Ashby Village Square

UI/UX, Front-End Development

Tech for Social Good

As a developer in Blueprint, a campus organization that creates technology for nonprofits at UC Berkeley, I had the amazing chance to work with a nonprofit called Ashby Village. Ashby Village is a nonprofit that connects retired members of the community to each other and provides the resources they need to remain active and independent.

What makes this my favorite project is knowing that what we build is for a noble cause. Ashby Village Square connects members in ways that they couldn't otherwise, and introduces clarity for discovering new online communities. It is a web application that lets members create interest groups, join groups, create events, RSVP to events, view profiles of other members, and more.

Designing for A Different Generation

All Ashby Village members are over 50 years of age. They often are not the target user for today's social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter. This made designing and developing a private social platform for our intended audience a huge challenge.

Usability testing became the key to tackling this challenge; our team would invite Ashby Village members to test beta versions of the app. Listening to their feedback and observing their interactions helped us make better design decisions with each session.

Some important design choices based on these usability tests were larger font sizes, bright-colored call-to-action buttons, friendlier language, and responsiveness. Below is the Create Account page, which employs a "Mad Lib" style of language for easier understanding.

Since many of the villagers (that's what Ashby Village calls its members) used email as their primary mode of digital communication, we added an email notification system that sent them an email every time one of their groups created an event and to remind them of upcoming events. I designed the below email in HTML.

The villagers responded very positively to our sessions. They were more than happy to ditch their current communication platform and instead migrate to Ashby Village Square. Here is a picture from our launch day:


1. Design for a noble cause.
2. Responsiveness, responsiveness, responsiveness!