Crystal Tompkins
designer, educator, artist


Helping the helpers.

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This is Rebecca. She and I have been friends for twenty years. Two years ago, her mom was diagnosed with cancer in the fall. By March, her mom was gone.

This is Rebecca. She and I have been friends for twenty years. Two years ago, her mom was diagnosed with cancer in the fall. By March, her mom was gone.

Caregiven is a mobile app developed to help with organizational needs and emotional support for the caregivers of people at end of life.

  • The Caregiven team is a small, scrappy, heartfelt startup consisting of eight people who have experienced devastating loss and responsibility in their past.

  • Caregiven was created to help people who are losing a loved one while also being in charge of the care and management of that journey of loss.

  • 27% of their users were consistently using dark mode, but no design had really been done on dark mode.

  • All designs had been through a pro-bono arrangement with another design firm, and was all addressed in light mode.

  • My role was to see what accessibility standards needed to be addressed, while increasing the appeal in dark mode, and, of course, maintaining branding.

This summer was the perfect time to help Caregiven with some pro-bono work.

This is where we started.

The engineering team had picked some of the branded colors and assigned them to categories.

This is the final iteration, which should be going to production by the end of September 2021.

This is the final iteration, which should be going to production by the end of September 2021.

Dark Mode

Gathering Information First

To start, I added the app to my phone and went through the account creation process. I used my family members to fill different roles within the app. I went through the design documentation left from the previous design firm. I gathered assets, and spoke with current team members about their thoughts.

Guiding Questions

  • Who is using dark mode, and when?

  • I know accessibility is a big issue, what parameters do I need to meet? What are current standards?

  • What constraints do I need to stay within for the engineering team?

  • What tools are being used by the Caregiven team?

  • How and when are team members available for discussions?

  • What kinds of deliverables do they want and how?

  • What goals are possible to meet before I have to start school again in late August?

Co-branding design

Co-branding design

Co-Branding Design and Mockups

I was able to finish the dark mode theme, and also put together notes for general design consistency in time to be able to address one more need before our time ran out this summer.

Caregiven is working on acquiring partner-clients in the insurance, healthcare, and palliative care fields. I was asked to create mock-ups of what co-branding could look like with various combinations of client needs. These will be used in future sales presentations. I’ve created individual versions tailored to 4 specific client meetings.

I love this kind of work: work where I can help people, where I can think strategically, and where my visual skills are providing value.

Both the Caregiven team and I feel great about how the dark mode turned out. It also was just one of the things I ended up helping them solve.

  • I feel even better knowing that I left them with clear notes, helping them identify multiple areas of inconsistency in their design. These are things that will be easily fixed once the dark mode sprint is in process.

  • I adapted and created alternate versions of all of the open source illustrations in current use, as well as selected future illustrations, so the colors would be less harsh and the illustrations more easily readable and consistent in dark mode.

  • I designed co-branding assets, and created mockups for 5 prospective clients for use in presentations for the next quarter, as well as instructions on how to quickly adapt the mockups with new logos for the future.

Being out of the private sector for so long, there were a lot of processes and apps I didn't have experience with.

  • I was able to teach myself Figma this summer.

  • I logged experience with Jira, and using a CMS management system.

  • I did a lot of research on open source illustrations, specifically dark mode options, as well as working on finding illustrations that showed more realistically diverse populations.

This summer was a great experience. I learned a lot, and the Caregiven team said that they were very happy with the deliverables and timing of my work for them.

"Crystal is fast, efficient, and handles ambiguity incredibly well. It's always a delight working with a talented designer who can take a few vague ideas and come back hours later with a mockup to focus the discussion. She's a dream to collaborate with, as well—she takes in all kinds of feedback and turns it into great user experiences."
Feedback from Caregiven this summer