Empowering young women through an advisorship portal with a revamped UX.
To support the BUILT BY GIRLS mission of helping young women succeed in STEM fields, Codal delivered an upgraded user experience for the organization’s online portal, with improved onboarding and a robust algorithm that better connects advisors and advisees.
BUILT BY GIRLS (BBG) is a non-profit organization that empowers young women by providing guidance and opportunities from some of the leading female voices in STEM.
BBG’s native online portal, WAVE, is a one-stop shop for new members to get onboarded, build their profile, match with an advisor or advisee, schedule meeting times, and receive prompts and conversation topics for their sessions together. But despite its multipurpose utility, WAVE suffered from a poor user experience, with clunky page design and complex navigation.
Codal crafted a three-pronged strategy to give BBG’s native portal the upgrade it sorely needed:
Codal’s partnership with BBG was inaugurated with a week-long, in-person Discovery session—where stakeholders, designers, and other relevant parties collaborated to identify pain points, workshop new ideas, and begin outlining a roadmap to success.
In addition to addressing which UX flaws needed to be addressed first, our Discovery phase focused on how to create, manage, and display content that’s personalized to individual WAVE sessions.
It was imperative the new platform’s initial release was designed, developed, tested, and launched within six months.
To begin, Codal’s UX researchers mined BBG’s existing feedback for actionable data on what users liked and didn’t like about the current version of WAVE. By synthesizing this data from previous feedback, our team was able to circumvent more time-consuming research methods while still tapping into user expectations.
The research collected in this phase informed retooled user flows in the following stage of our design process. Focusing on the mechanics of scheduling and facilitating sessions between advisors and advisees, Codal reimagined WAVE’s form-filling mechanism, as well as how session prompts were provided to users. By leveraging a card-based interface and taking design cues from a “wizard-style” data input, our team streamlined the flow of two major user tasks in WAVE.
The core of the WAVE platform remains the matching function, a system that pairs compatible advisors and advisees. To revamp this highly technical, complex pillar of WAVE, Codal constructed a decision engine that combines user-inputted criteria with machine learning to more accurately match users.
In addition to the technical centerpiece of the web app, Codal also developed a timezone-adaptive scheduling system and a content topic generator that can leverage historical data. To support these complex features, Codal enlisted a cadre of web technologies, including ReactJS, NodeJS, and Python.
After creating a new sitemap, and undergoing multiple rounds of iterative wireframing, we were able to design, develop, test, and launch Version 1.0 of WAVE’s upgrade within six months.
But our collaboration with BBG didn’t end there. After the initial launch, Codal revisited the platform—this time with a little more breathing room.
Seizing the opportunity presented by looser time constraints, our UX design team began conducting more comprehensive research in the form of in-depth user interviews and surveys. To cover BBG’s diverse user base, interviews were held with both advisors and advisees of varying interests, experience, and vocation in the tech industry.
With the launch of WAVE 2.0, we streamlined the scheduling process, reducing the amount of conflicts and needless back-and-forth between advisors and advisees.
The WAVE platform has helped build relationships between over 4,950 female advisors and advisees, and has facilitated over 11,000 hours of one-on-one mentorship in STEM-related fields.