Career Peer

Addressing the gender pay gap,
one woman at a time
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illustrations of women working
My Role
Timeline
Team
Tools
Product Manager, UX Researcher, UI/UX Designer, Presenter
3 months
(January - April)
Iteration 1 - complete
Iteration 2 - complete
Iteration 3 - in progress
Devlin Cousins, Daniella Alvarado, Michaela Jenkins-Moss, Noemie Toutant, ria Sen, William Lee
Figma, Illustrator, Notion, Photoshop

Problem

The gender pay gap is a widely recognized indicator of economic equality that is prominent in various industries and professional levels.

On average, 76.8 cents is earned by full-time working women in Canada for every dollar men make. The Labour Market Information Council found women earn 12%, or $5,700, less than men one year after graduation (Canadian Women's Foundation, 2017).

That difference widens to $17,000, or about 25%, in the five years following graduation (Finnie et al., 2020).

Pay gaps that begin early on in women's careers create a foundation of inequality and vulnerability that affects the course of their careers, and ultimately, their lives

The Design Challenge

How might we provide women the right resources to flourish in their early careers? What processes need to be more transparent to bridge the gender gap?

Solution

CareerPeer, an online platform committed to helping women kickstart their careers and remain active in the workforce. The platform creates opportunities for women to engage, on their terms, with mentors and industry professionals through communities, resources, and 1:1 consultations.

image of created wireframes

Our approach

design thinking steps
design thinking steps

Phase 1 - Research

Understanding the problem space and empathizing
with our users

Benchmark Analysis

We began by conducting market research to understand the current products being offered and the areas of opportunity we could fill.

Current platforms that served a similar purpose were:
• LinkedIn
• EqualPayToday
• The Mom Project
• Locelle

These platforms weren't always easy to navigate and lacked transparency, engagement, and accessibility.

User Research

First, we conducted user research by proxy through various channels such as
• subreddits
• career development platforms
• app store user-reviews

This confirmed that women around the globe were seeking immediate remedies to their challenges.

On Reddit, we noted various female-focused career advice subreddits and the struggles, insights, and resources that women were sharing and discussing with each other.

User Interviews

For quantitative research, we distributed a Google forms survey to our target user group on subreddits, Discord channels, Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Slack, and peers in the GBDA program.

For qualitative research, we conducted virtual interviews with female post-secondary students through and asked them specific questions about the career resources they use and what they wish they knew before entering the workforce.

We made sure to document the participant's answers in a wall of justice. Next, we organized the user data from the survey, interviews, and user research by proxy using affinity diagramming.

The affinity diagrams helped us narrow down our user research into common user needs, motivations, and pain points for the team to focus on.

Key Findings

image of opportunities and pain points of users

Persona

image of persona
*photo sourced from Unsplash

Phase 2 - Ideating

Developing tangible solutions through
consolidated research

Information Architecture

To begin the ideation process, we first wrote down all the features we wanted to include.

Then we used the card sorting method to organize each column of the structure. Through this process we were able to consolidate all of our ideas, which helped us create the information architecture.
image of information architecture

Low-fidelity

Taking the established IA, we began sketching out various ideas for the website layout. This process took multiple rounds of reiteration, referencing our research and feedback from our professors. By the end, we had a solid base to begin the prototyping process.

Phase 3 - Prototyping

Bringing sketches to life with a playful
branding and clear visual system

Visual System

After completing the mid-fidelity wireframes, we were able to summarize the vision for our brand identity with 4 key terms:

• Transparent
• Engaging
• Trustworthy
• Clean

We then proceeded to establish a style guide, which helped us remain consistent throughout all of our high-fidelity prototypes.​

Phase 4 - User Testing

Reiterating prototype through
feedback from real users

User Testing

As this capstone project was divided into 3 iterations, we had many attempts in testing the implementation of latter iterations.

Each time, we conducted usability tests through Microsoft Teams using a Think-Aloud approach. During the usability tests, the participants were asked to share their screens and were given a situation and some tasks, such as trying to book a consultation with a mentor.

We took notes of user errors that the participants encountered on each screen as well as the useful insights they provided us throughout the tests.

A series of changes that address issues, can be seen below.

Final Prototype

Empowering women with skills, best practices, and confidence needed to enter the workforce.

View interactive prototype

Onboarding

Users can sign up by connecting their LinkedIn or Google accounts, auto-populating their profiles.
image of onboarding

Booking a Session

Mentor availability can be accessed directly within their profile, prompting a user to choose a convenient date and time.
image of mentor screen

Threads & Events

The community page features recommended threads for connecting larger audiences. Looking to meet more peers? Simply attend one of our events.
image of community screen

Reflection

During this project, our professors asked us to embody different roles for each iteration. I began as the UX lead and later moved on to a product management and UX researcher role.

As the design lead, my role not only consisted of design but also the communication between cross-functional teams. This meant keeping tabs with the project manager, who would ensure consistency and transparency across the team.

At times, when we struggled with design decisions, we knew that we could rely on our next user testing phase. Through this process, we were able to reiterate details that had been missed, as well as validate the usefulness of certain features.

Most importantly, we recognized an accessibility issue with our current colour palette. The tags we used to highlight different types of services did not have sufficient contrast with their background. This legibility concern was solved through the use of an accessibility checker.

Final Takeaway

Always start by empathizing. A lot of learning and unlearning is required to truly understand a user's needs.

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