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Habitat for Humanity Canada

Design Research | Stakeholder Interviews|

Digital Strategy | UX Design Oversight


Habitat for Humanity Canada is a national nonprofit organization with local affiliate chapters across the country, dedicated to building affordable homes with the help of volunteers and homeowners.


The site is a complex ecosystem offering its target users a diverse number of ways to donate and participate, from donating used appliances to a local Restore to going on a build trip abroad through the Global Village program. In the spring of 2018, we began working with Habitat on a project to redesign & re-platform the national website.

User Research

I conducted 8 one-on-one interviews + usability testing sessions with participants who had donated to Habitat, volunteered on a Habitat build (either locally or abroad) or had purchased furniture/appliances/fixtures from a Restore.

Research Objectives

  1. To gain an understanding of why people volunteer their time and money to charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.

  2. Using the newly redesigned website, reveal how the national and affiliate Habitat websites can work holistically to support prospective volunteers and donors in completing key tasks.



  • Identified participant criteria

  • Wrote screener for recruitment

  • Wrote research brief & interview guide

  • Moderated in-person and remote interviews

User Research Synthesis

I went through the notes for each interview and used Milanote to begin pulling out findings from the research.


Key Findings

Volunteering is Considered More Meaningful than Donating

Participants who volunteered their personal time and labour/skills with Habitat liked the idea of physically contributing to something that would have a lasting footprint, ie. providing housing to families in need.

Volunteering Has a Natural Stopping Point

Participants no longer involved with an organization described their volunteer experience as a discrete period in their lives with a start and end point.

Recurring Donations are Personally Meaningful, while One-Off Donations are about Supporting Friends & Family

Participants make recurring donations to charities that have a personal significance to them. Single donations are more about sponsoring friends and family who were fundraising for their birthday, charity runs, bike rides, hockey tournaments, etc.

Donating Clothes & Furniture is About Convenience

Participants all mentioned donating clothes to Value Village, Goodwill, Salvation Army & Diabetes Canada. They all made the decision to donate based on which charity had a location or dropbox closest to home.

Stakeholder Interviews 

I worked with another business analyst on the team to conduct 16 interviews with Habitat Canada stakeholders to better understand the business needs and priorities for their respective departments, including Marketing and Communications, Direct Marketing, Global Village, Corporate Team Building, ReStore, Donations and the Technology Team.

We were interested in learning:

  1. A vision for how the national Habitat website and the numerous local chapter websites would support different target user needs.

  2. Key barriers that hampered site visitors from donating online, and measures to help with increasing donations.

  3. Overall requirements for integrating the Global Village program on to the national website.

  4. How Habitat engaged with corporate sponsors to fund corporate team building events, and how the national site could better support these needs.

  5. Pain points with the current CMS and web maintenance process.


Stakeholder Research Synthesis 

I began by identifying the 5 key experiences on the website: Donations, Global Village, Local Builds & Restore, Corporate Partnerships and Content Management/Governance.


For each section, I mapped out the current experience and pain points, and then identified:

  • current state optimizations

  • net new opportunities 

  • future opportunities


An example of this process for the Donations experience can be found below.

Habitat Donation Stakeholder Synthesis.p

Website Digital Strategy

The final output of the discovery process was a digital strategy for the site redesign and re-platform, which included both feature & content opportunities.

I presented this strategy to the Habitat team as part of a workshop to align on timeline & opportunities for the redesign project. Later on, I worked with the PM and team, using this document as a baseline to create a project roadmap and sprint plan for the website development phase of the project.

Habitat for Humanity Strategy Presentation (PDF)


Vision for the Site Redesign


Create and define a site publishing process that utilizes stylized components for key content types, allows for staging of content and supports easy authoring by users without a technical background.


Introduce a refreshed site navigation, home page redesign and site structure that clearly indicates to the user all options for involvement with Habitat, through the national organization and local affiliates.


Build empathy and drive engagement through storytelling, communicating clearly about what Habitat does at home and abroad.


Implement a process to flexibly deploy campaigns and donations forms, along with an analytics strategy.


Provide visitors with strong transitions from the national to affiliate sites, explaining the federated charity model.

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