A UX research project partnered with Detroit Zoo to design a nimble, streamlined volunteer training process
Team project of Design Clinic partnered with Detroit Zoo
I planned, drafted and conducted interviews and surveys, documented meetings, created and delivered final presentation
Winter 2018 (3 months)
Stakeholder interviews, survey design, user journey mapping, system map, comparative analysis
Design clinic is a student-led consulting agency of the University of Michigan School of Information. In the course of 3 months, my team, a group of 5 UX students, worked with the volunteer management of Detroit Zoo, having more than 1000 active volunteers throughout a year, to design a more nimble, streamlined flow for volunteer trainings.
Before jumping into interviewing users, we started with understands our client’s needs, what were their frustrations that led to this project and what were their expectations. This helped us to get the context about the current problem space that facilitated our design of coming research.
Combining qualitative and quantitative research methods, we tried to avoid the bias of leaning from a single perspective and empathize with the diverse group of volunteers.
zoo comparative studies
survey resopnses from Detroit Zoo
survey responses from Toledo Zoo
We interviewed 10 current volunteers to get detailed, first-person narratives of volunteers work, their life and emotion. We also interviewed zoo staff to understand their frustrations of managing the large volunteer group with limited human resources. We created a system map based on the interview results. We found out that the process was largely paper-based and there were gaps between each stage of the training process.
On top of learning from Detroit zoo, our client, we also contacted other zoos across the United States to understand their volunteer training process. Most zoos still retain the in-person training despite their large volunteer base, and support the process with digital products. We also got product information they used for trainings.
We synthesized our interview findings in affinity diagram and labelled issues for improvement with insights from surveys and comparative analysis. We consolidated and divided our findings by stakeholders, volunteer and zoo staff.
Schedule Conflict of Training Times
Refreshers that can be carried around
Lack of Regular Updates
We divided what effective, efficient and enjoyable mean for volunteers and zoo staff respectively to guide our product research.
Centralized way to evaluate learning outcomes of volunteers
Streamline the process and effort of managing volunteer onboarding
Nimble process without compensating volunteers’ willingness to participate
We contacted retailers of our targeted learning management services after preliminary study and set up calls to understand product potentials. We did a competitive analysis of 6 products and finalize our final recommendation to be NearPod based on price, privacy and usability concerns.