The Scope

Monique Giroux founded Bonbids, an online fundraising game to make supporting causes fun and addicting. The website launched in September 2016 to eliminate the need to hold in-person auctions. Since physical auctions are expensive to host and only reach a limited group of users, Monique wanted to bring that experience online where users around the world could participate in fundraising auctions at any time to support causes they care about.

My Role

I was the project manager as well as team facilitator during our consulting for BonBids. My team consisted of William Man, Elexa St. John-Saaltink and Riri Nagao.


To redesign the user journey in a way where there are magical moments for users. During every step of the way from onboarding to winning the game, users should feel good about putting money towards a good cause and make them want to involve their friends along the way. We want users to fall in love with Bonbids.


BonBids is centered around creating a fun and social fundraising platform wherein users can donate $1 at a time to support a cause and potentially win items. However, the distribution of proceeds to these causes did not match users’ expectations and the complicated site flow was enough to confuse anyone.


When initially introduced to Bonbids, I knew that there was a huge challenge ahead because the rules were complicated throughout the entire process. As a matter of fact, during initial meeting with my team we were trying to make sense of all of the rules and unfamiliar terminology. During the project duration, confusion still lingered.


Target Users

Our initial research revealed BonBids appeals to the following users:

  1. Users who are passionate about supporting causes.
  2. Users who actively seek good deals on items they want and are willing to go the extra mile to save a couple bucks.
  3. Users who are a hybrid of the above two characteristics (the ones that support causes but expects things in return).

Testing of current site

We conducted usability testing N=6, and interviews N=3. Findings revealed confusion regarding:

  • Terminology such as Bid, Auction, Causes
  • Features such as Consolation Prize, Robobidder, Buy It Now, Donation Pot
  • Who the site benefited
  • Results of their actions/bids
  • How to navigate the site

After reviewing findings, we organized the common themes through affinity mapping. We grouped them based on pain points and overall confusion but also rearranged them based on areas of opportunity. Some of our assumptions about the confusion behind the “How It Works” page and the complex nature of the registration process were validated.

To strategize addressing pain-points further, Will had re-created the current user-flow. Confusion visualized.

Pain-Points. Now What?

Again, everyone who we tested for the current site expressed confusion of numerous features. In order to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), we dissected features currently implemented.

After spending weeks on the projects, I must admit I thought the “hearts” icon was to save it to favorites. It’s not. It’s for single-cause auctions. Yeah, I’m confused too.

Confirm that the feature will be used at all

According to the CHAOS Summary 2009 Report, “50 percent of software features are not used or wasted, while other features are sorely missed.” That adds up to a lot of unnecessarily complex software. (Source)

Feature Scope like you wouldn't believe

Auction LP

  • Autobidder
  • Consolation prizes
  • TImer
  • Name of winning bidder
  • Bid button
  • Hearts (?!)
  • Winning causes
  • Closed auctions
  • Support Chat
  • Bids purchased vs Free bids (connected to user?)
  • Winning Causes

Individual auction page

  • Bid cost
  • Description
  • Free bids (connected to account or related to auction?)
  • Name of winning bidder
  • Bidding history (drop down)
  • Shipping information
  • Auction start time – if it hasn’t started
  • Robobidder
  • “Donate your unused bids and help your cause win” (?!)
  • Consolation prize
  • Auction Sponsor (Info, description, and closing event(?!))
  • Type of auction (one cause auction)

Persona Creation

Given that users quoted our business model as a “Groupon-meets-eBay”, it was difficult for us to ignore users like Gary, a deal-seeker. However, as we carefully considered our client’s needs and the appeal of the site from fundraisers and merchants, we found our primary user, Emily, a passive donator.

Once we had prioritized who our target group was, we felt confident in making informed decisions with them in mind.

Based on our discoveries, we decided our solution would need to benefit 2 user personas. Again, their needs can be overlapped.


The Passive Donor


The Deal-Seeker

Survey Results N=17

Have you donated in the last year?

  • Yes
  • No

How do you usually donate?

  • Online
  • At a Silent Auction
  • At an event
  • Other

What motivates you to donate?

  • Personal gratification
  • Tax-deduction
  • Convenience

If a friend posted about a fundraiser on social media site, how likely are you to click that link?

  • Depends on charity or cause
  • Likely to click; hesitant to donate
  • Likely to click; likely to donate
  • Wouldn't click on link


In order to establish trust in the site, we stripped away all the complicated rules and features, ultimately improving navigation and flow with a minimal viable product.

Our proposed solution was to narrow in on a minimal viable product. We simplified the entire website experience by eliminating complicated features, minimizing copy for rules, and improving navigation throughout. After conducting all updates, we performed user testing on mid-fidelity prototype.

Improved Happy Path
Paper Wireframes
Whiteboard Wireframes

We Skyped with a team member in Europe and ``dot-voted`` as much as feasible

Prototype Testing

After collecting all the feedback, our final wireframes were designed; this time, establishing transparency and trust for our users were our primary goal. Without disrupting the flow of our designs, we addressed some pain points with testable features.

We created an easily accessible onboarding screen in the form of a help icon. The entire flow and explanation of how proceeds work is explained in just three screens. Keeping it simple enough to not require a full page explanation for users to read was an important step in the right direction.

Rather than use Facebook or Twitter connectivity, we opted for Amazon payments instead. This would allow users the comfort of circumventing both the signup and credit card information input with just one click.

Hi-fi prototype


Key takeaways

In the end, we certainly felt confident that our project was a more fully-realized amalgamation of client and user needs: simple and usable for users without completely changing the business model. Although there are various other behind-the-scenes issues with the site’s functionality, we honed in on addressing the problems that would deter users most.

Future Endeavors

Based on feedback and keeping our MVP in mind, some future implementations suggested for our client:

  • Newsletters/Emails from BonBids = triggers
  • Guest bidding
  • Increase transparency of where the money is going
  • A/B test with the following idea:
    • Adjust and test game rule – last bid to win vs whoever bids the most
      • Earn more money, bid more before timer ends, more fair