Project Description

Invisible Barriers

Research • User Testing •  Journey

This Service Design project aims to improve the recruitment process of the Cancer Research UK charity shop on Sauchiehall Street, one of the organization’s four charity shops in Glasgow.

Nearly 40 % of the British people volunteer in one form or another (Guardian, 2019). Besides making a difference, volunteering is a way to learn new skills, take on a challenge and meet new people (Volunteer Scotland, 2019). In a recent survey of more than 10,000 UK volunteers, a clear majority states that volunteering benefits both their mental and physical health, and also helps to fight the feeling of isolation (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, 2019).

Cancer Research UK is a charity that has been working on cancer research for over 100 years and is currently the charity with the highest brand worth: £2.3bn (UK Fundraising, 2018). The charity raises money through donations, fundraising events, shops and corporate partnerships. These activities are made possible thanks to the effort of over 40,000 volunteers

Volunteers in United Kingdom
Cancer Research net worth
Activate UK volunteers

Technical skills

Empathy * Journey * Communication
  • Analyse failure within the recruitment service for volunteers and identify root causes for that failure

  • Gain a holistic understanding of the user needs and identify where separate interactions with volunteers should be re designed and improved

  • Understanding the existing recruitment process and design targeted improvements to the existing process – both digital and process based

Problem Statement

Despite the benefits, many of us face (perceived) obstacles that prevent us from volunteering. According to a survey conducted as a part of this research, they can be a sense of lack of time or opportunities. During the initial research phase, the manager of Cancer Research UK shop on Sauchiehall St. shared this aforementioned vision of the discrepancy between the perception and reality of volunteering in a charity shop.

This report provides an analysis of the current recruitment process of shop volunteers, and suggests three improvements that aim to improve the process for both the prospective volunteers and the staff at the shop. 

Stakeholder Map

The stakeholder map was a graphical illustration of how the stakeholders could feel toward the project, It identified who had influence and what action you need to take.

Service design



The service blue print was created in segments to focus on the important stages to get a holistic overview of the project  


store Manager

“I mean if the volunteers are like aero space engineers or whatever I’m like woah”

Survey Analysis


What Barriers are stopping you from volunteering?

What age are you?

Have you volunteered before?



Designing the service it was important to understand who will be using the product. In order to solve a real user problem, we needed to have a clear problem statement in mind; in order to write this problem statement, we first need to understand your users and their needs.

Knowing our audience  influence the features and service design structure, thus making our product more useful. The three personas helped to clarifies our target audience by answering the following questions:

  • Who is our user?

  • What are the current behavior patterns of my users?

  • What are the needs and goals of my users?

  • What issues and pain-points do they currently face within the given context?

Service Design

Application User Journey

Service design

Final Results

Suggestions for Next Steps