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Work   :   Online Communities

Online Communities

User Research, Strategy, Design, + Design Direction

Key challenge: creating unique value to keep like-minded communities engaged and communicating with ease in closed or members-only social network platforms.

The Restart Project slogan

Slogan for The Restart Project, a nonprofit supporting community repair of consumer goods


I've worked with two nonprofit organizations and one startup who wanted their own custom online community social networks. The user experience challenge for these digital experiences is considerable, as there is a circular relationship between engagement and value: the more value you can provide, the more users engage; but users have to engage quite a bit for there to be a minimum level of value to bother using the platforms at all. Two of these projects were developed prior to larger social networks becoming as ubiquitous as they are today.

In the case of NetSquared, a division of TechSoup Global, the team envisioned a network to help connect tech organizers and innovators (often grassroots or self-funded) around the globe, with a focus on supporting digital projects, local happenings, and challenges (contests to win funding). I worked with them over two years to first rapid prototype, then complete the full interaction design, and finally, direct the visual design of the final platform to be built on Drupal. I also supported them with a number of other efforts, from creating animated tutorials to designing donor impact dashboards.

Red Rover was an early innovator in the social networking space who provided a custom closed platform for universities, with a mission of connecting like-minded college students and making the college years on campus—particularly the
first ones—less lonely.

The Restart Project is a small nonprofit organization based in the UK who brings communities together to repair consumer items—particularly electronics—that might otherwise end up in landfill. Repair happens through live events, but they wanted a members-only platform (built on Discourse) for organizers and expert "fixers" to communicate and upload repair data, which provided a number of benefits, including helping the organization to continue to secure funding.

Click the image or arrows below to browse through work samples.

Downloadable + Online Samples

NetSquared Design specification

Showing final design specification for development. The full color mocks were created by a visual designer whom I hired and directed.

Red Rover redesign

Showing "before" and "after" my design improvements.

NetSquared Video Tutorial

Local Challenge 101: So You Want to Run a Challenge! video I directed and produced.

The Restart Project user research

User study of Restarters community and their needs for an online platform.

NetSquared/Donor impact dashboard

Wireframes I created.

Restart Project UI designs

In annotated wireframe format.

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