bright and warm color. It represents optimism and it is uplifting, which we thought would be a perfect match with our volunteering ‘monsters’. Aside from this, it is also the color we associate with the Netherlands. Even though our ambition with Volunteering at Hand is to expand worldwide in the future, our first focus is on the Netherlands.
Why the name Volunteering at Hand?
The name of our app has a double meaning. Hands symbolize to us strength, help, and reaching out to someone in times of need. We wanted to keep volunteering in our name, as we wanted to keep the direct link to the purpose of our app. While conducting our research we found that some apps that don’t include the word ‘volunteer’ in their name are harder to find in the App store, such as the app Happy Deed. We had to search on Google whether there were any other volunteering apps we missed, and that is how we came across it. Given that we are not well-known, including the word ‘volunteering’ was important for us. Moreover, another symbolism of the name is that volunteering is in your hand(s) literally and figuratively speaking.
OCTOBER 3 – 10, 2016
We started building the Volunteering at Hand!
The Evolution of App Icon – We had two versions for the Icon before we decided on the current one. The sequence of versions have almost the same components on the blue background with different arrangement and details.
The first version contains two monsters popping up from the bottom with hands up in the air. The name of our app “Volunteering at Hand” is positioned on the upper right corner. With the two monster occupying most of the space, we find that people might neglect the name of our app and thus don’t what our app is about. Based on those thoughts, we changed the layout.
In this version, we shrank a little bit the size of the monsters, and turned them upside down. The words are positioned in the middle of the lower part, which is definitely more eye-catchy.
The 3rd version is the final version of my app icon. Compared to the last one, we made adjustments to the mouths of the monsters. Sharp pointing teeth were replaced by nifty smile, inviting people to join them in volunteering.
October 10 – 11, 2016
Our system of badges: is divided in two categories: (1) medals – representing the number of hours they volunteer, users will gain a bronze gained for 15 hours of work, silver for 45 hours, gold for 100 hours or platinum for more than 200 hours; (2) symbols – representing the causes our users volunteer for. As illustrated in figure 1 when we chose the type of medals we were debating between four different designs, but we decided that the second (from left) one was the best option. However, for the second category of badges, we started by thinking what would be the causes our users are going to volunteer for. Hence we came up with the following causes: education, student organization, art and culture, environment, health, seniors, shelter, animal care and community. After deciding on the causes that will be included in this first version of the app, we thought that it is best to have plain straightforward symbols, which first will appear neutral and once the achievement is unlocked the icon will change its color. For example, when one completes a volunteering job related to health issues – which is symbolized by a heart – the heart will become red. We are aware that our first version of badges do not cover all the possible causes one might volunteer for; hence, the next version of our app will introduce a set of new badges.
October 12, 2016
We finished building our first version of Volunteering at Hand