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Civic Tech Jobs

How might we create a more efficient and cohesive volunteer onboarding process for 4000+ team leads, project managers, and volunteers?


project type:

ui/ux design
team (1-3 others & me), nonprofit work
11 months (aug. 2021 - jun. 2022)
high-fidelity prototype / minimum viable product (MVP)


Hack for LA: A crisis in the pandemic


I joined the project in its earliest stages, when all it had was a logo and a color scheme, and am now working cross-functionally to build the minimum viable product (MVP) for Civic Tech Jobs’ first launch.

  1. Inability to control who enters the organization, leading to spam / overwhelming amounts of messages.

  2. Project managers are unable to complete milestones with the constant onboarding and dropoff of volunteers.

  3. Newly onboarded volunteers often do not have clear expectations for what to expect from onboarding, nor a solid understanding of their next steps, resulting in a mismatch between projects and their volunteers’ goals.

The current volunteer onboarding user flow leads to poor communication and high drop-off rates.


Overflows and user flows

Before I joined the project, brief interviews with project managers, a competitive analysis of other volunteer organization websites, and early-stage usability tests were already conducted. From this research, the following pain points were identified:

Defining the problem


How might we create a more intuitive and efficient volunteer onboarding process for 4000+ project managers and new volunteers in order to match interests more accurately and reduce dropoff rates?

How might we


Wireframes for brainstorming

My team and I began by ideating our initial landing page ideas. One of my designs was then selected to be developed further after being presented to the rest of the Civic Tech Jobs team due to its use of more organic shapes such as circles and the clean, uncluttered layout.


High-fidelity prototypes

Clear onboarding instructions

Civic Tech Jobs' home page and How to Join page use clear language to give an overview about the onboarding process, minimizing confusion about next steps.

Filtered results for the best match

Users are prompted to choose their area of interest and fill in their availability to ensure a match between the users' goals and their recommended roles and prevent future dropoffs due to lack of interest.

filter for results.gif
filter for results mobile.gif

Sign up to verify onboarding

To join Hack for LA, all volunteers must attend a virtual onboarding meeting. When users sign up, they receive a verification email with onboarding meeting details, and any previous search activity is saved. They become registered as a verified user in the CTJ database.

sign up flow.gif
sign up flow mobile.gif

Log in for full role postings

To see the full role descriptions without blurred info, users must log in to their existing account. This makes sure that people who join the Slack after onboarding are verified users, preventing overwhelming amounts of spam messages in project managers' inboxes.

login for full results.gif

Mobile version coming soon

High fidelity prototypes

Design system

We are in the process of revamping our design system to include more details, such as CSS specifications.

Usability testing


Did CTJ improve the volunteer onboarding process? 

The user research team and UX design team ​worked together to usability test the current flow. I then collaborated with both teams to affinity map the different pains and gains as reported by users. Overall, we found that the process became more intuitive and clear, but specific steps were still in need of more clarification.

The research team, design team, and I proceeded to categorize the pain points brought up by urgency level and effort level, as seen below. The "Recommendations" column is a result of a fellow designer and I rapidly ideating possible solutions to each pain point.

Categorization scale for urgency level and effort level.

For full tables, click here.


After all this...

I am currently taking a break from this project to focus on my internship with UCSD Design Lab. If I were to return to the project, I would:

  • Continue my work on the Content Management System (CMS) dashboard, where team leads and product managers can post open roles and keep track of their postings, and the search results page.

  • Help research team conduct usability tests on our MVP prototypes and are sending out surveys to further understand our target audience.

  • Continue iteration on pages based on research findings to better support users. For example, we previously made the availability block color green to signify that users fill in when they're available, not unavailable (this was a common misconception).


The engineering team is currently developing my work into a live website.


The project that taught me design

  • Larger scope = more challenges = more growth. I'm not kidding when I say this project taught me design. Civic Tech Jobs is my largest project to date. Not only did I learn how to use common design tools like Figma and accessibility guidelines like WCAG, but I also was introduced to design systems, which helped me understand how to best bridge the hand-off between designers and developers.

  • Failure mapping is helpful. My team and I approached this project by examining the current user flow and researching all the different points users could struggle with. Being able to map out the user's pains and needs at each step in the flow helped me gain a big-picture view of the project and understand the narrative beyond individual screens.

Key Takeaways
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