Gifts for Seniors

Tech Impact Day: Gifts for Seniors


Gifts for Seniors serves isolated seniors by providing donated gifts and life-affirming personal contact. Every November & December they hold a metro-wide gift drive, with receptacles located throughout the community at retail and corporate settings. Since the current pandemic has dramatically altered donor behavior, this organization needed a clear plan for implementing a tech-savvy virtual gift drive for corporate partners and the general public.

My Role

Tech Impact Day is an opportunity provided by Hands-on Twin Cities, in which a nonprofit is paired with a team of pro-bono volunteers. I was the sole designer working alongside two full-stack developers. We had one day to work with our non-profit, so our first goal was to define the scope and deliverables.

Gifts for Seniors has a website hosted on Squarespace and an adjunct site created by a previous volunteer group, hosted on Heroku. Because recreating the Heroku content on Squarespace was impossible given time constraints, we chose to link the two sites and focus on redesigning the interface. The first step was to add a large “Help Our Seniors This Holiday Season” button to the homepage, which links to Heroku.

The original Heroku “wishlist” page featured two lists separated by a photo slideshow. We moved the photos to the top of the page, made them static, clarified the copy, and added prominent buttons to the wish list and maps.

The “Donate Online” button takes the user to a page with links for online retailers. Gifts for Seniors has registries with these companies.

The “Find a Drop-off Location” button takes the users to a map of local drop-off sites.

The “High-Priority List” button links to a printable pdf so that donors can take a copy along to a local retailer, if they prefer.


With little time to create a perfect solution, our team collectively rolled up our sleeves and set to work discovering what content and code was already in place and what we could do to improve it. I found that the ability to quickly iterate a design was crucial in order for the client to sign off and the developers to get to work. Sending iterations via email was confusing and made me value software that allows for immediate content sharing. I am grateful for having the opportunity to help this non profit and to have received some nice feedback on my work.

“Great job, it was a pleasure to work with you, you have great ideas, are highly conscientious, and translated a very rough UI and layout into something that is intuitive, and nice to look at.”