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Charity Miles - Mobile Application

Team: Gabriela Afonseca, Fernando Dorado

3 Weeks - July - August 2015

Charity Miles is a free iPhone/Android app that empowers you to earn money for charity while walking, running, or biking.  The money earned is provided by sponsors, essentially making everyone who uses the application a 'sponsored athlete'​, where all of the proceeds are donated to the charity if your choice.

The Task
  • Make the application easier to understand and use for new members.

  • Make it memorable and habit-forming for existing members so that they'll want and remember to use it when they walk everyday.

  • Create an on-boarding process for new members that gives them just enough information and enticement.

  • Refine the walk/run/bike process that makes the experience more seamless/automated without taking out all user engagement.

My Role
  • Liason between my team and the Charity Miles CEO and team members.

  • All copy, including survey/interview questions, personas, user-stories, in-app, and presentation.

  • Organization, including assignment of work, ideation activities, information and data color-coding, Trello and Google drive filing.

  • Design studio and detail reviewer.

  • Presentation organization and creation.


The first thing our team wanted to do was to check out the current application, see how it works, and find any issues or areas of opportunity.  We also wanted to check out the Google analytics to see where new users were dropping off so we could find a focus area.

The next thing we focused on was doing competitive and comparative analyses with both workout and charity applications.  It was important to look at the features within these apps and to see how theirs worked in comparison to Charity Miles.

Surveys and Interviews

It was important for us, at this time, to conduct a survey to get an idea of who is using Charity Miles, or potential users, what they look for in an application, issues, and general habits when using applications.

The survey ended up getting completed by almost 1800 users, many of whom currently use the Charity Miles app.  This gave us a lot of good data and lead us towards a few solutions that we had already ideated on previously.

Due to the overwhelming amount of survey responses, I found it necessary to create a method of choosing our interviewees through topic focus (teams, current application usage, etc.)  This required a decent amount of color-coding of information to keep track, as well as organization for questions based on specific answers to the survey questions.

It was important that none of these questions were leading, so during the interviews we let the interviewee talk as much as they liked, letting the conversation move away if it felt natural.  This allowed us to get a lot of bonus information and data, and allowed me to create even more specific and realistic personas.

Persona Creation

The affinity mapping method was used to create the personas at a basic level.  Many post-its were sacrificed for the greater good, and the results were the creation of 5 personas, 4 of which were current users and 1 a potential user.  There were many reasons why we created them this way, but the main ones were that the majority of the survey results were from current users, and due to it being a charity application, and charity is inherently social, the best way to get more attention to the application is through the current users.  I used the quotes and background for many of the interviewees and the data from the survey to flesh out and finalize the personas.

Feature Prioritization

After the personas were created we needed to finalize our features.  We conducted a feature prioritiazation meeting with the Charity Miles team, including the CEO, one of the developers, and the customer support specialist.  It was important to see where they felt they wanted the application to lead, and to see what the developer felt was difficult or easy since we wanted to keep their team size in consideration when designing the final product.

We conducted a feature prioritation based on the users needs afterwards and found that, for the most part, we were all on the same page.  

The team feature began to stand out at the most important thing within the application.  At the time, the team feature was hidding in the menu and, given that one of the tasks was to create something habit-forming, we felt that joining a team and being held accountable by a community for your contribution would help with that.  Most of the survey-takers didn't even know that it existed, and most people were interested in meeting up with people and walking/running/biking with them.  As well, people wanted to see the contribution numbers, they wanted to be able to quick-choose charities if they pick the same ones all of the time, and although they appreciated the sponsors, they didn't know anything about them due to where on the application the sponsor information lived.

Layout and Prototypes

At this point we began to do layout analyses of other applications and then ran a design studio for each page that we needed to change.  Incorporating all of the new information and features was a challenge, especially since we felt it necessary to keep the current layout somewhat similar so as not to upset the over 15000 daily active users.  

We first created a paper prototype and ran usability tests, then we created the high-fidelity prototype using Sketch and InVision, and created the pages to show several walkthroughs for our main personas.

The Result
  • New onboarding that better explains the application and encourages joining teams.

  • Improved profile page with total contributions, miles, and the ability to set quick-start charities.

  • Improved main page that shows a robust community feel and encourages team participation.  As well, there are quick pick charity choices, the charities are now in alphabetical order with their total contributions displayed for those that want to help the charities that don't get as much attention, as well as a 'featured' charity that could either be sponsored top, or could be one of the lower-contributed charities on the list.

  • Improved team pages that include moderators, meetup times/locations, and the top charities to which the members tend to contribute.

  • Changed order of where the sponsor information is so that you can read about them after your activity (not during).

  • Added 'today' widget feature.

The Prototype

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