STEP - Luoyi Crowdfunding Project

STEP is a web and mobile-based crowdfunding solution for showcasing projects, local news, and supporting local businesses with a view to raise funds in an effective way and attracting tourists.

Project timeline

Internship | 4-Month


Urban planners | System Designers | Local Consultants

My Role

UX Designer | Researcher | VI Design

The Problem

Local small businesses need a reliable way to raise money quickly.

A village with a history of more than 800 years, Luoyi Village is located in Hainan, China. Even the traditional architecture and unique culture made it a potential tourist destination. Lacking employment opportunities, many young people are leaving this place.To improve employment opportunities and assist needy households, the local government hopes to encourage small businesses here. Lacking money and time, they need to raise funds as soon as possible while respecting locals' wishes.

The Solution

A localized crowdfunding system.

I worked as a UX/UI designer on the design project to develop a web and mobile solution to help Luoyi village raise funds to support their small businesses. We are a team of researchers, urban designers, and environment designers, and my contribution is part of the whole project : design-empowered preservation plan for ancient Chinese villages .

01.Market Research

Crowdfunding Opportunities

“The rural revitalization strategy aims to promote the sustainable development of the countryside, including creating a robust rural economy.”

The Goal: We want to raise money and support local projects.

The local community will support the crowdfunding campaign.

Local committees and the government have shown great willingness to contribute to crowdfunding projects (small businesses) proposed by villagers in order to create more employment opportunities.

Local foods and housing projects are popular for crowdfunding.

A popular shopping trend today is e-commerce. The most common tourism products are food, B&B, and daily necessities. Luoyi crowdfunding projects have many advantages in these areas.

Young customers with high education show great interests.

We target the 25-44 age group, with middle and higher educations, based on research of crowdfunding related activities and platforms. Their willingness to spend and invest indicates greater support for new things. In addition, they are interested in and understand traditional Chinese culture.

Localized Crowdfunding will benefit multiple stakeholders.

The Crowdfunding Platform will help raise funds from the public. This program alleviates the financial pressure on the local government, allows villagers to build businesses based on their resources and backgrounds, and also serves as a platform to promote local culture and tourism.

Less risks

One of the most risks of public crowdfunding is fraud, but government support will effectively provide investors with confidence.


Ideate Key Features

How might we build crowdfunding features to attract target users and raise money quickly?


Find unique stories from the local community

Based on our desktop research, first we determined what types of projects could be developed on this platform.

Additionally, we visited main stakeholders (villagers, local committee, travellers)to gain a better understanding of what types of projects that could increase donors willingness.

Interview Insights

Based on the results of the research and interviews, our group identified several aspects that could enhance the localization of this crowdfunding platform.

1. Local Stories

hear unique local stories so they could feel connected to local culture and history

2. Local News Always online

see local news and notifications so they could build more trust by knowing the project is consistently supported by gov

3. Featured projects

find featured crowdfunding projects quickly so they could get attracted easily

4. Mobile and Website

get access easily to and share the content in a relaxing and enjoyable way

User Persona

"I love travelling and our traditional culture, so I hope to support reliable projects to help ancient villages."

I built a profile that shows interests to some unique perspective of Luoyi village, this help me empathize with our target users.


32  | Writer


A more inspiring way to know about local stories
An efficient way for finding interesting projects
Feel encouraged by supporting


Can’t reach contents at anytime
Lack of trust for crowdfunding process
Less details for villagers life and culture there

Mia is a writer and journalist, who enjoys traveling and learning new things. New ideas in traditional culture inspire her. She likes to support creative projects to help revive old heritage. She likes to contribute to volunteer projects. However, current crowdfunding platforms contain a large amount of information and are difficult to navigate in search of her favorite projects.

User Study

Experience general crowdfunding flows

For a better understanding of users' priorities for a crowdfunding platform, I invited four people and observe how they experience competitive products, to determine their general patterns of decision making when selecting crowdfunding projects.

Build Features

Prioritization Plotting

Following an analysis of existing big crowdfunding platforms, I compiled a list of possible features, and helped prioritize what is most important for our villagers' crowdfunding platform.

Build Features

Road Map

I also developed a list of what functions could be added in future versions to improve the crowdfunding system.


Design the platform

Refined Design questions:
How might we design special crowdfunding features to ...
1. let users feel connected to local situations?
2. give more trusts to villagers’s projects?
3. create broader influence to the public?

Design Principles

According to the design questions, the crowdfunding platform should obtain : Good Narratives, Reliability and Accessibility

User Flow

Organize our village crowdfunding features

Following the design principles, I developed four special features and drew the user flow to integrate them.

(1)Feature successful local crowdfunding projects, so users feel helpful and more confident about local businesses
(2)Based on villagers' main business and visitor popularity, projects are categorized by food, housing, travel, and products.
(3)A section devoted to local news and cultural events should be added.
(4)Create a user-friendly sharing function on your website to generate more impact with local communities, investors, and potential donors.

Featured User Flow

Sketch out the main flow

I sketched out the core functions of the crowdfunding platform for our usability testing.

1.Discover villagers’ true stories - website

Mia is willing to support local business, so she opens the website and notice the story.

She scrolls a little bit to know about how crowdfunding works and decide to read the successuful story.

Reading through the story, she is impressed and decide to find ongoing crowdfunding projects.

She opens related project and start to watch.

2.1 Explore the story by recommendations/categories- website

Mia wants to explore crowdfunding projects, and she scrolls down, and sees the featured projects.

She clicks one of the recommendations she is interested in to check directly.

2.2 Explore the story by recommendations/categories-mobile

On the mobile,  Mia checks recommended projects from the homepage.

She opens one of the recommended project and starts to watch.

Lee wants to find her interested projects and support

She clicks on a project from a specific kind and starts to watch.

She reads through the whole project, and decide to support

She supports successfully and get encouraged

3.Save the project for later decision and share it -mobile

After Lee reading a project, she likes it and decide to share with others.

She gets encouraged when she notice the sharing  behavior help the village.


Improve Core Features

Usability testing

Methods & Goals

I invited people to try the core functions and discuss about their feedbacks about interactions, flows and layouts, to see how could I improve the existing features or modify the user flows.

Usability testing

Iterations of core features

Modify the Story Showcasing

1)According to our usability test, the story at the top is normal, lacking persuasive power
2)One picture is not enough. To become more interested, someone might want to see more.

1) Add numbers of how many people like it
2) Add circular progress indicators to suggest more pictures

Improve delivered information for project overview

1) Projects created date is not clear, progress bar could be simplified, it show many words and a little long.
2) Secondary introduction of fundraiser is not so important now.
3) Font size for description/ content sessions are small(mobile).

1) Prioritize the created date
2) Use only numbers to show the funds
3) Use titles like ‘local house owner’ ‘handcraft man’, instead of registered date
4) Redesign font size in hi-fi prototype

Enhance the share function

1) Share function attracts less attention now,
2) one cannot save the project directly only if they click the purchase button and see the plan.It should be easy to share and save.

1) Make share button on the sticky head.
2)  Like and Collect icons move below the project title.


Final Design