Driving global social change through research and design

In this Insights Unlocked episode, Liz Miller from Constellation Research talks with Kiva's Nathan Treviño and Sara Holburt about their experiences helping drive global social change through UX research at the nonprofit.

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Hands-on design for social impact: lessons from Kiva's UX journey

Nathan Treviño woke up one morning wanting something more meaningful in his professional life.

“I was about to get on the bus and I was like, ‘I want to do something good, right now,’” he said. “I'm going to go to work and I'm not sure how much good I can do there. So where can I go to work and do some good?”

The senior product designer eventually found his way to the nonprofit Kiva and more than three years later continues to be motivated by its hands-on mission to change the lives of the more than 1.7 billion people worldwide that are unbanked and can’t access the financial services they need.

In this week’s Insights Unlocked, Liz Miller from Constellation Research talks with Nathan and his colleague Sara Holburt about their experiences helping drive that change for good through their roles at the nonprofit.

Kiva was a 2023 recipient of UserTesting’s illumi awards. They updated their website, based on user insights, so that people who lend money can quickly find a person they’re excited to fund. The updated experience led to a 7.5 percent increase in total deposits into the Kiva system, equivalent to $518,000 in new dollars, leading to almost 7,000 additional borrowers funded annually.

“At the end of the day, we want people to choose a borrower to lend to because that is how that person can make an impact in the world,” said Sara, also a senior product designer. “Unlike a typical checkout flow, it’s not about just people blindly buying something. We want them to have an emotional connection with the person that they are choosing to support. We want them to understand the implications of choosing this borrower over another borrower.”

Listen to the full episode as they discuss what employees are looking for in corporate responsibility and driving change; the benefits and challenges for designers and researchers from integrating various tools and platforms into a unified workflow; working with cross-functional teams; and what AI means to them.

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