The UNICEF Tap Project web app challenged users to go without their phones to help provide clean water to children in need. As a UX designer, I worked closely with team members (3 engineers, 2 UX designers, 2 visual designers, 1 copywriter and 1 PM) and delivered user flows, wireframes and conducted multiple rounds of usability testing. It raised $1,600,000 as donations and became the most successful campaign of the UNICEF Tap Project for eight years.



No humans can survive without water. Yet 663 million people around the world do not have safe, clean water to drink. Illnesses caused by unsafe drinking water and the lack of sanitation are among the leading causes of 1,000 daily deaths of children under five years of age. 

The UNICEF Tap Project is a nationwide, year-round campaign driving awareness about global water and sanitation issues while raising funds that help provide the world’s children with access to clean water and basic sanitation. Every March, Droga5 recognized World Water Month by helping the UNICEF Tap Project to launch a nationwide activation campaign targeting a larger audience.



• Donations raised: $750,000

• New volunteers recruited: 3,000


Target Audience

Primary target audience was late 10s-early 20s UNICEF Tap Project volunteers. The volunteers play a key role by hosting event or fundraisers at work, in school and among friends. Secondary target audience was the volunteers' friends and family whom will be introduced to the campaign idea. 


concept development & Testings

For the 2014 campaign, the team wanted to create a mobile experience challenging users to put down their phones for as long as they could manage and invite them to reflect on what it means to be without water. Every minute a user goes without the phone, UNICEF sponsors would donate up to $100,000 to provide a full day of clean water to a child in need.





As we wanted to assure that user understand the task by watching animation, we conducted first round of usability testing to observe how users  interact with the Unicef Tap Project prototype. Separately, we also wanted to validate our art direction that will affect user's emotional response. Keynote as a choice of prototyping tool, since we agreed on the importance of setup animation that responds user interaction. Based on the result, UX team created design recommendations to solve usability issues, such as: 


Visual design 

As soon as UX team mapped out high-level wireframes, our visual designer jumped on to bring his magic. (From this point, UX team had  collaborated directly with the visual designer, rather than creating additional wireframes until absolutely needed.) Screen visual design looked beautiful, but UX team's concerns were on heavy animation: we were afraid that user might lose the sense of control if the product delivers all the core information as animation. Team understood our concerns, but pushed animation approach as it looked more  visually interesting for them. 



Second round of usability testing was arranged shortly after visual comps became ready. This round held keys to the main discussion points on heavy animation. At the same time, this round could be a great opportunity on gauging the user behavior on donation method to reflect user's preference on the product.

...and iterations

Product iteration had been constantly happen as we move forward. These were one of the design comps in late stage:


• User movement detection: Detecting device orientation was the core factor to initiate and terminate experience. 
• User exiting: What if does user exit the experience? We had to calculate the time to properly unlock sponsor's money.
• Sleep prevention: What if does device fall sleep mode while users are undergoing "stay away from your phone" experience?



• What if somebody leave their phone overnight? Does it still count as "unlocking"
• What if do we run out of sponsor's money?
• What does user see during soft launch phase when sponsor's money is not 
• What if does user outside of the States participate in? Does it still count to unlock sponsor money?



Once we entered in beta development phase, we requested another round of usability testing focusing on real target user group: UNICEF Tap Project volunteers. Total 60 participants across the country showed their support and gave us their input. Further evaluation of the real UNICEF Tap Project volunteers’ reactions was very helpful to:
• Evaluate the ease of use on mobile site
• Gather feedback on the general features and functionality of the mobile site
• Gauge volunteers’ understanding of this year’s campaign idea



UNICEF Tap Project 2014's activation campaign launched on February 14, 2014. Responses were very favorable. We got a million user visit in a week, and over 550,000 were unique visitors. During the first week, we had unlocked $473,659 of sponsor donation.


2.6 million users
• Collectively 250 million minutes gone without phones
• average of 61 minutes spent per session
$1.6 million donated
16,770 volunteers gained through the app
• 38 million days of water raised
• 600 million media impressions




Time, Fast Company, Gizmodo, Treehugger, GOOD, Wired UK, PSFK, Today, Cool Hunting, Washington Post, Vanity Fair



FWA (Mobile Site Of The Day)
Awwwards (Honorable Mention)
AICP Next Awards (Mobile)
Webby Award 2015



Agency: Droga5
Client: UNICEF
UX Designer: Hiye Shin
Senior UX Designer: Lily Cho
Digital Designer: Devin Croda
Creative: Brian Moore, Johan Gerdin
Development: Modern Assembly