GoFundMe Goes For Digital Empathy

Since its launch in 2010, crowdfunding platform GoFundMe  has been a source of both joy and sadness, with a diverse range of fundraising categories encompassing both the highs (such as “Travel”) and lows (such as “Emergency” and “Funeral and Memorial”). Organizers raising money for college and organizers raising money for funeral costs went through the same process – until last month when GoFundMe revealed a new design flow for those organizing fundraisers for funeral and memorial costs.

“We looked at conversational user interfaces that took complex topics and made them feel helpful, guided, and human,” says David Murray, head of design at GoFundMe. “More than anything, we looked to real-life conversations as the guide to how the experience should feel. Rather than inputting data into an interface, we wanted to reframe the experience to feel more like a real person is helping you one-on-one.”

The new empathetic design flow is meant to be more personalized, thoughtful, and less transactional than other user interfaces. Once the users select the funeral and memorial option from the category list, the screen switches to a series of messages that take a moment of pause in the sign-up process to recognize the feelings of the person on the other side of the screen.

Other enhancements include an optional funeral service date function, which helps organizers to clearly express the timing for when money is needed without having to ask donors directly. Language adjustments throughout the user experience shift the tone from commands to questions, and the focus from the organizer to the person they’ve lost. The message board on fundraising pages was renamed from “Comments” to “Words of Support.” 

“Raising funds for funeral expenses is different from fundraising for a new creative endeavor, so we want to empower our users to ask for help in a way that fits best,” Murray says.