New York Women Social Entrepreneurs


Research & Discovery




UX Researcher

UI Designer


Eileen Blancas
Jennifer Chow
Steven Tripari

Company Story

The New York Women Social Entrepreneurs (NYWSE) is a chapter of the Young Women Social Entrepreneurs (YWSE). NYWSE is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide the tools and resources that women need to succeed as business leaders while becoming sustainability experts. Their vision is to empower women to affect change in society as an individual, community member, professional, student, and entrepreneur.

The Challenge

NYWSE has a huge online presence through social media, however their only other web presence is a page on YWSE’s outdated website. The stakeholders at NYWSE wanted to solidify their presence and accountability through a site of their own for new and current members. The catch was that they also wanted to provide the option of a paid membership to help with the cost of resources and events. 

The Solution

To design a responsive website that facilitates current and potential member needs and goals. The website would need to showcase NYWSE’s current events and accomplishments, in order to display a sense of transparency and trust.




3 weeks



Research & Discovery

Competitive/Comparative Market Analysis

Because NYWSE did not have an existing website, our team started with a market analysis, focusing on competing and comparative organizations to get an understanding of how information is presented and structured. We looked at how visitors could learn more about the organization and team, how they would find resources and events, and how memberships and donations worked.

User Survey

The interview process started with a screener survey sent out to NYWSE’s members and social media followers, as well as to those who were in similar organizations. We wanted to see what what motivated people to join and stay within an organization. From the 41 responses received, we reached out to those who were involved with an organization or have been in the past, for in-person and Skype interviews.

User Interviews

We found the following insights from our 9 interviewees: 

  • Most of the interviewees attended events 1-2 times a month.
  • LinkedIn, Facebook, Meetup, and Slack were the top used platforms to find events.
  • Most of the interviewees did not actively search for memberships to join, instead they heard about them through word of mouth.
  • All of the interviewees would be willing donate if the organizations aligned with their values.
  • Donating or joining memberships was considered “worth it” if the organization provided useful and thoughtful information, resources, and connections.
  • Most interviewees were willing to share event information on social media.
  • For the interviewees who could not donate money, would offer to donate time through volunteer work.

What they say

“If the group’s MO matches what I am looking for, then I’ll visit the site for more info.”

“If a networking event doesn’t provide a lot of value, then it’s really just a way for organizers to make more money to benefit themselves.”

“What motivates me to donate is [being] able to see the impact of the work that the organization does.”

“Memberships should have good content, quality people, and good meetings and mixers.”

Defining the Problem

Affinity Mapping

Affinity Mapping was used to synthesize the data found through the user interviews. From our research, we were able to determine the following user goals. Users wanted:

  • Transparency
  • Access to events and resources
  • Access to membership exclusives
  • Open communication lines with chapter leaders and other members

Persona Creation

Trends taken from the synthesized data were then used to create the pains and pleasures of 3 personas, to represent NYWSE’s potential user base. Our main persona is named Susan Miller-Hawkins. She is 42 years old and looking for a career change. Learn more about her and the other two personas in the gallery to the right.

Developing Ideas

Feature Ideation

With our 3 personas in mind, and using our preliminary research, we looked to see if their goals would be met with our competitive and comparative organizations. We took the best feature ideas that tackled the pains and pleasures – and listed them out. Our team then went into a 2×2 Matrix, where we evaluated the synthesized insights into a chart of low to high impaction and low to high expectations. This method of feature ideation was done to get an idea of what users would expect to see, and how much of an impact certain features would make.

Following the 2×2, we went into the MoSCoW Method. This method was done to further break down the list of features, and to quickly select out the most important features needed for our initial designs. We determined that we would implement the “Must” and “Should” features into our designs, as it provided the most validity and security for NYWSE users. We decided to not move forward with the features placed in the “Could” and “Won’t” categories.

Finalized Features

As noted in our affinity mapping, research indicated that users cared about transparency, access to events and resources, and open communication. Here are the features we settled on, and how they help facilitate user goals.

Design Studio

To implement the selected features, our team went into a brainstorming method called Design Studio. For this particular design studio process, we divided the navigations into pages and organized each according to similar potential layouts. 5 minutes were used for rapid wireframing, 3 minutes were dedicated to pitching, 2 minutes were used for critique, and 5 minutes were used for refinement. After each session, we voted on which wireframe sketch was most practical and appropriate for our website.

Card Sorting

Before designing could be transferred to a higher fidelity, we needed to figure out the navigation of the website. Steven and I each had a set of 3 participants. The participants were asked to perform an open card sort, where they organized the given categories and subcategories in the order they felt best. The navigation seen on the wireframes and prototypes are based on the trends we saw in the card sorts.

Information Architecture

Once our features were selected and navigation set, we created the sitemap to solidify how the website would function.

Low-Fidelity Wireframes & Usability Testing

Sketches created during design studio were then transferred by Jennifer into low-fidelity wireframes. Once the wireframes were ready, I created our first clickable prototype in Invision.
Steven and I tested the prototype on 3 people for the first round of usability tests. We found that our first initial designs did not influence testers to sign up for a paid membership, and they could not understand the difference between a paid member and a non-paying member, in terms of both the state of the layout and with the benefits you would receive. The users also seemed confused by the tasks within our user script.

Mood Board & Style Guide

To head into medium-fidelity wireframing, our team created a style guide based on the image NYWSE stakeholders wished to be perceived as. They wanted to appear friendly, open, modern, and professional. We looked at several color combinations and fonts that appeared more rounded and lean, and created a mood board to present to our clients. The following style guide was selected by our team, and approved by our client.

Medium-Fidelity Wireframes & Usability Testing

After colors and typeface had been chosen, Jennifer created medium-fidelity wireframes based on the feedback we had received from our first round of usability tests. Using InVision, I designed interactions for the next round of testing. For this second round, each team member reached out to 2 participants for usability tests. A total of 6 tests were performed for medium-fidelity iterations. Despite being in a higher fidelity, where we assumed color and copy would help aid our participants with their user goals, our users were still confused by repetitive pages and content. The following gallery are contains the design improvements we made based on the medium-fidelity usability tests.


High-Fidelity & Take Aways

Given the amount of feedback we had received from the medium-fidelity wireframes, our team knew we had to do revise and condense content, improve overall design, and create a website that made signing up for a membership a lot more enticing. Through all of our user tests, we found that users were willing to pay for memberships, as long as the organization was reputable, trustworthy, and that they provided a good amount of resources and incentives.

Together as a team, we all worked on creating the high-fidelity wireframes. We made clear of the membership price benefits on the signup page to create transparency, and we added more photos to the front page to give warmth to the organization. The final iteration of the prototype was designed on InVision by me, and tested on 2 users.


The final prototype was well received with plans to launch the new design at the beginning of 2017. The following video is the prototype presented to the NYWSE stakeholders. It is a walk through of the website as Susan, our main persona.

  • Learn more about NYWSE
  • Find events that suit her interests
  • Find out how to contact the organization
  • Find resources
  • Sign up for an NYWSE membership
  • Create an NYWSE profile
  • Browse member profiles
  • Read member blogs
  • Sign out of NYWSE
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