Founded in Austin, Texas, Rainforest Partnership aims to improve the economic freedom of rainforest communities in Ecuador and Peru, while educating the United States about how the rainforest protects the climate.
It was necessary for the organization to use a brand new platform to promote the unique approach they take to their cause and to publish the projects they have undertaken in each ecosystem. Because of poor information architecture and inconsistent styling, the former website did not succeed at that.
When I joined the team, I recommended a complete overhaul of the website, bringing the stakeholders as well collaborators and partners of the organization together and align their needs and requirements.
I began the project by interviewing the organization's stakeholders. I scheduled 45-minute interviews with the organization's CEO, CSO, marketing, branding, and content managers to discover what expectations and requirements they have from the new solution.
The two insights that stood out were the CSO's desire that the website conveys a calm and magical feeling, and one of our board members' suggestion to look at other industries. Rainforest Partnership is one of the few NGOs that accepts cryptocurrency donations.
“I would like for the website to capture the
calming energy of the rainforest”
Interviewing stakeholders was only half of the first step. We cannot make informed decisions without talking to our users. The organization's website attracts visitors who are passionate about rainforest conservation and interested in the organization's efforts. There was visible confusion regarding not only where
they were making strides, but also about how to communicate the integrated approach that makes this organization so effective. The users of the site appreciated the lack of cookie-cutter language and it was expected that the organization would break the mold when it comes to preserving the rainforest.
Many of the existing pages served no purpose. We began by defining the goal of the site and the requirements of the business. Our team then spent time collecting each page and removing unnecessary content from the existing site.
Following this, I reorganized the content into a minimal number of pages that makes it much easier for users to navigate and complete the task flow. With the help of a card sorting exercise and low-fidelity sketches, I was able to create the first iteration of the new platform.
It was time to show stakeholders the progress of the new content and information architecture before moving to high-fidelity production and development. Together with the team, I developed a design system, iconography, and images for the site.
The most important objective of the homepage was to display where Rainforest Partnership's projects take place. I created an interactive map that takes the user to the projects page, where the many Rainforest partnerships are listed by ecosystem.
I was also in charge of developing the website and setting up the content management system. This website is accessible, fully responsive, and SEO-friendly.
With the website launched, Rainforest Partnership received more offers for collaboration from educational institutions, consulting firms providing pro bono services, and potential donors. Our stakeholders liked the fact that the NGO site is not imitating any other similar organization
site in this field and we chose to innovate instead of following the crowd. Rainforest Partnership has definitely gotten an increase in attention and interest from our users. Creating your own path will help you to stand out from the crowd. I learned that lesson from this experience.
Mihnea is a great UX/UI and website designer who always prioritizes functionality and quality . I was searching for a designer to help our non-profit completely reimagine our old website and was impressed by Mihnea’s portfolio and attention to detail. Mihnea interviewed important stakeholders from all levels of our organizations, along with donors and other external stakeholders, to inform him of the best way to approach this huge project. He is quick when responding to requests for changes and understands difficult concepts easily. We have received continuous positive feedback about our new website which can be attributed to his expertise. I highly recommend Mihnea for any organization looking for someone who is patient, a team player, and a true designer at heart.