Inspired by collaborative consumption, the challenge was to design a product or service that gets better or more useful the more people use it so that sharing becomes more attractive and viable. Considerations included charitable organizations, bartering, open source projects, and crowd funding, with the result of my research narrowing my focus to two main concepts. Firstly, it is agreed that in a sharing economy, waste has value. I considered this viewpoint as I explored the waste that exists in our society, and how a mobile app could bring value to it. Secondly, I considered the power of purchasing groups, and how the buying power of organized people can have significant impact on a cause. These two concepts heavily shaped my focus as I continued to research further.


Other names for “collaborative consumption” include sharing economy, peer economy, and on-demand economy. Many resources discussed crowdfunding, co-creation, and even timeshares in the traditional sense. To get a better understanding of the diversity of this concept I scoured the web and studied business models of companies like Zipcar, Etsy, Airbnb, and Uber, but I also investigated general concepts with the focus on waste having value, and purchasing or buying groups.

Research: Contextual/Competitor

The research of concepts and companies specificially directed me toward a charitable focus. I estimated that people wanting to give back fall into two major categories: the doers and the givers. The “doers” are the volunteer types. They participate in worthy causes and generally feel this involvement has more value. The “givers” donate money to causes they believe in, and they generally feel that the monetary amount needs to be of significant value. This value obviously varies from person to person, but the “givers” gauge their donations by the level of impact they think it will have. They view it more from an individual perspective than from the collective.

My theory from this point forward was centered around a paradigm shift for charitable donations, an application that focused on the overall contribution. This approach would then satisfy my two focus points for this project. I would essentially be organizing a buying group, and that the power of this collective group could promote change. My identification of waste in this scenario are the nominal contributions people feel will not have impact, so they often don’t make them.

This approach was in sharp contrast with other charitable apps I encountered during my research. All that I investigated were more consistent with the individual approach model. My next step was to test this theory via a survey and interviews.

Research: Validation

Key takeaways from my survey and interviews included the importance of social interactivity. This was convenient, since my challenge required such a component. Some other key takeaways included:

18 percent had donated to a cause within 6 months.

56 percent had donated via the internet

9 percent had participated in a crowdsourcing project within 6 months

74 percent would donate online an amount under $10 if safe and convenient

Further discussions with subjects identified that they were more likely to donate a nominal amount several times, versus contributing $100 to only one organization.

User Goals

Experience Goals

How will they feel when using the app?

Users want to feel empowered and that their contribution makes a difference. They want their decision to be simple and decisive, and without consideration for distracting details.

End Goals

What do they want to achieve by using the app?

Users want to contribute to good causes, and they want to spread it around. They also want the option to recommend a cause, and share ones that are meaningful to them or the people they know.

Life Goals

Why are they trying to accomplish the end goals?

Users simply want an easy way to contribute to causes. This support is important to them and their lives, and makes them feel like they are doing their part and giving back.

Primary Persona



Donna and her husband live in Tillamook, Oregon, where he works as a train conductor, and she as a legal secretary at a family law firm. In their younger years they would often volunteer their time for causes such as the local food bank, or the Special Olympics in nearby Portland, but they have not participated in recent years. Donna has donated money to charities in the past, but has not recently due to their tight budget and her impression that donations need to be of a certain value to have effect. She is internet savvy, and often purchases items from Amazon and Etsy.

User Flow

An example of how Donna may encounter and use the application. It should be noted that Donna is a fictional customer/user. My preferred process is to develop a preliminary persona (i.e. Donna), and then actually find a real person to help validate the value proposition and align the team.

Setting the Mood


Finding the identity started with the name, which unfortunately took some excessive iteration. Initially, I worked with the name Giftr, but various feedback I received swayed me from it. Tenner was the next name, and although descriptive of the contribution characteristic, it wasn’t “fun” enough, per my feedback. I considered other names such as “sprout” and “forth,” but settled on the name Divvy.

My initial approach was for the visual identity to be typographic, but I settled on a more stand alone mark particularly for app store presentation. So I developed a mark rooted in the typography, but with references to the $10 donations that are characteristic of Divvy.

Developing a Brand


Wireframes: Feed

Wireframes: Featured Campaign

Wireframes: Campaign Detail

Usability Testing

Using my wireframes as prototypes, I performed a series of primarily task-basked usability testing. Users related the interactivity with other apps like Facebook and Slack, and that the familiarity made it easier to use.

Digital Comps: Feed

Digital Comps: Featured Campaign

Digital Comps: Campaign Detail


The final prototype I would present was an animated video that demonstrated the interactions, features, effectiveness and branding of the application. I started with the script, then the storyboards, and finished with a final video presentation introducing Divvy.


A key lesson I learned during this process was to consider the storytelling early. I wrote my script for the video just before the storyboarding phase, but wish I would have done it as early as the low-fidelity wireframe phase. Doing this would have insured that my assets were easier to fit into the story I was trying to tell.

I also feel that the introduction of the video is slightly rushed. A future edit will include modifying the audio before the tempo change to allow for the introduction to breathe a little more.

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