Covaid is a volunteer-requester platform built for Mutual-Aid organizations to streamline the matching and finding process during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Timeline
Ongoing - 6 months of current work
Discipline
Product Design
UI/UX
Information Architecture
For
Mutual Aid Organizations during the Covid Pandemic
With
Alice Cai
Neely Lee
Joseph Zhang

Covaid is a mutual aid platform that provides an intuitive request form to allow community members to easily seek help for support. These requests are then processed and matched to nearby volunteers who have signed up to support their community. The team currently consists of +15 active college students working across the nation contributing as social outreachers, developers, and product designers. Since launch, we have onboarded seven organizations and +2,800 volunteers.

As a designer on the team, I worked on refining the design system and interfaces of our platform while introducing new features and updates that are shipped off to our developers. Currently, it has a web platform with the iOS app still in development. Here is the link to the live web application of Covaid.


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01. Problem Space
02. Primary Interfaces
03. Reflection

Problem Space
Due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw that many mutual aid organizations were facing an overwhelming amounts of requests for support. Many of these organizations currently rely on the use of spreadsheets as a way to keep track and organize their volunteers and their current tasks. Three main problems arise from this current format.

Currently, the majority of organizations use and depend on spreadsheets like these to manually manage and keep track of their volunteers and tasks, which is quite inefficient (blurred for confidentiality purposes)

From this problem space, Covaid was created, a product built in response to the coronavirus pandemic that streamlines the process for both organizations and the people who are offering their time to volunteer. In order to allow our platform to reach nationwide audiences, we wanted to find a way to manage communication and help delegate tasks at a larger scale. Five primary interfaces were built around this goal.

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01. Request Creation
02. Organization Dashboard
03. Volunteer Dashboard
04. Resource page
05. Mobile App

Request Creation
To receive help from a volunteer, an individual needs to simply fill out a three-step form. They are also able to put in the zip code they are in and specify the areas of help they are looking for to help with a better matching process later on.

Organization Dashboard

01. Matching Volunteers
After the request is made, the organizations that have partnered with us will assign volunteers to requests by sending notifications to them via text or email. The process of finding and matching is streamlined as volunteers will be organized by their distance and specific help availability based on the person who made the help request. The first volunteer to respond to the notification will take on the task.

02. Checking Request Assignments
After the request is made, the organizations that have partnered with us will assign volunteers to requests by sending notifications to them via text or email. The process of finding and matching is streamlined as volunteers will be organized by their distance and specific help availability based on the person who made the help request. The first volunteer to respond to the notification will take on the task.

03. Managing the Organization
Another feature on the organization dashboard is the ability for Covaid to help manage the administrative details of the organization as well as sync the data with Excel. Since many organizations are likely to come from using Excel to organize their volunteers and requests, this feature will help alleviate the transitional friction organizations may face.

04. Managing the Volunteers
The organization portal allows quick management and viewing of the volunteers. There is also a map feature that allows us to see the locations of requesters as well as volunteers. When viewing volunteers, there are filtering and searching options that help us clearly find people with specific availabilities, resource offerings, and locations.

05. Volunteer Beacon
Lastly, we recently introduced the Beacon feature, which allows organizations to send mass notifications to a curated list of volunteers based on their needs.

Volunteer Sign-Up and Dashboard

01. Volunteer Sign-Up
Right on the landing page, volunteers can go through a quick process to sign-up with Covaid while also providing some detailed information on the resources they can offer and their time availabilities.

02. Checking Volunteer Requests
Whenever a request has been matched to a volunteer, this will appear on their personal dashboard. Here, they can view three different states of requests: new, active, and complete. This is also where volunteers can accept or complete requests.

03. Updating Volunteer Profile and Status
If a volunteer becomes unavailable, they have the option to ‘mark as inactive’ whenever they want to be opted out of the active volunteers list.

Resource Page
The resource page provides curated information regarding COVID-19 and appears in two areas: a link on the main navigation bar and after someone has just submitted a request. We recognize that we are not always available to provide immediate help, so we have this page that allows filtering of information based on city/zipcode as a way to find other potential ways to be helped.

Mobile App
The Covaid team is also currently building a mobile app specifically for volunteers. We recognize that accessibility to important information is not as readily available for these helpers, and that notification by email and text is also ineffective and often ignored.

Reflection and Moving Forward
Working on creating this platform, I was able to quickly see the immediate impact that design can bring to the world. Within just two months of launching our platform, we were able to onboard six organizations, +1800 volunteers, and complete +400 help requests. Seeing this has helped me better recognize how powerful good design can be in creating social good and change. As we move forward with our platform, we have a few areas of focus for our future next steps.

1. Obtain funding for future development
2. Develop future partnerships with other mutual aids and organizations
3. Incorporate more storytelling into the product as well as conduct deeper user research to understand features improvement and organizational and volunteer needs
4. Rebrand the overall Covaid platform to become more of a community aid as we are now starting to see more requests that are being made for non-Covid related reasons

Thank you for reading! 🌀🌀🌀

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