Designing a safe mentorship network for women in STEM

Interaction Design/ Material Design System/ Visual Design/ Prototyping for Diversity & Inclusion
My Role
Interaction Designer
Team Members
Toshi Gupta
12 weeks
Sept 2019 - Apr 2019
My story
I am born and brought up in India, and before arriving at the United States, I pursued my undergrad in Computer Science and went on to work in the tech industry. Over the period of being in college and then entering into the workforce, I found lack of gender diversity and mentorship was a defining factor to my success. Being connected to the right women leaders and learning from the experiences has been monumental for my motivation of staying strong in my aspirations to increase diversity in technology industry!
How we can make our girls strong and confident through mentorship at young age, to take up the opportunities in the male-dominant tech industry so that they successfully reach leadership positions and fulfil their career aspirations.
A mobile application that provides an online network that helps college girls (mentees) to get matched to women already in the workforce (mentors) based on the problem-solution data crowdsourced over time.
Interactive prototype built on Figma
My Role
Interaction Designer
4 months (Aug 2019 - Dec 2019)
Core responsibilities
  • Devise a problem statement and define its user base
  • Sketch out ideas to explore all solution strategies and design Lo-Fi prototype by shortlisting key funstionalities
  • Through usability testing of paper prototypes, design high fidelity prototypes to take for next round of testing

Feed with posts

Scroll and interact, be in this together!
Mentors and mentees use this space to scroll through the different questions and concerns posted by the members. The main ways to interact with each other is using the reply, block and delete button

Posting questions

Post with no inhibitions, you are in a safe and non-judgemental space!
This is the mail highlight of this application where the mentees can post public questions using safety controls like anonymity and switching off the replies.

Building your profile

Share your interests, network with people and track your progress securely!
This feature lets the mentees and mentors add tags, interests and their background on the profile. User can access their posts and see their interaction tracking that is confidential to them.
Running crazy 8 ideas
Sketching with pen and paper is the best way to get started to give life to your solutions. 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. After taking feedback from peers, I felt that first idea below in the picture with 1x1 online mentorship successfully meets the criteria for the success of this platform.
Expanding the ideas into storyboards brought more clarity in the idea and got me one step closer to the final designs.
The persona building was to understand the users I was targeting and problems they face which I must solve for!
User journey map
It was important to understand the step my step flow for each of these personas.
Design ideology
Safe Space Creation/Non Judgemental
Non-Intrusive with privacy controls
For women by women!
Key features & Lo-fi Wireframes
Paper prototypes
This was one of the most fun and creative part of the process of creating prototypes. I made various screens of the wireframes to be tested by peer women in the School of Information at the University of Michigan.
This was the feedback collected from the usability testing of the paper prototypes:
Changing the landing page from ‘Post a question’ to ‘News Feed’
Making the posting process less complicated
Adding option to view saved posts
Having options to block user/posts
Making privacy options more prominent
Visual guide
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. 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.
The design decisions for the final designs are based on the workflows, user journey maps of each persona and learnings of usability testing from paper prototyping.
Design decisions
Next steps