Nechari Riley
UX Researcher & Designer

Parity Partners

Responsive design for a flexible professional development community.

Introduction

Founded in 2016, Parity Partners is dedicated to building the next generation of women in leadership positions within underrepresented sectors, such as venture capital and technology, through advocacy, education, and recruitment. 

Their Parity Professional Program (P3) aims to further this mission by curating an online and offline network of women who will champion efforts for increased diversity, inclusion, and equity.

My team developed a product to help foster cohesion between the members of the professional development program (P3) and staff.

  • Target: Women in a professional global community
  • Audience: Parity Partners
  • Project Role: UX Research Lead & UX Designer
  • Timeline: 4 weeks

Parity Partners

Ideation

Our team brainstormed key reasons why women would join a professional organization.

We concluded that the sense of belonging was central to the mission of many professional organizations and wanted to reflect that in our design process by creating a seamless user experience.

PROBLEM STATEMENT

How might we cultivate a community of professional women that is built on agency, transparency, and accessibility?

RESEARCH

Parity Partners

Business Research

Our team began our process with a deep dive into business research, which uncovered the key competitors to the organization.

We discovered that Parity Partners provided a more exclusive experience for members which focused mainly on professional development.

We also analyze those who were not direct competitors to Parity Partners but provided professional and/or social networking opportunities. Using the comparative matrix, our team discovered that Business Network International (BNI) provides a provides a similar membership experience to Parity Partners.

User Interviews

We conducted user interviews with 5 members of the P3 program to better understand their motivations, frustrations, and goals. We were most curious about members experiences interacting with leaders and staff.

Insights:

  • The main insights were received from these interviews were: 
    • All users had a preference for offline content

    • Members wanted to foster community relationships

    • Members want to serve as and seek mentors

    • Members wanted to better understand the group selection process

    • All users wanted uncomplicated scheduling for events

Primary and Secondary Personas
Primary and Secondary Personas

Personas

Based on our user research insights, we created three personas. Each persona represented the main goals and pain points for program members, leaders, and staff.

We mainly focused on designing for the members and leaders due to program staff using an external SaaS solution (Salesforce) to manage their information.

User Journey

We created a user journey based on the primary persona, Professional Patty, to represent the scenario in which a user might interact with the platform we were designing.

The image below represents Patty's user journey through the program as well as her interactions with the platform. It also shows user interactions with the platform which should create a positive and enjoyable experience for users.

Patty's user journey
Patty's user journey
Task flow for members
Task flow for members

Task Flow

The task flow represents the interaction a user would have navigating the app. It is also what we like to call the “happy path,” meaning, this would be the most efficient way for a user for find and select a group (known as a "pod"), complete their profile, and set their time preferences.

INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE

Parity Partners

Sitemap

Our team created a sitemap of the Parity Partners website in order to show related pages and define the hierarchical relationship of content within the website.

Our team revised the original sitemap to include the proposed structure of the linked page for the P3 program. We determined that the “Login” page outline would be the entry point for our P3 site.

WIREFRAMES

Example of mobile first design wireframes for member profile
Example of mobile first design wireframes for member profile

Mobile-First Design

At the beginning of my design process, our team created a mobile-first design to deliver the best user experience for our users.

Our user research indicated that users interact with professional development resources on both desktop websites and on their mobile phones, which further informed our responsive design.

P3 member self-selection for member groups
P3 member self-selection for member groups

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes (Members)

Our team created mid-fidelity wireframes to define elements on the page as well as the visual hierarchy for each page on the website:

The key aspects included in our design were:

  • Selecting a pod and completing the membership signup process
  • Updating member availability
  • Message a pod leader
Parity Partners

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes (Leaders)

We also created wireframes for pod leaders, which included the following features:

  • Mandatory training module
  • Finding common member availability for events
  • Sending a message to group messages
Parity Partners

Development Considerations

We spoke with the client's developer to identify which solutions would be able to be implemented for the first feature and which would have to implemented in subsequent iterations.

We determined that SaaS platforms would help our client improve their relationship management and reporting while 3rd party integration apps would improve the user flow of the signup process, including payment processing.

We also recommended that subsequent features included the addition of error states to warn users of incomplete or fulfilled states for the content on a page.

STYLE GUIDE

Parity Partners

User Interface and Style Guide

We created a style guide based off of the client's existing website, identifying the typography, color palette, and UI elements (ex. icons, symbols, buttons).

DESIGN ITERATIONS

Parity Partners

Mid-Fidelity to High-Fidelity Wireframes

Our team created high fidelity mockups using feedback from the usability testing as well as the style guide we created.

The key features we fixed in our high fidelity mockup for leaders was creating an event based on ideal time availability. For members, we made the color gradient for time availability clearer on the profile.

USABILITY TESTING

Member Flow Usability Testing Results
Member Flow Usability Testing Results

Usability Testing | Members

Our team conducted three rounds of usability tests with five users for each round. We conducted two rounds of usability testing on the mid-fidelity wireframes with the third round using high-fidelity mockups

After each round of testing, our team came together to iterate on the designs based on the user feedback from testing.

One key insight we gained from our testing was that many of our users took indirect paths to complete each task. We used this insight to include more paths in our prototype, which increased the usability of our website.

Leader Flow Usability Testing Results
Leader Flow Usability Testing Results

Usability Testing | Leaders

We also conducted usability tests for the leader flow based on each task (complete the training, schedule a meeting, and check the success of a previous event).

Usability improved over the rounds, with some users reporting that they wanted to bypass certain features (training video) or take multiple routes to complete a task.

P3 RESPONSIVE SITE

LESSONS LEARNED & IMPACT

What We Learned

Our team's challenge in designing a custom solution using our client's existing website allowed us to create a more integrated user experience, minimizing frustrations with scheduling and outlining a clear path for members to have greater control over their own membership experience. By improving usability, we aimed to have users focus on what truly matters to them: developing a sense of belonging through the P3 program.

Impact

Our designs are currently being used by the client as a framework for website rebranding. We hope that the information gained through this design project continues to provide members, leaders, and staff with a more streamlined and enjoyable experience.