Redesigning the Action Center

A thread to discuss improving our Micro-volunteering area to increase efficiency, engagement and enjoyment.

We’re just about to rebrand the site, as we’ve built it to unite the many other groups working towards the same direction as us, and struggling to engage their community since social media reduced our ability to interact and for ideas to emerge from a crowd and spark a following.

Links to explore:

Action Center:
a pretty rough, but functional Alpha version, of a space for users to find and create projects and see all the tools available.

Documentation how to suggest changes: Getting Started - UX/UI Design/Feature Decision Making

Main website:

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My initial thoughts are implementing a version of Scrum.

In Scrum i’m a big fan of the metric collections, team led development, and user influenced agile design. I think it would greatly speed up creation of working and usable projects.

For example, our Brighter Tomorrow Map to help the worlds homeless through increasing community connection, has taken us three years of building and is only just now ready to begin helping (and definitely needs heavy refinement based on user feedback and behavioural modelling).

It doesn’t sound like you have teams. Just random individuals . That is a large part of our problem, and why a pure Scrum solution wouldn’t work. Rather something inspired by Scrum principles.

complex problem solving space That’s exactly what we are. A space for people to suggest, design and build projects to solve societies many issues in a positive way, and bring more well-being into the world.

We do have some stable people, but can’t rely on anyone too much because life happens. We are also planning to Tokenise, as an effort to increase the amount of stable members in teams. eta: 6 months, and at minimum it will be a very cool internet points system. Visualisation of project progress and overall energy/efficiency in building projects and the ecosystem as a whole, i expect would increase engagement, fun and output greatly.

My thoughts on how to try and implement Scrum would be to limit teams to 9 for a set period - perhaps each 2 weeks. Allowing them to post simple dogsbody tasks to the wider community. Team members would sign up each period with priority given to whoever is able to schedule the most time to work on it - with last months team members give a …x3 boost, and past members in general a x2 boost, to balance experience and stability with energy and input

(all top of my head ideas. totally open to better solutions)

Actually, getting put into a team of 9 every two weeks sounds like fun. Keeps things interesting. Also helps to expose everyone to everyone.

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@AlecAaron I’m wavering on the idea. 9 members who are proactive to keep their place on each project, is direct empassioned energy.

The alternative is micro volunteering where 100 people can join one project and contribute little tasks when they can

One creates active and committed teams, the other involves a wider participation, as and when it suits

Would it be possible to maybe do both? Have a team to lead an open effort?

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That’s a pretty good idea. Then there would be a core team to direct, and anyone could join in to support it

Exactly! I would imagine it would be a sort of panel that looks over a specific problem / feature / product. This team would work together to sort out issues, prioritize work, and all that jazz. Through a community, the team would reach out and interact with volunteers with assignments, reviews and feedback, and work with the community to reach a decent understanding of what direction to take.


Another solution I thought of could be having open enrollment for teams? Something similar to that idea could also help would be open enrollment for efforts or projects?

It would go something like:

A new effort or project proposed to community
Open enrollment for teams
Whatever selection process or FC/FS
Project starts
Teams last as long as needed (4-6 weeks?)
Project wrap up.

I know this probably isn’t the best solution. What ideas do y’all have?

it sounds ideal. it would be a team of 9 responsible for creating and managing the tasks in a Trello board for the Microvolunteering Hub, with a Definition of Done worked out and post completion plan for the project (does it die, does it become independent and so should become self-supporting, etc).

The team should be flexible as often people have huge ideas when it comes to volunteering, but their capacity to give time and energy is far lower than what they imagine they want to give. So each… 2 weeks, the team would be re-formed from the most active people completing missions in the micro-volunteering hub.

I can see that system working well and allowing the creation of Burn Down/Up charts and metrics to help people visualize projects stat, energy and completion dates. The question is how to build it. Perhaps a React layer with Trello plugins?

If you’re getting excited about that side of the project you are welcome to take the lead. I’m tutoring some young people in creating social impact projects right now. They could test a few ideas out.

It would be cool, but my focus is in visual / ui design. I’m more comfortable with that area since it’s more of my background, but I’m happy to help with organizational structure if you need an extra voice in figuring it out.

Sorry @AlecAaron, i replied to this a few days ago but it deleted my message.

I meant whether you’d prefer to work with the team, or focus on the UI design of the Action Center. I think we’ve got a pretty strong plan once it’s combined with visual representations of progress and rate/projected completion date, but we should definitely get some feedback from project/systems managers if you want to tackle this path now.

I’ve got 4 groups of young adults (16-21) lined up to test run our Action Center starting on the 13th July, so we can gather feedback from them, or try out more than one design.

I get what you’re saying. If it’s cool, I’ll follow through and work on redesigning the Action Center, and when the team comes up with content and a plan (or when it’s finalized. I know they’re hammering away at that) I’d love to jump in with that.

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Sounds ideal, do you have a 1st step in mind?

I’ll be online only sporadically the next few days. I’m in Malta, we’ve got our 1st stand at a blockchain event :slightly_smiling_face:

…then I imagine that involves a lot of standing around with my phone when it’s quiet so maybe I’ll be online a lot.

@danyalamriben I looked through those Kanban board solutions. It would be much better to bring it in-house, although it looks like they currently aren’t useable on mobile devices.

I posted in the Web Dev thread to get opinions on how much work it would be to fix that, and also in the meta discourse thread :slight_smile:

These are the key dates the young people will be testing our Action Center to build positive social action projects in their local community (London).

They will be able to give feedback, although it needs to be simple and easy for them. Something like a 5 min questionnaire, or monitoring their interaction with the site from our end


do you have the messages or fliers saved that you used to recruit these participants?

We need to understand the context of the test that youre talking about. Like, how did you find these “young people” and what specifically have we told them?

Pasting the text/copy used to recruit would probably answer the questions I have about “what does initial story telling visit even mean?” etc.

We cant really design any tests that would be appropriate without understanding those details first. Is it possible we could audio record them using the platform? Is it possible to have a moderator? Etc

usability testing:

Saturday July 13th 2-4 pm “initial story telling visit”
Friday July 19th 3-4 “project sign off”
Friday July 26th 11-4 “volunteer day

  • How many people will be in a group for each “wave”?

  • we have 3 opportunities to collect data per wave. The nature of the test/research done should fit with the time constraints, obviously the distance (run test remotely, try to secure on site moderator) and also the type of work being done in each session (perhaps they use the actual platform more in session two vs session one). With that being said, we need to pin down what exactly will take place during each type of session.

    • first session: 2 hr
    • second session: 1 hr
    • third session: 5 hrs
  • define

    • “initial story telling visit”
    • “project sign off”
    • “volunteer day”
  • UX team can then take this information and set out to find the best data collection strategies to really maximize this opportunity. We will need:

    • choose data collection goals and scope
    • understand how many people will be tested each time
    • come up with a script for any moderation being done
    • if recording, decide who could be onsite to set up equipment
    • gain permission for any data collection
    • reach out to participants and ask if they would be willing to communicate about their experiences with us and explain why, and how. (Should we request them to give feedback via messaging? Email? Phone call? Etc)
  • I think we can conduct a diary study throughout the wave of testing, in addition to any shorter research we choose to conduct.

Thoughts? @NJUX @AlecAaron

@AndyatFocallocal we will also need to address how the research insights will then translate into changes that the developers would need to implement. Who do we hand our work off to, and how do we arrange for that to go smoothly?

I brought them in to test the Action Center, but they came with heavy requirements from the course they are doing. Most of their interaction with the site will be in their own time between those periods and it would be best accessed either on our end (monitoring their interactions with it), or a short questionnaire.

Their main focus will be on creating a social project for their qualification, not on testing our site. Some should be available afterwards, we can send them a questionnaire through our forum.

I don’t think we can have a moderator there. I mean, we can but i see that distracting them and we’d need to find someone in London - or send guidelines to their teacher. Probably more effort than it’s worth. My suggestion is to gleam as much as possible from it without being too intrusive, and we set up a more in depth testing for the other needs we have

We could challenge a group to set up activities on the Gatherings Map, and involve their friends, so we’d get one point of reference on that side too.

What you planned out was excellent @danyalamriben. I don’t think these groups will be right for that process though as they are focusing primarily on creating a social impact project, and a lot of their engagement will be in their classroom time between those dates.

It would be better to find a group specifically for that level of focused testing

As a side note, we do have Recruitment ads for all our teams in the Recruitment team in the Action Center, although they all need to be updated as they are around 2yrs behind where we are at now. I don’t think those are the ads you are talking about though

In person i’m not too sure where to find a focused group to work through that with, without paying them (which i can’t afford) as i’m not settled here yet. Maybe a cafe in my last city might offer people a free meal if they help test our platform. I can ask.

If we can do it online then i can tag some users in our group and see if they reengage. Perhaps we can all bring in friends and family.