My first experience with blood donation took place during my freshman year at college. I saw this as an opportunity to help people. When I arrived at the blood donation truck, I had to fill out many forms before I was able to give a sample of my blood. At the end of this experience, I was given milk and cookies but did not receive any information regarding who my blood might be helping.

I see this as an opportunity to intervene and wonder, how might we engage blood donors and blood receivers? How might we create a delightful experience for new blood donors? The answers can be found in this Blood Donor app redesign project. After doing user research and observing user experience, I added two highly demanded features: Tracking blood & Assistant.

Design Critiques

The American Red Cross Blood Donor App is a powerful platform for connecting donors and blood donation systems. They put the power of saving lives in the palm of the users’ hands, making donating blood easier. The app allows users to find nearby Red Cross blood drives, schedule appointments, create or join the community and track their impact on a national leaderboard. Aside from my experiences, I learned that blood donation is an unfamiliar and refreshing experience. However, when I first opened this app, I was shocked by the whole page of red colors. I felt like the whole page was full of CTA content: making an appointment. From my perspective, the original visual design felt a bit too chaotic, pressuring and scary. Parts of the interaction design could also be improved.



  • Too much red color ( lots of people associate red with danger)
  • Inconsistent iconography ( pictograph, isotype, flat, outline)
  • Inconsistent button styles (flat, gradience)
  • No text alignment (number, CTA)


  • Unfriendly to new user (must fill some form to finish sign in)
  • User can not share impact directly.
  • Lack of functionality (can not quickly sign in)
  • Lack of badges

It will be nice…

Adding new features:

  • Tracking your blood (more details)
  • An assistant that offers more tips (more human-centered)
  • New badges (people will have more motivation to give blood)
  • Quick sign in ( user will be able to complete the rapid pass via the app)

Design Goals

Two goals of this project were to improve the overall user experience and add new features that people wanted. For the first stage, I would like to solve the existing UI/UX problems through reviewing the app store reviews. For the second stage, I focused on prioritizing and adding people’s preferred new features (tracking, assistant, rapid pass or other features that people wanted).

If I worked on this team, bringing the app rating from the current 3.5/5 stars to 4/5 stars in the App store could be one of the measurable goals. Another measurement could be enlarging the community of blood donors.

Solve Existing Problems

I visited Blood Centers of the Pacific (which is a commercial blood center) and conducted interviews with various blood donors to learn about their blood donating experiences. I learned that each donor I met had donated to other centers, so I asked them if they could compare their experiences. From this, I learned that they wanted to learn more about where their blood was going and who it was going to help.

I also spoke with individuals who do not like to donate blood and asked them why. Most responses included fear of blood itself and that they disliked the color red. I saw this as a potential visual opportunity to explore in this case study.

User Interviews

Part1: an app user but not a donor

  • “This app looks like Yelp, too much red color”
  • “I really want to donate my blood, but this interface makes me feel horrible”
  • “It’s hard to make an appointment”
  • “After using this app and reviewing all the badges and impact, I have no motivation to given blood”
  • “They don’t care about me, they just care about my blood”

Part2: donor

Blood donor — first time

“I feel a little bit stressed out because people get close together. I know my blood is going to help someone or be given to the lab for some research. I want to know the reason if they don’t use my blood.”

Red cells donor — first time

​“I feel nervous and curious during the donation. I’d love to keep an eye on tracking my blood. I think I’d be happy to see if my blood saved someone’s life.”

Blood cells donor — Second time

Every time I give blood I ask for lists of the tests. In that way, I feel like I did a physical examination, but I couldn’t get the report for my blood. I can receive the message for tracking blood, but I’d appreciate it if I can get more specific information.

App store review analysis


I had conducted additional interviews during this process where I asked people to explain why they don’t visit blood centers. Most responses included fear of blood itself and that they disliked the color red. I took this fear as inspiration to create a visual design that makes red appear friendly and approachable. I contrasted red with lighter colors and explored various illustrations that would not provoke the fear of blood or needles during a donation.

Prioritize New Features

When we talk about blood donation, most of us see it as a task instead of genuinely helping someone. We have no motivation to do this and we don’t realize our blood is needed. Firstly, some of the interviewees told me if they know their blood is used, they will have more motivation to give blood. Furthermore, when they do a physical examination including blood tests twice a year, they didn’t feel uncomfortable when they do the blood tests. So what if we can combine the blood tests with the blood donation, which means once you have given blood, you can receive a report about your blood?

Feature #1: Tracking

User case1: Check my blood journey

Feature #2: Assistant

User case2: Prepare to donate blood

Information Architecture

Things I Learned

Use a behavior model to find a better solution

When I begin to do this project, I have no idea for how can we let more people get involved in donating their blood. After I read the theory of behavior design and use a Fogg Behavior Model, try to add the motivation through improving their social impact and simplified the activities by get in rapid pass quickly. In that way we can find a better solution to enlarge the community of blood donors.

Color matters

Lots of people they don’t want to use the original app due to the fear of red color, I try to use some soft color to fit in the user-friendly experience.

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