Executive Summary:

Using the Arist LMS platform, I worked with a cross-functional team to help develop an SMS-based onboarding course for volunteers working at a DEI-focused nonprofit. The onboarding content is delivered in micro-lessons of 200-800 characters and each day of content includes comprehension checks and options for learner feedback.


DesignxHumanity is a design collective which creates eLearning micro-courses on social justice topics. Over the past few months they have scaled up rapidly and now have more than 300 employees and volunteers participating in their projects. Teams are 100% remote and have a wide geographical distribution and many participants are contributing skills on a volunteer basis. Because of the rapid expansion, DxH has partnered with the LMS startup Arist to pilot an SMS-based onboarding program. New volunteers will receive all their information about the mission and vision of the company, instructions for joining appropriate Slack channels, and directions for participating on their teams through a series of text messages. As QA Lead, I was responsible for ensuring that all content was concise and consistent with the company branding, as well as being informative and engaging.

Solution Criterion:

Because of the format, we needed the content to be as brief as possible while also being engaging. In order to create the best on-boarding experience possible we worked to content that was:

  • Chunked into 800-character micro-lessons

  • Tailored to the volunteer’s background

  • Consistent with the branding of DxH as an organization


Selected Criterion

In order to keep the content engaging we used carefully curated emojis to emphasize key points, and included a single graphic at the beginning of each day’s texts. We did not want volunteers to feel inundated with messages, and so we developed a sequencing of 2 messages per day over a five-day period. We used the multiple choice feature of the Arist platform in order to give volunteers tailored responses based on what they said. We also embedded key information through bitly urls in order to give users access to longer bodies of text.

Design and Development Process:

Using the SAM method, my team collaborated to develop a first iteration over the span of a two-week sprint. As QA, I was responsible for editing script content while adhering to the strict character limits and making sure that the tone remained both conversational and informative. Because of DxH’s focus on DEI, I worked in collaboration with subject matter experts to ensure that the language being used was gender-inclusive and that messaging about the organization’s mission was as accurate as possible. My editing process was iterative and involved continuous feedback from both stakeholders and beta-users. I also developed targeted feedback questions for users to respond to after each day’s lesson in order for us to gather real-time feedback.