Girls and Keys
A judgement-free, safe & non-intrusive mentorship platform for women by women
UX design, Storyboarding, Personas, Storymapping, Paper Prototyping, Digital Prototyping, Usability testing
Sept 2019 - Dec 2019
The Problem Statement
In India, where the number of girls, right from appearing for the engineering exams (38.7%) to reaching leadership roles in the organization (7%), dips drastically. Between these stages, there are dropouts due to various reasons*. To keep up the gender ratios in the workplace, the companies are having diversity hiring drives and the government in India has quotas (~20%) for girls in top institutions in India*.
Definitely, this has a series of positives like making various opportunities for inclusion in the pipeline for Indian women, there is an unseen downside of this process.
The pain-point: There is a stigma in the industry that girls are hired because they are supposed to be, as part of the diversity hiring and they are sometimes tagged as incompetent, even when that is not the case. When a diversity hiring happens for the sake of it, it is very dangerous as is leads to under confidence, frustration and lack of growth of that candidate*.
It made me think about an online system that:
Will provide mentorship on various topics that women might want to share/ask.
Will give others already in the workforce to contribute as a volunteer/mentor.
Will create a safe space for college going girls/working women to callout concerns to their mentors and connect with them offline.
Match people based on the problem-solution data crowdsourced over time.
To gain more clarity around the thought process of having an online system, I tried to lay out all the ideas irrespective of their place of delivery. These 8 ideas included online as well as offline experiences. After this exercise, I realized that in this case the community engagement of the women cannot be ignored and it would be great to strike a balance between the two or translate offline community experiences into online ones.
Image: Each block represents an idea that I brainstormed, click to zoom in.
Each sketch above was elaborated into a storyboard to eventually fulfill the task of solving the problem statement. Each of the storyboards has an explanation written on it and all of them give a clear picture of what should be prioritised int he system that I eventually go forward with.
Image: Each of the eight sections represent a story board around the ideas discussed in the last section. Please click to zoom in.
A college student who aspires to be successful in the field of computer vision and wishes to seek mentorship from people in the industry. She also wants to feel safe while she asks her questions and not feel judged. She would be a potential user of a mentorship platform that would connect her to other experienced women.
She is a leader in her field in a corporate firm and is very enthusiastic about helping girls in the field of technology. She also feels there should be more women in leadership positions like her and understands the pain points related. She can be the potential mentor for girls who aspire to be as successful as her.
Working male professional who preaches equality and does not feel it is important to give an extra set of opportunities to women in tech. He is pretty unaware of the difficulties and barriers that exist for women in technology. If given an option to use the platform, he would not be motivated to be a mentor and might discourage it to be a women-centric play again. Also he feels this extra help to girls is discriminatory.
Wireframing & Paper Prototyping
The paper prototypes were tested with 3 team members, 2 peers from the School of Information and 1 female undergrad student. There were improvements suggested by the users which I have tried to incorporate in my final digital prototyping.
1. Style guide and logo
To decide the color theme of the app, I wanted to experiment with pink style guides as it would give relevance to this female-led platform (cliche and obvious). The color palette follows google material design guidelines for color and font accessibility. The logo symbolizes the collaboration and the venus symbol of women merged together.
2. Key feature walkthrough
Feed: This section gives the users the opportunity to take part in the conversations that are initiated by their peers. They can save, view and comment on the post in this section and also filter posts based on their interests. The student can also quickly view the profiles of the mentor by clicking on the photo icon of each comment in the chats. When a pop-up appears, they can know more about the mentor and wish to seek mentorship from that person by sending them a request. The intention is to inspire girls to willingly initiate, continue and be part of conversations by helping them view the initiatives of their peers and discover more mentors.
Post a question: This part of the interaction is about helping the student post a question by categorizing and choosing privacy options. This application focusses on creating a safe space for girls so that they can ask all types of questions by choosing options of anonymity and who can reply to their posts. The user should also have the option to add various category tags to the question for the matching to happen right with the peers and mentors via filters.
My account: This section of the app helps the users(students) manage their profiles, activity, and mentors they have connected with. The students can see and edit their profiles, interests, mentors, and activity from time to time. This is also the place where the users see their activity dashboard which is totally personal to them and can share their progress with their mentors if they wish to. The posts that the users save in the feeds section also appear here.
3. Final Deliverable
A mobile app prototype of the mentee side of the platform that helps college going girls post a concern/doubt, get relevant replies to the same, connect to mentors in their field of interest and keep strong ties within the technology community.
For using the actual prototype, please click on the following link.
I believe, as designers, we have the responsibility of what we show our users and what we make them feel in turn. I tried to design a platform that was:
FOR WOMEN BY WOMEN