How we built an award nominated call tool and redefined taking action online

The Client brings real Americans back into the political process. With over 5 million members across America — from carpenters to stay-at-home moms to business leaders — the organization works together to realize the progressive promise of our country. MoveOn is a service — a way for busy but concerned citizens to find their political voice in a system dominated by big money and big media. Civic Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, primarily focuses on education and advocacy on important national issues.

The Opportunity

MoveOn relies on digital organizing tools to engage their audience and help bring Americans back into the political process. The call tool is a powerful way to leverage support from constituents eager to help with campaign initiatives. MoveOn approached us to completely rethink and rebuild their aging call tool. The current technology was outdated. It lacked a user-friendly interface and wasn’t compatible with tablet or mobile devices. Call scripts were static, the caller database was difficult to manage and, as a result, the tool was being underutilized.

The Strategy

We started by surveying stakeholders to determine what features were missing, what needed improving and what could be streamlined through automation.

We found that most people thought the call tool was intimidating, that it lacked the support and community-effort feel that other action types provide. The tool was often abandoned, and usage documentation was dense and difficult to understand.

We wanted to reposition the tool as a community effort that empowers users to reach goals and contribute to the big picture. The call tool had to be an exciting experience, something simple and intuitive to use.

We drafted case scenarios for each of the user types. Knowing how different groups would interact with the tool was essential to creating a lean, streamlined front and back end.

The User Experience

Our initial research found that users wanted multiple ways to interact with the tool. Half of users wanted to view the tool on a computer screen while placing calls from their phone. The other half wanted an all-in-one solution that was mobile-friendly. We started with a mobile-first user interface, focusing on the essential elements and building out secondary features as screen space permitted.

First-time users logging into the tool are greeted by an easy-to-follow, tool tip-based tutorial. It walks them through the simple process of entering their zip code, placing the call, reading through the script, and answering questions along the way.

Once the zip code is populated, the tool pulls in the name, phone number, and address of the local leadership a user would be calling. The leadership’s name and information is automatically injected into placeholders throughout the script, customizing the messaging for individuals.

When a user asks leadership a question, three buttons appear on the screen, with “yes,” “no,” and “maybe” prompts. A user can press the button and a custom script will populate based on the response.

One of the most exciting features of the call tool is the tracking statistics featured at the top of the homepage. Users are able to see the total number of calls placed and actions taken in real-time. The information is there to shift the focus from a one-to-one initiative to a global initiative being undertaken by millions of users.

The Results

Our goal was to open the tool up to a wider audience and provide a streamlined user experience that was compatible across all user devices. We created an experience that reacted to user commands intuitively, guiding users through the tool and directing them to their actions with ease. We incorporated new technologies to customize call scripts with the information they needed and make navigating the tool layers a simple task.

The call tool was such a success, it was nominated for several awards in the nonprofit industry. Today, thousands of members use the improved call tool to organize across the country.