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Gold - UX - Service & Utilities
Gold - UX - Best User Interface/ Experience
Silver - UI - Non-Profit

Illuminate Lives, Illuminate Your Own

Project Background


LightUp is a visionary donation app that resonates with the ethos of socially conscious donors. The app co-creates a platform where trust and engagement seamlessly unite. "Light Up" not only addresses the challenges faced by NPOs but also elevates the donor experience, fostering continuous engagement. The app offers a rewarding journey that lights up both the lives of recipients and donors alike.

Project information

  • Platform: Mobile App

  • Status: 0 to 1 

  • Duration: Four weeks (11/15/2023 - 12/6/2023)

My Role

Lead UX designer

The Context

Socially conscious youths desire direct philanthropic involvement but face skepticism about donation destinations, lacking transparent and engaging avenues for meaningful donations. NPOs’ challenges include capturing and sustaining interest from donors, and hindering continuous actions; they must adapt to evolving donor expectations and foster long-term commitment

Business Problems

Client information

NALAM empowers vulnerable girls in South India through nutrition, security, shelter, healthcare, education, and skills training. Their volunteer-powered organization provides care and opportunities to orphaned, destitute, and half-orphan girls, aiming to uplift them out of poverty. They believe educated, empowered girls can transform their lives and break cycles of hardship.


Orphan Indian girls NALAM is sponsoring


Completed projects paid in 2022 and late 2019


Funds NALAM needs to still collect in 2022 and early 2023

Business problems

During a conference meeting with NALAM founders, we gained insights into the organization's challenges, including the manual and offline nature of their donation collection process. The discussion highlighted their mission and underscored the need for a digital solution to enhance efficiency and broaden donor engagement.

  • Low digital engagement for donations

    • The current strategy for promoting donation projects relies heavily on local offline touchpoints and word-of-mouth, which proves inefficient. While the organization has a website, digital engagement and actual conversation (donation) are notably low.

  • Hard to retain young donors

    • We uncovered previous efforts to engage young professionals through in-company events, such as leveraging Google Giving Week to reach Google employees, predominantly young professionals.

    • Although initial responses were positive, with one-time donations made by socially conscious individuals, feedback revealed a reluctance to make recurring donations due to a lack of feedback on the impact of their contributions and confidence in the transformative outcomes.

  • Inefficient project management

    • We identified a significant challenge centered around managing numerous projects and girls in need with manual processes like Google Forms, emails, and paper reports proving challenging, necessitating a digital solution for real-time project tracking and updates to better engage donors.

User Research

User types

Main Users

Young donors who seek trustworthy and rewarding ways to make a social impact. Lacking transparent and engaging avenues for meaningful donations leads to disconnection from the causes they care about. The challenge to measure the tangible impact of their contribution affects their overall satisfaction. Socially conscious youths desire direct philanthropic involvement but face skepticism about donation destinations.


Secondary Users

NPOs rely on donor engagement. Their challenges include capturing and sustaining donors' interest and hindering continuous actions. Traditional methods struggle to resonate with a digitally-driven audience. NPOs must adapt to evolving donor expectations and foster long-term commitment.

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User problems & Design principles

In-depth user research revealed a few key user needs to solve major pain points. Reflection of Research Results in the digital Solution involves:

  • Transparency and Trust

    • ​Learn and support projects with full details, inducing cost, urgency

  • Impact witness and confidence boost

    • Witness tangible effects of contribution through updates and form a positive cycle

  • Emotional bonding

    • Experience a direct, emotional connection with an interactive lightning experience ✨

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User Journey

Form a positive cycle

We want to present users a complete journey and encourage them to keep coming back for updates and more donations.

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"Orphan girls can easily get hurt by others because they need help."

Founder & Chairperson, NALAM (DE/US)

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Design Refinement

Respect beneficiaries' privacy

As the project was developed, I found that balancing orphan privacy with donor engagement became a challenge. On one hand, we need to restrict direct communication between donors and orphans to prevent potential disturbances. On the other hand, we still want the donors to develop personal connections and feel a sense of achievement for donating. Therefore we need to carefully determine the level of communication between donors and beneficiaries.

As a result, we decided to allow donors to leave an optional message to the beneficiary. NALAM employees would have the chance to send updates on behalf of the beneficiary with letters, voicemails, etc.

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Respect beneficiaries' human dignity

A key challenge in designing this project, centered around human dignity, includes carefully balancing the app's functionality to avoid gamification in donor choices, opting out of competitive donation displays and list views of beneficiaries, and deliberately excluding search or filter functions to honor and respect the individuality and stories of the girls seeking assistance.

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Widgets & More

Take one step further

To enhance donor engagement, we've introduced a smartphone widget that provides real-time updates and donation status on the home screen.

Additionally, we've developed a compatible watch face for smartwatches, allowing users to stay informed and connected to the impact of their contributions effortlessly, even on the move. This cross-device integration ensures constant connectivity and reinforces the tangible impact of their support.

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Outcome & Next Step


  • The project is approved and under development

  • Received 3 awards from the London Design Awards


Gold - UX - Service & Utilities


Gold - UX - Best User Interface/ Experience


Silver - UI - Non-Profit

Next step

In the next five years, we see 'Light Up' evolving into a leader in design and social impact. Our multidisciplinary team, skilled in UX/UI, software development, and digital-physical interactions, aims to extend the app's reach by establishing a physical presence. We're focused on enhancing user engagement and expanding our partnerships with NPOs and corporate sponsors, aligning with our revenue model. Our target is urban, tech-savvy areas, aiming to increase donation activity and boost user satisfaction. We're committed to making 'Light Up' a symbol of innovative, transparent philanthropy.

Reflecting on the project, given the opportunity to do it again, I would focus on exploring the community perspective and improving the onboarding experience. This would ensure that users are not only able to understand the platform but also become deeply engaged and hooked on the experience.

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