Improving the experience of animal cause activists

How we created a digital activism tool capable of increasing and retaining the engagement of activists.

The challenge


0.1 Immersion

Given the challenge, we started our process of researching and understanding the problem.

Quantitative research

We carried out an exploratory quantitative research, whose objective was to better understand the public of the animal cause and its behaviors. It was carried out through online questionnaires that were run mainly among people within the universe of animal cause. We got 155 responses. The margin of error is 7% and the confidence is 90%.

Qualitative research

The qualitative research was carried out through individual interviews with members of Animal Equality’s volunteer program and animal cause activists. 5 activists of the cause and 3 volunteers from the Animal Protectors (volunteer program) were interviewed. We seek to understand mainly the behaviors and the main differences and feelings involving online and physical activism.

Quotes clustering board

After quotes like:

  • “In addition to signing petitions and sharing on Instagram…, but these things are not palpable, you know. So when you can do, experience, have that adrenaline rush, then it seems that you really are part of the change”
  • “On the street you feel like you are part of the change. You can literally touch the change”
  • “What can I contribute quickly and effectively? I think that is what most people want”
  • “I think that if they had things like that, more within my reach, I would do more”;

We come to our main insight:

Desk Research highlights


After collecting external and internal data and researching activists for the cause, we built our personas.

User journey as-is

With the personas in mind and mainly, from the interviews with activists, we mapped the main points of contact that exist or should exist between the user and Animal Equality.

Problem redefinition

When building a user journey on the current Animal Equality scenario, a gap was identified at the moment of enrollment in the volunteer program. At this stage, the user, who felt excited, soon loses engagement due to lack of movement within the program. Given this, we understand that it was necessary to focus on this problem of engagement and lack of digital activism of current users, so that, when there are new subscribers, they keep their engagement and activity together with the old ones. In this context, we started to prioritize the following challenge:

0.2 Ideation


In view of our challenge, we decided to create a digital activism tool, which generates integration, engagement and information for users. This tool promises to be a

Hub that centralizes volunteers from the organization, information on animal causes and Animal Equality, and facilitates digital activism.

Through this solution, we intend to solve the problem of engagement of Animal Protectors, bring more emotions to digital activism and reach and convert people engaged with the cause who are not yet enrolled in the program.

Empathy maps

From the solution outline created, we started to deepen our perception of personas and built the maps of empathy.


Although we had two personas at the beginning of the project, from that point on in the process we decided that it was better to focus our digital solution on one. We know that they have their differences but we decided to focus on the current user of the Animal Equality Volunteer Program. In this context, based on our as-is user journey, we build usage scenarios for our application.

Micro-journey of the user (to-be)

From these scenarios, we mapped a microjourney focused on the application, so that we could see the pains and opportunities related to our user.

0.3 Prototyping


  • Greenpeace APP (focus on profile and petitions session)
  • Linkedin APP (focus on news feed and events)
  • Duolinguo APP (focus on medals and gamification system)

Product view

To consolidate our product vision, keeping everyone involved in the production of it aligned, we map some certainties about the application with the tool IT IS/IT ISN'T/IT DOES/IT DOESN'T

From that, we had more concrete product definitions and based on them, together with the deepening of the personas, we were able to map the features that our APP would have.

Then, with our mapped functionalities, we built a prioritization diagram based on the user’s amability, financial viability and technical capacity to build these functions.

With this diagram then, we were able to define our MVP (minimum viable product) and start building.

Flowcharts and Wireframes

With an understanding of the functions that should be built, we started the construction by mapping the information hierarchy of the application.

Then, we create low-fidelity wireframes and organize them in a flowchart.

From that, we build high-fidelity wireframes.

Ranking and gamification strategy

In view of the insight mentioned before, from qualitative interviews and revisited below:

We created a point counting system with badges to make the individual results of each protector tangible. As the user completes tasks such as signing petitions, they will be automatically counted in their respective emblem. The user can also see in his profile, data on the frequency and intensity of his online actions, thus being able to feel and visualize how much he is participating.

Style Guide

In this stage, we made color, typography, icons and buttons decisions to consolidate and unify the aesthetic universe of the application according to the Animal Equality brand guidelines.

  • Colors

We made use of the brand’s colors, to reinforce the identity among users. Together, we added gray scale to compose the layout and assist in usability.

  • Typography

We chose the Lato font because it is one of Animal Equality’s fonts and its easy readability and serious and modern feeling it conveys. In this sense, we established sizes of header, title, paragraph and description.

  • Iconography

When choosing icons, we prioritize those in outline in order to preserve the brand identity.

  • Buttons, selectors and forms

We created the buttons from the palettes of colors and typography already defined and we apply radio to transmit modernity and lightness. For forms, we chose to use simple and modern text boxes, with only the line for filling in.

High fidelity prototype

After all the structuring and definitions mentioned above, we created our prototype.

0.4 Next steps

After creating the MVP, our application will undergo usability tests built to understand if the interface is designed in the best way.

First, we’ll apply the first click test. From it, we will be able to validate if the hierarchy of content and visual elements are easy to be found by the user and if the taxonomy of buttons, links and content are clear. In this way, we will be able to see whether or not people are able to intuitively find what they are looking for and understand the behavioral part of the user.

Then, we will apply a small quantitative questionnaire, with questions on a linear scale from 1 to 5, to understand with the user judge the interface. We will address issues of ease of use and user comfort.

All tests will be carried out with the target audience of the application, that is, activists of Animal Protectors.

0.5 Conclusion

As stated earlier, our initial objective was to increase the digital volunteer base of Animal Equality Brasil.

Throughout the project, which lasted 8 weeks, we understand that the organization has a solid and engaged user base in its networks, but fails to maintain the engagement of those already enrolled in the volunteer program. With that in mind, we redefined our goal to increase and retain engagement with the volunteer program.

We then created a digital activism APP that accompanies the user since their enrollment in the volunteer program, maintains their engagement and integrates it with other volunteers.

With this APP we hope to not only increase Animal Equality’s digital activism but also demonstrate how an application can facilitate and increase digital activism in general.

Team: Jade Goes, Pedro Brito and Thiago Rodrigues.

Special thanks to Giovanni Marangoni, Verônica Marques and Camilla Rossete for the support along the project.

Click here to see more of my work

User Interface Designer

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