Pittsburgh, PA

My Role

UX & Visual Design


Feb – Apr 2015

be. is a social network platform that connects local non-profits and volunteers. be. is meant to help non-profit organizations and volunteers to communicate, track events, motivate participation, and keep sustained relationships.




My Role

Working with two other designers, Sam and Samantha, we researched and developed the concept and branding together then divided up the tasks to show different parts of the concept: on-boarding process, mobile app and dashboard. I was responsible for leading the design of the mobile app and dashboard.


We found that local non-profit organizations were too often overlooked when it came to people making decisions about where to volunteer. We wanted to change that and make it easier both for volunteers and non-profit organizations. Enabling volunteers to find opportunities that directly benefit their surroundings and non-profit organizations to more easily connect with those interested in helping were our main goals.



Research PROCESS

Understanding the Problem

Since this space was entirely reliant on human interactions and emotional draws, we focused a lot of our research and needs finding within the real world. We tried numerous methods for getting people to donate goods, approaching people in person and digitally like email, Facebook or Snapchat. We also went out and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to better understand the current process for being a participant in this area.



Based on behavior studies, interviews and field research, we found out that approaching larger groups with story and brand digitally worked better. Although face-to-face interaction worked better than any digital surrogate in getting immediate feedback (donation), it was lacking in terms of motivating people to volunteer. Also, we found out that retention for any experience required more feedback and better tracking of the event to give that feedback.



Design Process


Through various whiteboarding sessions, we narrowed our scope to focus on helping people learn about what's going on around them, making it easier for them to become involved through this discovery, and adding tools to their arsenal for better engagement.



With all of our information in tow, we began to shape a system for discovering and learning about local charity opportunities. Over time we developed multiple visual languages and styles before ultimately settling on a very inviting pallet with tons of fun but relevant illustrations. Feedback at each turn helped us narrow our focus and better understand the different feelings or messages our work was giving off. This allowed us to move from a more corporate feel to a more friendly, community-building ambience.



Final Design

After all of our changes and redesigns, we settled on a social platform for facilitating discovery and communication between eager volunteers and local non-profit organizations. be. has features including participation tracking, local news, and messaging with your favorite people or organizations. These tools allow users on either end to stay connected and better manage their involvement. Our hope is that a more positive and simplified experience will prompt continued participation and constant growth of the community.

Landing Page


Sign-up Process for Non-Profit Organizations


Sign-up Process for Volunteers


Dashboard for non-profit organizations


Mobile App for volunteers

On-site mode for volunteers




Over the span of two months, we researched, designed, and prototyped the concept for be. We jumped around a lot at first flushing out the concept direction, but overall we're proud of what we've been able to accomplish. It was a strong reminder that field research and talking to real people, collaborating with the team, and executing with real passion can help define a compelling product.