#53 User experience of a food packing volunteer work

I recently had a chance to experience a food packing volunteer work at one of non-profit organizations. It was actually a really good user experience. In case of a volunteer work, it’s very similar to a service design for an amusement park such as Disneyland.

There are a few points that I can think of that made this a great experience.

OK, let’s take a closer look at one by one.


1 – Very well organized

Here is the user journey that I went through.

  1. Signed up as a team of 5 people prior to the date
  2. Showed up on that day and checked in on-site
  3. Received a cap, stored personal items in a locker
  4. Got an introduction presentation of the non-profit organization
  5. Got an instruction on how to enter the site and what to do
  6. Each team was called one after another 
  7. When called, washed hands thoroughly
  8. Moved to an assigned station
  9. Got on-site instruction
  10. Started packing food with music
  11. Count down started and stopped at 2 hour mark
  12. Did a clean up based on the instruction
  13. Left the station, disposed gloves and cap
  14. Watched a closing presentation with results

As you can see, the entire journey was very well designed and organized.

Everything was clearly explained by the staff, so I understood what I was supposed to do through an every step of the way.


2 – Fun

Food packing process was laid in a game-like, teamwork setup.

5 people made up one team.

Each person was responsible for a different task.

The 1st person scooped soy and rice, and poured those into a funnel.

The second person scooped vegetable and vitamin powder, and poured those into the funnel.

The third person opened up a plastic food package, and placed it right underneath the funnel to receive ingredients.

The forth person weighed the package with filled ingredients.

The fifth person sealed the package and put it in a box.

As I got used to the task and the flow, the background music was playing loud, and I actually felt that the entire environment was filled with full of positive energy. 

In such an environment, I started wanting to improve my performance and compete with other teams.

The entire journey and the overall experience were designed almost as an amusement park experience where I could truly immerse myself and enjoy the activity.

I did this non-stop for 2 hours.

It was like a fun game. It was like a workout.

Once I was done, I felt good with a sense of accomplishment.

And I actually felt a lot shorter than 2 hour.


3 – A clear result

Once the work was done, I was able to see the concrete result of the session I participated in.

During the closing presentation by the host, we were presented…

  • the number of boxes packed
  • the number of meals (bags) packed
  • how many kids are fed for a year
  • how much it costs in total

To be able to immediately see how much impact we were able to generate with our labors was very satisfying because I could feel that I contributed to the world in a very tangible way.

At the end, I felt that I wanted to come back again.


There are a lot of things that we can learn from this as UX designers.

Obviously the non-profit organization who organized this had a clear motivation and intention, wanting to have all the volunteers come back again to do more volunteer works for them.

They wanted their “customers” to come back.

They wanted to convert their “first time customers” into “returning customers”.

That’s why they worked hard to make sure that every step of their customer journey was a fun, easy to understand, delightful experience.

And this is exactly what we want for our customers to feel whenever they use products or services that we are designing, right?


Check out YouTube version too!

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