Cubby, a mutual aid fund, exchanges personalized "doodles" (digital art pieces of your own photos) for monetary donations, which are subsequently redistributed to BIPOC individuals and grassroots efforts seeking mutual aid.
cubbyproject.co is the mobile website for ordering "doodles" and gaining important information about the organization. note: cubbyproject.co's website was deactivated when Cubby closed orders in early 2022.
My role was designing our mobile website's user experience and interface. I shared research and analysis responsibilities with my co-founding team members, Jeanette Andrews and Ahana Ganguly.
Jeanette is a software engineer and data scientist who developed our website and whom I collaborated with to decided our most viable product. Ahana is a writer who served as our content designer/user experience writer.
All three of us held executive leadership over the organization and served as Cubby artists, providing us with first-hand knowledge of Cubby's operations and shareholders.
Cubby was born on social media. Thriving on social media to market, communicate, and provide relevant resources to order and learn more, we eventually found that we needed a more flexible platform as our customer base quickly grew.
By the second month of operating Cubby's fund, we’d seen such a rapid increase in weekly orders that it became clear that change was necessary. The increase in traffic came with an increase in production, troubleshooting, and customer support, making it challenging for us to run our fund smoothly and satisfying our shareholders.
Meeting these goals was vital in ensuring we continuously raised enough funds to fulfill the organization's main service. Satisfying customers (donors) was critical to maintaining order quantity and a predictable stream of incoming funds.
We were fortunate at this stage because we’d developed relationships with all of our reoccurring donors, directly communicated with dozens of potential ones, and had access to Instagram’s insights for business pages to see what resources we were currently offering were being viewed, utilized, and ignored. We also received demographics information regarding gender, age, and location.
Alongside real-life data, we had ideas of who we wanted to target:
From all commentary received, we discovered 3 insights:
We used Instagram features such as the bio, highlights, and posts to share important information. Additionally, our order form where we ask where donors found us, we understood that we were dependent on inbound marketing through social media.
However, we discovered in conversations with followers that having a one-stop-shop for all information and share-ability outside of social media was critical in being able to reach a wider set of donors. For example, sending the order form to a parent who doesn't use Instagram.
We knew we wanted a solution that didn't take away from how Instagram-based potential donors (friends who saw a friend's post about their own doodle, someone who randomly found our account) interacted with us, but needed a resource that could be more widely shared by word-of-mouth, text, email, other social media, etc.
People could share our order form (a Google Form) with friends and family, but that didn't allow the receiver to know much information about Cubby.
Though we provided multiple places for people to find information about how to order, how we work, how to pay, etc., we still received many direct messages asking us a variety of questions.
At this point, many of these challenges arose because we didn’t have a good place to share all essential information.
How do we encourage complete orders and high donations through transparency and a delightful ecommerce experience?
We were able to design a website that provided valuable information for both donors and fund recipients (current or potential) about how we work.
We used a Linktree for a short amount of time, but were able to easily develop a site with more flexibility and features. We also conducted a “competitive analysis” on similar efforts and noticed inefficiencies in their use of “link in bio” or “highlights” to provide clear information and transparency, such as a lack of information or a hard-to-navigate set of screenshots to share lots of information.
Because most potential donors were social media users, I designed a mobile site that would be accessed from the Instagram profile's bio section. This would serve to provide the following key features:
Our Instagram insights provided us with more detailed information about our followers, such as age, gender, location. This influenced us mostly in designing for the 23-30 year age group in mind.
Instead of developing or integrating in-page features for everything, we relied on existing tools so that we could focus on the most necessary feature of our website that improved users' experience in order to gain orders. This also ensured that migrating to a website would be simple and easy for return donors. These tools also provided our team with efficient ways to streamline our operations.
Overtime, we expanded to offer more resources and pages. The simplistic navigation allowed us to continuously add any necessary pages and design each to their individual uses while sticking to a small design system.
Though we didn't have the capabilities to conduct formal user testing, we did see that our main problem: direct messages asking for ordering support + incomplete orders, did disappear almost entirely.
Additionally, we received positive feedback from users about the changes we'd made in response to their pain points thanking us for such changes and resources.
As Cubby saw multiple phases in providing space to order a doodle, the integration of this mobile website on its social media profile improved donation averages: from $18 per doodle to $38, and weekly orders stayed consistent and predictable.
The impact of this over the next 7 months raised $21,185 which was redistributed to 40+ BIPoC individuals seeking funds for tuition, housing, healthcare, education, and career prep in sets between $500 and $2,000.