Improve user experience to search for non-profits and complete donations.

My Role:

UX Research, UX Design


4 weeks


Sketch, Invision


Americans gave 410 billion dollars in 2017.​

  • On average, donors donated to 4.5 different non-profits 

  • 54% of donors worldwide prefers to donate online

  • 25% of donors completing their donations on mobile devices  (read more here)

According to a survey conducted by, 61% of Americans admit to receiving unwanted gifts from just Christmas holidays - resulting in at least $15.2 billion wasted. 

What if in lieu of purchasing an unwanted material gift,

people donate to non-profits?

inLieu in a mobile app platform that allows users to donate to 1.6 million different non-profits. They are on a mission to change the way people gift and hoping to divert the unwanted gifts into donations to non-profits. 

The Challenge

The goal of the project is to provide a clear and streamlined donation experience for inLieu users, where they can find credible and relevant information regarding the non-profits, and have a transparent payment process. 

User Research

I interviewed 8 users who has experience donating to non-profits asking the following questions:

What are the users’ current donation habits?

How do the users learn about non-profits?

What do the users consider when donating?

What are the users’ past donation experiences like?


"I consider current events and the impact of my donation when choosing where to give."


"If I can't find important information about the org or if the payment page looks sketchy, I usually won't trust the site to donate."


 "I need to know what I’m donating to, have different payment options, and be able to find my payment receipts." 


The persona is a representation of a typical inLieu user. Let's take a look at Lisa's behaviors, pain points, and priorities. 

Lisa donates to several non-profit organizations and is looking for a better way to do so. She also would like to get more of her friends to get involved, but she is not sure how to do so.

“If I have to spend too much time figuring out how to donate, I would just pick another non-profit.”

lisa inlieu.png

31 Years Old​ | Consultant in NYC



Donate to trustworthy non-profits

Be informed with non-profit updates

Keep track of donation history for personal and tax purposes


Easily access key information about a non-profit 

User-friendly interface and payment process

Donation history and tax receipts


Hard to keep track of donations on different platforms

Untrustworthy sites and payment processes discourages her from donating

Usability Test

To gain a better understanding on the usability of the app, I observed 3 users complete various tasks on the app and identifies a few problem areas

Process Flow

Currently users have to go through 4+ clicks in the app before they can filter and search for non-profits to donate to. They do not have the option to explore the non-profits before deciding on who they want to dedicate the donation to. 

inlieu flow 1.png

Unclear CTA

The top and the bottom of the nonprofit box leads users to different screens.


Top half: 

Nonprofit donation page.

Can access donation info page under "nonprofit".


Bottom half:

Nonprofit info page.

No option to go to donation page directly on info page.

Visual Design and Information Architecture

Text were cut off, making it difficult for users to understand the context. Relevant information were separated on the payment screen, so users have to scroll up and down to confirm the charges. Sentences are not aligned. 

IMG_6817 2.PNG

Nonprofit Categories

  • Text aligned left - cutting off words in the middle

  • Only 1 option selection is allowed to filter down nonprofits

Nonprofit Info Page

  • Nonprofit description is cut off when exceeding a certain word count

  • Text not aligned 

  • No CTA to donate from this page 



Donation Page

  • "Personalize Your Gift" is an option for users to leave a message for the recipient along with the donation, but it's located on the bottom of the page

  • Payment information are not group together, making it difficult for users to know how much of their money is going to fees, how much they're getting charged, etc

  • Grey section line under each section title creates confusion on where information should be inputted

Lisa's user journey

With insights gathered from user interview and usability testing, let's take a look at Lisa's journey using inLieu.


  • Lisa really likes the social feed on inLieu where she gets to see what other non-profits others are donating to

  • It takes 4+ clicks for Lisa to be able to start searching for non-profits

  • Lisa clicked on a non-profit hoping to read more about their description, but the app took Lisa directly to the payment page 

  • Lisa decided on a non-profit she wants to donate to, and she wants to cover process fee, but she couldn't tell how much of her money is going to fees and how much she is going to be charged

Ideation and Design

I focused on creating a seamless experience for users to easily search for nonprofits and donate to them. 

redesign screen 1 search.png

I decided to add a tab for users to have easy access to search and filter nonprofits

Search bar allows users to type in keyword. Filter allows users to narrow down their search results (see next screen)

Option to select a cause to be taken directly to filtered search results

redesign screen 2 filter.png

Each cause option has an icon associated with it. (icons in wireframe for reference only). User can select more than 1 causes to narrow the search

redesign screen 3 results.png

Filter icon shows how many filters are applied in the green bubble

Selected causes are also displayed as buttons where users can delete the filter to update search result

Option to sort by relevance or by alphabetical order

Search results are displayed vertically as a list (instead of horizontal scroll) to increase the number to search results displayed on the screen

redesign screen 4 profile.png

Option to add nonprofit as a favorite directly on the page​

Nonprofit description where users can click on "see more" to read more if paragraph exceeds display word count

Added nonprofit cause category for users to be able to explore other nonprofits within the same cause​

CTA to direct users to donation page

redesign screen 5 payment.png

Moved nonprofit and option to "donate as anonymous" to top of page 

Select who to donate on behalf of on payment screen and text box to add personalized message​

Donation amount selection, fee options, cost breakdown grouped together for users to get transparency on the amount they'll be charged

Added options to pay with card, Apple pay, gift card

Grouped relevant information together and added lines between each section to create clear visual break. Modified font size and colors to create a more modern and clean interface

redesign screen 6 finish.png

A reminder on where to find payment confirmation is shown along with a thank you message​

Social sharing with a click of a button

Next Steps & Takeaway

Next Steps

For next steps, I would conduct additional usability testing on the new design and explore other ways to make the search home page more personalized and interactive. 


I love the mission of inLieu to divert some of the consumerism to creating more impactful changes. For this project, I looked for areas that I can redesign that could make the most impact within the time limitations. Through user interviews and usability testings, I truly got to identify users' pain points and narrow the scope of the project. I want to thank Liz Kentor for giving me the opportunity to work on this exciting project. I've gotten a lot of insights on how a beginning stage start-up operates.
As I wrap this project experience up, I hope to continue to design mission-driven products to help human move towards conscious and impactful decision making.