Many of NeonCRM's nonprofit clients have robust volunteer initiatives, but the volunteer-tracking component of our product was going unused. Client feedback to our training and support teams revealed the tool was complicated to set up and lacked necessary functionality. My task was to reduce abandonment of this feature by researching missing necessities and reinventing the work flow to accommodate typical use. A handful of clients were still attempting to use the existing features, so I had the additional challenge of maintaining backwards compatibility for their user data.
I interviewed clients and colleagues about needed functionality and points of confusion. I diagrammed the current work flow, exposing data silos that were causing our clients to make setup mistakes. When I compared our structure to other volunteer programs in a competitive analysis, I found that while the components we offered were common, they were not connected well, requiring the same information to be entered in multiple places.
With this in mind, I proposed rearranging the data structure into simpler task flows that would still support migration of our current clients' data. I combined data types that most clients had already assumed were connected and I created pragmatic work flows for tasks done by CRM administrators and their volunteers. Administrators could now post positions that volunteers could then apply for, then either party could record hours spent on the project.
Once I had the new tasks and workflows decided, I used Balsamiq to sketch out wireframes for the new workflows, making sure to account for all of the new functionality.
I tested iterations of the wireframes by making paper prototypes and asking my colleagues to perform common tasks. Anything that caused confusion went back to the drawing board until it was clear.
Adoption of this remodeled feature has been high. Compared with last year, monthly use of our Volunteer Projects page increased by 160% for administrators and by 510% for their volunteers. Importantly, the clients who were struggling through the module before had a seamless transition into my new setup. The new system adapted their old data to work in a much more pragmatic and understandable way. What used to be an ignored feature has become an asset to our software.