Cost-Effective App From InspiringApps Sparks Positive Change in Nonprofit Experience Design

1 month ago
Cost-Effective App From InspiringApps Sparks Positive Change in Nonprofit Experience Design Image

The Boulder Watershed Collective is a Colorado nonprofit using apps to advance causes. The small nonprofit has a vital cause: as populations grow, climate changes and forests shift, it’s crucial to preserve the watershed. Beyond mitigation and restoration projects, the nonprofit offers education and engagement to empower environmental stewardship and inspire action. 

Giving the community a free, immersive, and informative experience, the Take-a-Hike app was an ambitious project. Let’s explore.

Innovation Within Reach

Innovation in nonprofit experience design is often out of reach for smaller non-profits, but our design solves that challenge. InspiringApps created a cost-effective mobile app in partnership with Boulder Watershed Collective, offering an immersion into the Boulder trails system never before experienced. 

Available for both iOS and Android, the free Take-a-Hike app is a trail guide in your pocket. The user experience is deeply mapped to the mission: concentrate on the natural beauty of Boulder’s trails, but learn about reasons to protect them, too. With InspiringApps’ environmental stewardship app design, users can enjoy hikes internet-free while tracking their progress and learning.

Collaboration & Impact

True innovation comes from shared collaboration and partnership. Technology decisions can be simplified and streamlined into one cohesive process with shared collaboration. Regarding the app design process, Boulder Watershed Collective shared: 

“Thank you and the InspiringApps team for working with us on this and making the idea possible. I am not sure we would even have an app or an app of this quality without you and your team’s awesome work and collaboration.”

Experiential Design on a Mission

Experiential design goes beyond traditional design practices by considering the entire journey and environment in which the experience occurs. It aims to stimulate multiple senses to create a more immersive and impactful experience.

Immersive Experience

For nonprofits, digital, experiential design can create a strong impact and elicit positive change. By engaging multiple senses, Take-a-Hike offers an immersive experience that supports local climate innovators through novel ways that foster environmental stewardship. In addition to teaching hikers about their diverse environment, the entire experience educates users on the services and management decisions that aid the wetlands, forests, and mountains. 

Interactive Features

The app’s design has two key interactive features: a map and an audio narration. As it guides hikers to different learning spots along the trail, the app uses GPS mapping and audio playback from the user’s device to create a natural connection with the outdoors. As a result of the design’s innovations, users can visually learn about points of interest along their hike, and geographically triggered audio segments play at those same points of interest automatically. 

Informative & Intuitive Visual Elements

Visual elements are both informative and intuitive. When users select and begin a hike in the app, they see a map of their hike and the points of interest or stops along the way. As they hike to each stop, a details screen shows hikers where they are in real-time, info about that point, and the distance to the next stop.

Customizable Audio

Audio elements offer a high degree of control but a minimum interaction requirement to enhance outdoor experiences. 

  • Users can control the audio from their phone’s notifications panel. 
  • They can turn on an audio narration in the background, so there’s no need to interact with their phones during the hike. 
  • When approaching stops, there is audio to help hikers appreciate their surroundings, followed by silence to enable hikers to use that information while taking in bird calls and mountain views.

Sustainable Iterations Through Community Engagement

Built in a way that makes adding additional hikes a nominal effort, the app has enabled Boulder Watershed Collective to exponentially grow its education and outreach beyond the small staff’s capacity. Partnering within the community, the team continues to add hikes and expand its reach.

Educational Reach

After initially releasing the Take-a-Hike app developed by InspiringApps, Boulder Watershed Collective received additional grants. One of those was to work with a school in Lafayette to guide a podcast creation experience with students. Students contributed content that has been integrated into the app. In a testimonial from the teacher, she said:

 “The Boulder Watershed Collective took on the impossible. They transformed ninth graders with zero experience into podcasters. With endless patience and spectacular curricular materials, these experts led the students from ideation through a finished product. Along the way, they learned how to ask great questions, create mind maps, collaborate, and use podcasting programs.

“At the end of the year, many of these students identified their work creating podcasts with the Boulder Watershed Collective as the most important experience of their academic year.”

With the added Spanish translation, the app development experience has enhanced not just one set of learners but many who will follow. 

Holistic Approach To Cost-Effective Technology Decisions

When creating a nonprofit app, it’s important to take a holistic approach, considering different angles and solutions. Nonprofit organizations seek human-centered designs, but just as in the corporate world, there are also technical and cost aspects to consider. 

The metrics for nonprofits differ because the end goal is impact, not profit. To create positive change, nonprofit apps use an innovative mix of:

  • Grant or donor funding
  • Technology
  • Education
  • Community engagement

According to Brad Weber, CEO of InspiringApps, that cost difference can become the difference between having an app and not having an app—as many nonprofits know too well:

“Our client received project bids that were six figures, which the nonprofit could not afford. With some creative app architecture, we were able to deliver an app for a fraction of that cost, which they were able to fund with government grants.” 

A holistic approach addresses a user’s relationship with a mobile product and their user journey from start to finish. The challenge to deliver the innovation needed for the product’s success enabled our team’s creative solutions to come alive—and deliver the immersive experience at a cost that made the project possible.

To create cost-effective yet innovative solutions, focus on the core features. Instead of building everything from scratch, explore existing tools, APIs, or software development kits (SDKs) that integrate with your app. This approach can save development time and costs while providing the necessary functionality.

Creating Uniquely Valuable Impact

InspiringApps is driven by the opportunity to design technical solutions for causes that help our community. Building an app can ensure your organization’s core mission is front, back, and center. Keeping costs down and creating an impactful app is within reach. 

InspiringApps has built beautiful and engaging apps for not-for-profit organizations. We are dedicated to helping local organizations and not-for-profit clients bring their web and mobile app ideas to life at an affordable cost. Our goal is to support the growth and prosperity of our community.

Your app is our mission.

Are you a startup or non-profit organization interested in building exceptional digital projects? IA Commits offers an option to have your project completed onshore at a reduced price. Create a prototype to gather feedback from users about your next big idea. Improve the communities in which we work and live. Pair our talent with your mission.
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But even for the most important cause or well-known charity, you may lose users if your mobile app is confusing to use or otherwise poorly designed.  For nonprofits, user interface and user experience are essential tools to keep your users engaged and motivated to continue interacting with your cause or charity. Here are a few app design tips to help ensure your mobile app is easy to use. Put the User First Is your user a volunteer, supporter, community member, charity champion, or donor? For that user, your app should make complex tasks simpler. During mobile app development, make the user interface and experience as streamlined and straightforward as possible.  Prioritize Accessibility Accessible to everyone means ensuring that the app is available in multiple languages, as well as taking into consideration users with different abilities. By making the app accessible to all, you’ll ensure that it can be used by the widest possible audience. 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InspiringApps News

InspiringApps’ Core Values

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2 years ago

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