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Prototyping Phase 1: Women's Safety Challenge

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Cansu Akarsu is our current volunteer Challenge Community Prototyper. You'll see her popping up across the Women's Safety Challenge with handy tips about prototyping. Below she outlines her prototyping process for this challenge.

As a part of my Community Prototyper role, I will be prototyping an idea from the Women's Safety Challenge in the field. In my first post I broke down the prototyping process into three steps, the first of which is creating a storyboard of the user journey. Presenting the idea with visuals + language communicates the idea to the audience easier and helps you get to know your user needs in greater depth. 

The idea I selected to prototype is Women’s Pool: Journey Sharing Platform, which creates a carpooling-based platform for women to connect and travel through urban areas together to feel safer.  This idea feels especially relevant to me because having grown up in İstanbul, I have practiced sharing a taxi or walking together with other women several times. Additionally, this idea already has momentum in two major cities: Mathieu, the idea’s author, lives in Paris and he’s partnered with the Design Tinkering Club in New York. They’re both enthusiastic about prototyping the idea in their own urban areas. 

Mathieu and I used this wonderful template by and +Acumen for laying out a user’s journey. It’s a great way to explore how a user interacts with the prototype and it opens up unexpected insights as we walk through the journey. Check it out:

What we learned by going through this process:

By writing and visualizing each step, we thought about potential obstacles and challenges for the user in new ways. Also, for the first time we considered what other stakeholders might be relevant in the process. 

New user needs we discovered:

How will Shalmali record her schedule? Originally there was no concierge, but we realized there would need to be a point person to provide information, record user schedules, and be a beacon in the station.

How will she find her partner? Ways to identify women as a participants will be useful - we're suggesting a badge. What do you think?

How will her partner continue her journey after they reach the first destination? We realized there was a safety gap between houses. After the first destination, a person from Shalmali's family might be asked to join the final mile for her partner.


Moving forward, we will be considering how to test this idea in the field. In the comments section of the idea, there has been a lot of discussion on 'feeling safe' – how might a women feel when taking a specific journey alone versus going with a stranger? We are using the comments on the idea page for insights to improve as we go.

Everyone is welcome to contribute. Please join the conversation and share your thoughts on what tool we might use to prototype the pool in a physical space. What questions might we ask the users for feedback? Also, if you are from Istanbul, Paris or New York and would like to participate in this process, let us know!

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Interesting concept. I like some of ideas from your concept. I really am enjoy reading it.

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