Afripedia

In this three month project we helped Afripedia create a learning platform to empower creatives with African descent worldwide.

afripedia-thumbnail

Project Overview

Background

Afripedia is a digital platform that aims to change the narrative within the global creative community by highlighting and empower talent of African descent.

The Brief

Create a learning platform to empower Afripedias current network of creatives around the world.

Purpose of the project

Empower creatives with knowledge and connections that will help them move forward in their careers.

Team

5 UX design students in Hyper Island.
I was involved in every part of the process.

Time

3 months from August-November 2020

Deliverables

Research and insights on the target group. A user-tested prototype of the learning platform ready to show to investors.

The Creatives

Target Group

Emerging and established freelance creatives of African descent. Age 22-45 years old and based in Stockholm, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Nairobi, Lagos & Johannesburg. We used Google Analytics to find demographics to get an overview on who's using Afripedia's platform today.

Interviews with the creatives

After exploring Afripedias current platform and the e-learning business we felt ready to form hypotheses and get to know Afripedias network of creatives by gathering some qualitative data.

Afripedia users geography

We started with a first round of interviews with 14 participants. We color coded our transcripts and drew some conclusions.

First interview insights
Second round of interviews with creatives

From our insights, we created new interview questions and went more in-depth on what we still wanted to know more about- how the creatives want to learn, what their view on mentorship is and how they naturally seek different kinds of knowledge. We learned that they

  • Use YouTube, Instagram or write messages and e-mails for answers on technical, non-personal questions.
  • Want personal contact through video calls or similiar when it comes to personal guidance, more complex or personal questions.
  • Like to share knowledge as well, even if they're not professionals yet.

This was important for us to think about as we realized that there was a need for different communication channels for different type of questions. For a technical question they would think it took too long to book a video call with someone and wait for the answer that might be a Google search away.
It was also interesting to find out that creatives wish to share their knowledge among each others as well, in a simpler way.

From all the data we had on our creatives, we created an Empathy Map and a persona.

Empathy Map Creatives
Top Quote Creatives

We chose this Top Quote because more than one person said something similiar and it summed up a lot of aspects in what it's like to be a creative freelancer today. It's not enough to learn the creative craft, you also need to know a lot of things around it in order to turn it into your full-time profession. To use our research later on in the process we turned our insights into Need Statements, and then into "How Might We"- questions to lay a good foundation for ideation and problem-solving. Our HMW- questions for the creatives were:

How might we questions 1- Creatives
How might we questions 2- Creatives
How might we questions 3- Creatives
How might we questions 4- Creatives
How might we questions 5- Creatives
How might we questions 6- Creatives

The Mentors

Target Group

We reached out to highly skilled professionals with African descent that can teach something that the creatives want to know.

We wanted to learn

  • What title these people identified as and what the difference was between mentor, coach, advisor, expert.
  • How people worked with sharing their knowledge in terms of time, channels & payment.
  • What in coaching gave them value apart from money.
Diversity Experts

We also talked to diversity experts to learn what challenges our creatives have to overcome in the industry.

Our key take-aways from talking to them was

  • If companies & organizations aren't diverse, it's hard for them to design for inclusiveness
  • Differences in resources or network leads to some people having less access to help regarding legal matters
  • It's the organization's responsibility to make sure POC are heard as much as others

For the mentors we created an Empathy Map and Persona using the same process we did for the creatives to easier be able to build a product that meet the needs of both target groups.

Empathy Map Mentors
Top Quote Mentors

We chose this Top Quote because many of the mentors and experts had a big need to have their role defined in the right way. This was important to manage expectations among clients and to connect the right coach to the right creative. After our research with mentors we collected our insights, turned them into Need Statements and created the following "How might we"-questions to meet them:

How might we questions 1- Mentors
How might we questions 2- Mentors
How might we questions 3- Mentors
How might we questions 4- Mentors
How might we questions 5- Mentors
How might we questions 6- Mentors

More research

Survey

We wanted to quantify some things through a survey that we sent out to creatives in our target group. It was a short survey with some demographic questions and three main ones. We tried hard, but regardless we didn't manage to get enough answers to reach statistical significance. It was a bit of a disappointment, but we chose to take the answers and the learnings with us. The answers on the main questions looked like this

Survey results nr 1
Survey results nr 2
Survey results nr 3
Instagram stories

We used Afripedias Instagram account, which has close to 9000 followers, to put out some stories and check the interest for Afripedias new Learning platform.
First, we asked user to sign up with their e-mail. We didn't get that many answers, and our analyze was that we didn't provide enough information. We believe that it's better to ask this question when we can show what they're actually signing up for.
Then we tried to do simple this/that. This time we got a lot of engagement, but since we put the alternatives next to each other two and two we couldn't properly rank all the alternatives. We learned a little bit more about the interest of the creatives and we learned that it's easier to get people to engage in Instagrams polls than text input.

Instagram polls

Product Wiki

Turn research into business intelligence

We needed a way to deliver our research and findings that would enable anyone from Afripedia to look into it, use it and build on it in the future. We decided to collect all our data in a Product Wiki in Notion. We used this as a living document throughout the project, and added on our progress continuosly. From the first interview to the final prototype & business ideas.

Research Wiki

Ideate

Working with the "How might we's"

We started out with putting the creatives' and the coaches' HMW's together and looked at which ones were connected to features in the platform, and which ones were connected to the bigger picture or content of the product.

Then we ideated on each question, some of them we put together. We dot voted on our ideas and put our favorites in Impact/Effort crosses to prioritize which ones were important to include in the product.

Impact/Effort model 1
Impact/Effort model 2
Impact/Effort model 3
Impact/Effort model 4
Coaches or mentors? Time to decide the title

After this we needed to decide what to call the roles. Coaches/trainees, mentors/mentees or experts/students. Since we have a broad spectrum of people who can help the creatives it was a bit hard to define. The people we interviewed had a few different roles that they preferred to be presented at, but most people could agree on that mentor/mentee is the most including title. The title mentor isn't 100% defined and not everyone understands what it implies, so it's up to us to explain clearly what the creatives can expect when contacting a mentor in Afripedia's platform.
From our research we understood that a coach is someone who brings out the best in the person and help them helping themselves rather than giving them the answers. An expert is someone who gives the answer, but doesn't necessarily focus on the person to make sure that it's used in the right way. A mentor is a little bit of both, depending on the situation and what the mentee needs. That's why we chose to call them mentors going forward.

Prototype

Flowchart Happy Path

We chose to start prototyping the part of the product that best would communicate what it is and how it's used for both creatives and mentors. For the mentors we could also use the onboarding to do further research by putting questions like "Do you plan to offer one-time sessions or more sessions over a longer period of time?" to get to know our mentors even better.

Lo-fi prototyping, testing and iteration
Lo-fi Prototype Search


On the first page, where you enter as mentee, we wanted to give some information about how it works. We tried a few ways of doing so, but realized after a bit of testing that the three steps on top was very confusing and misleading to users. We tried a short intro text instead and then present the search bar directly. The users understood what they could do on the platform from that.

Lo-fi Prototype Onboarding


For the onboarding of mentors we tried a few different things. We tried having a long onboarding with simple steps, one question per page. Then we tried having more questions per page and leaving most of the info for the mentor to fill in themselves in their profile afterwards.
We realized that the best way to do it was to let them fill in as little information as possible to sign up, and then be able to fill in their profile themselves whenever they had time.
We also realized that we didn't want just anyone to become an Afripedia mentor by signing up only. Afripedia wants to approve them first. So we created an application form instead, as short and to the point as possible. Then the application is sent to Afripedia, who then accepts it and sends out a confirmation email with a link to access the mentor profile.

Lo-fi Prototype Testing

Results

Main page
Mentor profile
Onboarding step 1
Onboarding step 3
Onboarding step 2
Mentee dashboard

Comment from the client