Ana Fernandes Rodrigues, Design & Product
Go Small or Stay Home, bootstrapping a project with community impact

Go Small or Stay Home was a personal, non-profit project developed during the first months of the Covid-19 crisis. The website offered a crowdsourced directory of small, essential businesses, providing users information and incentive to support small businesses of their neighborhoods.

Personal project
Concept & UI/UX

It was the first weekend of lockdown in Portugal. There was not enough stock of masks or hand sanitizer, and basic sanitary measures were being implemented as people adapted their business activities to the new constraints. I was bored sitting on the kitchen counter of my new rental apartment, avoiding going to the only supermarket I knew in the neighborhood. Maybe someone had a good reference for a smaller shop in the area where I could get my groceries? Perhaps someone else was facing the same issue, and the information could be valuable to them as well.

I asked on Instagram. I received a reasonable number of suggestions, which I proceeded to place on an Airtable sheet with the intent of sharing with friends. The directory was then embedded into a simple landing page, which I deployed to a cheap domain I had purchased that same afternoon.

As I shared it with my close friends and asked them to submit their suggestions using the website form, it got unexpected traction. The project was covered by several media outlets, causing the number of suggestions to dramatically increase within a short period. Although it was still very focused on the cities of Lisbon and Porto, the page started featuring businesses from all across the country.

At a certain point, and due to the volume of information submitted, the website interface had to be changed to facilitate browsing by geographical area. Being a non-profit initiative, Airtable provided support to the project by enabling additional features in the database with no added costs. A press section was also added to provide context about the project.

By the time it lost momentum, the database had ~700 entries, and had received ~29k visitors with a total of ~34k sessions. It remained online until 2022.

This case study is a great reminder of how a simple DIY project can bring people together and become incredibly rewarding to the community.