Digital Community for Women

*Disclaimer: To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I’ve removed market research data from this case study.


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Project Snapshot


Four product team members, 5 client staff members


UX Researcher. I also designed screens for the member payment flow.


1 month


To increase attendance, excitement, engagement, and deep relationship building within professional interest sub-groups


Parity Partners, a “for purpose” startup organization, aims to address the scarcity of women in high impact leadership roles by train the next generation of female leaders for leadership positions. One of its signature initiatives, the Parity Professional Program (P3), was created to help women advance their mission by helping women build targeted networks and develop skills to accelerate their careers.

P3’s program comprises of groups, known as “pods”, which are a key part of the success of the program as they offer curated content and in-person, focused group activities. However, these pods had mixed results. As these pods are manually curated by Parity Partner staff by industry experience, tenure, professional goals, and availability, staff identified this process as “incredibly time intensive, manual, and frustrating.”

What does community mean to you?


Stakeholder Research & Ideation Sessions

Our UX team conducted a design ideation workshop with the Parity Partners teams to explore the problem space and generate design ideas to meet their business needs. During our initial stakeholder ideation sessions with 4 key staff members, we identified the following key assumptions and findings:


  • The Parity Partners team identified attendance, excitement, engagement, and deep relationship building as foundational elements of pod success.
  • Their target audiences were:
    • Primary: P3 members who need to get matched with a Parity Pod and attend meetings.
    • Secondary: Pod Leaders who host and facilitate pod meetings and serve as mentors to pod members; and P3 staff who manage the pod selection process and engagement at a high level.


  • The team desired to move toward a self-selection system for pod organization, where members could opt into groups based on their professional tenure, experience, interests, and availability.
  • They wanted to learn more about what made pods successful or unsuccessful, and what additional factors they could use when building successful Pods.
  • Pod Leaders would provide their bios, areas of expertise, and availability in prior to the pod assignment process.
  • Pods would contain tags that the UX design team have identified during user research impacting attendance and engagement
  • P3 members would self-select a pod they are excited about that meets their availability
  • In order to receive prompt payment, they desired to implement a timed ticketing system to hold the new members’ selection for a specified period
  • Once a pod reaches the maximum number of members (10), that group would no longer be available to provide for better group engagement.

Business Goals

During these sessions, Parity Partners project partners identified their primary goals and secondary goals for this design project:

Primary goals:

  1. Reduce staff time spent curating pods
  2. Reduce movement between pods
  3. Increase attendance for pods

Secondary goals:

  1. Encourage users to pay for membership more quickly
  2. Increase excitement around pods

To ensure the success of these goals, the P3 staff identified metrics based on their business goals:

  • Less time spent by P3 staff on curating pods
  • Less movement between pods after program launch
  • Increased pod attendance and engagement
  • Higher satisfaction among Pod members (measured through survey rating scores 1 through 10 on pod experience)
  • Higher satisfaction among Pod leaders (measured through survey rating scores 1 through 10 on pod experience)
  • Faster conversion rate for new membership applicants
  • Membership renewal rates
  • Increased member referrals to the P3 program

Project Constraints

Since Parity Partners did not have a full-time tech team, they preferred solutions that were “out-of-the-box” solutions but were able to engage their contract developers to create a fully customized solutions, as needed. Staff proposed a platform that would integrate with their website, with potential app development in the future.

Feature Prioritization

Our meet the business needs and constraints of our client, our team conducted a workshop with P3 staff to align on features that would be implemented on the first feature rollout. Based on the workshop, the feature prioritization for key elements were:

Full feature prioritization document can be found here.

Market Research

Our user experience team conducted desk research to develop business competitive and comparative matrices, which we used to assess product-market fit by surveying the current landscape of organizations which served the professional development of women.

Our user experience team conducted desk research to develop business competitive and comparative matrices, which we used to assess product-market fit by surveying the current landscape of organizations which served the professional development of women.

P3 Competitive Matrix
P3 Competitive Matrix
P3 Comparative Matrix
P3 Comparative Matrix

Next, our team conducted feature analysis research using the companies identified in the competitive and comparative matrices to outline the key features of each organization’s structure, event components, and benefits compared to Parity Partners.

We worked with staff to analyze their recent market research survey of their membership and to recruit members of the P3 program for user interviews.

Next, our team conducted feature analysis research using the companies identified in the competitive and comparative matrices to outline the key features of each organization’s structure, event components, and benefits compared to Parity Partners.

Competitive Feature Analysis_P3
Competitive Feature Analysis Summary
Comparative Feature Analysis Summary

Full feature analysis document can be found here.

User Research

In addition to our stakeholder ideation meetings with P3 staff, we conducted 5 remote interviews with P3 general members and pod leaders to understand their motivations, behaviors, and needs. We drafted a research guide with the following primary questions:

  • Can you tell us about your experience with pod selection process?
  • Can you tell us about the first interaction with your pod?
  • Can you tell us about the last pod meeting you had?
  • In your opinion, what makes a pod successful?
  • In your opinion, what makes a pod leader successful?

We then synthesized results from our interviews using affinity mapping to identify patterns, laddering up to themes, which we then summarized in the voice of P3 members:

Photo of group of women laughing

P3 Member Insight(s)

“I want to be surrounded by people with the same experience and professional level as myself.”

“I want to build deep relationships with my fellow pod members.”

“I want to accomplish my personal and professional in my pod.”

“I don’t understand how the pod matching process works.”

“I feel uninformed by P3 staff.”

“I want to know what membership benefits I’m paying for.”

“I look for engaged and knowledgeable leaders for mentorship”

“I find scheduling pod meetings to be difficult, frustrating & time-consuming”


Self-selection podding process categorized by interests and different stages of professional development

Streamlined and clear membership intake process

Database for leaders to access P3 resources and activities for pod meetings

Scheduling system to find flexible and optimal meeting times for members

Research Analysis Summary:

  • Users engage with a mix of online and offline professional development content, with a preference for offline content (i.e. meeting, events)
  • Users would like to develop community within pods through shared experience, goals, and professional development life stages
  • Users identified that pod leaders who are engaged, dedicated and serve as mentors to the group make them feel more encouraged
  • Clarity around the selection criteria for both the P3 admissions process and P3 pods would increase member compatibility and retention within pods
  • Users would like the to accomplish shared goals within their pod meetings
  • Users become frustrated with complicated scheduling and inconsistent attendance within pods


Following our synthesis and analysis of qualitative interviews, we developed 3 personas for the main user groups: pod members, pod leaders, and P3 staff.

P3 Member Persona
P3 Member Persona
P3 Leader Persona
P3 Leader Persona
P3 Staff Persona
P3 Staff Persona

User Journey

Next, we developed the user journey for the primary persona based on insights from the qualitative interviews as well as P3 program key touchpoints. A key factor in the program that we illustrated in the user journey was that early career professionals were eligible to advance to senior and/or leadership positions after they reach 7 years of professional experience.

P3 User Journey
User journey for P3 pod member

Design & Testing

Tech Considerations

We also collaborated with Parity Partners’ website developer to identify technological constraints that would affect the designs and user flow, and prioritized Parity Partners’ need for “out-the-box” solutions versus custom designs for the first feature. We identified several APIs our client used (ex. membership management, payments, social media, event management, and geolocation services) that would need to be integrated into the design. 

We also defined the information hierarchy needed to integrate the platform into the website based on the behaviors, needs, and goals of members, leaders, and staff.

P3 Sitemap

User Flow

We developed user flows for both pod members and pod leaders to define the “ideal” path both customer segments would take to complete the main tasks as identified by the user research.

Pod Member Task Flow
Pod Leader Task Flow

Responsive Design: Mobile Wireframes

We developed mobile wireframes for our responsive design so that our designs would render on mobile devices. This would also meet the needs of our client’s membership and create a seamless experience from desktop to mobile.

P3 Mobile Design Screen 1
P3 Mobile Design Screen 2

User Profile Page - Editing View

User Profile Page

Pod directory on mobile
P2 Pod Profile for mobile

Pod Directory Page

Pod Profile Page

Responsive Design: Desktop Wireframes

Our team created mid-fidelity wireframes for the member user flow, pod leader flow. Although we removed the staff flow from design prioritization, we created rough wireframes to better communicate how staff resources and communication would incorporate with the member and leader flows.

Member flow design priorities:

The mid-fidelity wireframes focused on the business goal of having members select their own pods based on pod matches.

Mid-Fi pod directory page on desktop
Recommendation match percentage

Leader flow design priorities:

The pod leader wireframes focused on creating events based on aggregated member availability.

Event scheduling system
P3 schedule availability

We conducted an initial wireframe test with the developer, and made adjustments to the designs based on the following tech recommendations:

  • Create overview page to present users with the overarching things they need to know at the beginning of the onboarding process
  • Add “soft landing” to improve user flow and page transitions (specifically on payment processing)
  • Create a filter for main pod page
P3 Dashboard
Leader resource database
P3 Style Guide

Style Guide

Our team worked with our client to identify a style guide for the platform based on the existing  color scheme, typography, logo and headers of the existing Parity Partners Website.


Our team conducted three rounds of usability tests with five users each round for the member and leader flows. The first two rounds of testing were conducted on the mid-fidelity wireframes. The third round of testing was conducted while using high fidelity wireframes.

Member Flow

We developed a usability testing guide to analyze the usability of the proposed mid-fidelity wireframes based on three main tasks:

  • Task #1: Find a pod and complete payment
  • Task #2: Update your availability
  • Task #3: Message the pod leader

While there were no failed results in testing, many of our users took indirect paths to complete tasks, most notably on Task #1 (finding a pod and completing a payment) and Task#3 (message the pod leader).

Member Usability Round 1
Member Usability Round 2

The following are key changes we made to the usability based on usability session feedback:

  • Make the payment process more delightful: Users thought the transition between the pod profile page and payment page was jarring. Users also thought the timer in the initial wireframes was intimidating due to its size. Our design team incorporated soft transition pages that informed the user about what they are paying for and re-sized the timer.

Round 1 design

Pod payment page

Round 2 iteration

Pod payment page
Updated pod payment timer
  • Create multiple paths to complete a task: Users were able to complete tasks but thought that creating multiple paths would help them directly complete a task. For example, we added “Messages” in the navigation bar and included the ability to message someone from their profile.
Member flow multiple paths
Profile messenger
  • Make the availability calendar clearer: Feedback from our users indicated that updated the availability based on individual hours in the calendar was cumbersome and confusing. Additionally, some users noted that the gray gradients for the mid-fidelity wireframes made it difficult to differentiate the different selections on the calendar. Based on this feedback, we designed the calendar to have members select availability for meetings based on general time of day (mornings, afternoons, evenings) on the high-fidelity wireframes.
Schedule picker

After making changes to the designs to accommodate user feedback, our third round of usability testing showed improvement from the first two rounds based on the previous feedback. Our team noted that users took more indirect paths for this round, specifically for Task #2 “update your availability”. Users noted that they wanted to edit their availability directly from the calendar integrated into the profile page instead of clicking into the “Edit Profile” section of the page.

Member usability testing round 3

Leader Flow

We developed a usability testing guide to analyze the usability of the proposed mid-fidelity wireframes based on three main tasks:

  • Task #1: Complete the onboarding process
  • Task #2: Schedule a meeting for pod members
  • Task #3: Check the success of a previous event

While there were no failed results in testing, many of our users took indirect paths to complete tasks in Task #3.

Usability testing round 1 - leaders
Usability Testing for leader flow - round 2

The following are key changes we made to the usability based on usability session feedback:

  • Users desired to see progress indicators while completing the leader training. We combined the training video and clarified the copy to provide more cohesion with the training module
Pod leader training video
  • Users were confused by the separation of  statistics and events. They also wished to go to a previous event page to see  statistics of it. We moved the event reviews to the event summary page.
Pod page iterations
  • Users thought that scheduling by the hour was cumbersome. We  simplified the calendar by changing the availability selector to broader times per day (morning, afternoon, evening).
Scheduler iteration
  • Users wanted to see the event they created  without having to go into the event’s page. We added the event preview page for the
Event page preview

While there were no failed results in testing, many of our users took indirect paths to complete tasks in Task #3. We added functionality to the user path by allow users to select the event name directly instead of navigating to past events on the group page.

Round 3 of usability testing for leaders

Results, Recommendations, & Reflections


Our research found multiple avenues in which we can enrich and improve upon Parity Partners’ online site for the P3 program in order to create a cohesive digital ecosystem for their pod members. To meet this goal, we propose the following recommendations:


  • Streamline the process for joining and paying for a pod through the pod self-selection process
  • Create filter options for pod members to find suitable pods based on their availability, interest or location
  • Integrate payment options to complete the process to join a pod
  • Improve the visibility of pod members, leaders by creating linkages on profile images
  • Create profiles with calendar to enable optimal meeting time support
  • Add functionality for direct individual and group messages


  • Add functionality for direct individual and group messages
  • Streamline the onboarding process for pod leaders through instructional video content and a knowledge check (quiz) to activate pod membership
  • Provide functionality for pod leaders to create events with optimal meeting times for pod members
  • Increase engagement on the website by simplifying the event review for pods and pod leaders
  • Develop administrative dashboard to track KPIs, member payment tracking, and resource database


Member Flow: Pod Self-Selection

Pod Member Page
Pod leader profile

Member Flow: Membership Payment

Order Review
Checkout page - final review
Payment confirmation page

Member Flow: Member Profile

P3 member profile
P3 member message

Leader Flow: Onboarding Training

P3 leader onboarding quiz

Leader Flow: Create an Event

Pod leader - create event page
Pod leader - create event page (filled)

Leader Flow: Upcoming & Past Events

Upcoming event summary page
Previous Event Summary


As a member of professional development organizations, I was excited to work on a project that would help create an ecosystem to support women’s advancement in professional leadership positions. After completing this project, I’ve noted some ways to improve the processes in order to tailor the designs to better align the identified audiences:

  • Work more closely with the developer: it would have been useful to involve the developer in the initial design ideation sessions with the client to set more realistic goals of what was feasible given budget, time, and tech constraints. We discovered some of these constraints after iterating on the mid-fidelity wireframing, however, we could have incorporated some of these changes during the ideation phase.
  • While we were completing our design, their senior leadership decided to rebrand the company and use our designs and prototype for their. Given this information, our team could have developed a specification planning document that could be transferred to the rebranding firm, as we only provided the specification planning to the client and developers. Also, it might’ve been useful to spend more time on the usability of the user flows since the aesthetic would completely change.
  • Moving forward, it would be useful to work with the clients to audit third-party systems and their interactions with the primary interface to improve the user flows from the website to external platforms.
    • More research is needed to see how the third-party systems create a feedback loop to their platform, what problems users experience, and how we can create a better experience between those transitions
  • More research is needed to understand P3 staff’s behaviors, needs, and frustrations while using their SaaS platform for membership management. Since I had administrative and technical knowledge of the SaaS platform they were using, I could focus particular questions on how P3 staff integrated their membership management with the prototype we developed.

Overall, our recommendations aimed to meet the goals of Parity Partners’ P3 experience, resulting increased streamlined orientation processes, increased use of P3 websites, and ultimately higher member satisfaction for members, leaders and staff. The new phase of research should be conducted to understand how the platform is implemented by the developer and new rebranding team, and gain insight into the user experience for P3 members once the platform’s designs are implemented.

Card art photo by Retha Ferguson from Pexels.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 2020.