Career Girls provides career information and inspiration to girls and mentors (teachers and parents) through role models and curriculum materials. While the Career Girls website is a great resource for girls, teachers, and parents, the team felt it was time to inspire girls where they are—on their phones. This mobile app provides girls with access to STEAM career inspiration and resources—right at their fingertips.
This mobile app is specifically geared to girls. Inside the app, girls can explore careers, create avatars, earn achievements, and journal about their career exploration while closing the imagination gap for girls everywhere.
I have known and worked with Roberta on various design projects for the past 16 years. In addition to her training as an artist, she has uncanny vision and judgment about her designs. From the very first time she designed a piece for me, I was amazed at how she can create the perfect vision from my vague or inarticulate description of what’s needed and come up with something that blows me away. I don’t know how she does it but I am always grateful to have use her talents and smarts on my projects.
To recap, she is smart, creative, talented, professional and easy to work with. She is always the first person I think of when I need a visual design.
— Linda Calhoun, Executive Producer at Career Girls
To fund the coding of the app, ’Berta and the Career Girls team applied for an Aquent Design for Good grant. ’Berta starred in the video and pitched the app project. The result? Career Girls was awarded the grant! Apparently, when the President of Aquent saw the clip, she actually got emotional. She really resonated with proposal since her own daughter is the target age of girls who will use the app. ’Berta’s sparkling personality—and little jig— probably didn’t hurt! Watch the grant submission video here.
Assumptions and Considerations
When exploring what the app should deliver, ’Berta and the team decided the app should:
- focus on girls aged 8–12, especially 4th grade girls, as their interest in math and science starts to drop off compared to boys the same age.
- close the “imagination gap”.
- provide “instant inspiration” with short video clips.
- help girls explore the skills they need to develop their career choices—serve as a “Careers 101” guide.
- give girls the ability to browse role model videos based on an their onboarding survey.
- filter careers to explore further for manageability, use ranking to narrow choices.
- track progress through video views, activities completed, and journaling.
- give girls the ability to earn achievements (work spaces, tools/equipment, etc.), maybe certificates—Career Girls Grad?
- be coded by girls.
Working with Career Girls and Black Girls Code, ’Berta:
- met with the team to brainstorm their needs, channel their experiences with users, and get a better sense of the content to be delivered.
- submitted a grant proposal for the Aquent Designing for Good awards, which provides funding to deserving nonprofits to move projects forward. Career Girls as one of five 2018 grant recipients.
- worked with the teams to conduct and analyze research, concluding that there aren’t really any similar apps available for girls.
- created sketches, wireframes, and prototypes, iterating through the process to solidify the hero flow and deliverables.
- as the Project Manager, provided strategy, process guidance, and set and coordinated checkins and schedules.
- provided final assets and style definitions to the coding team.
’Berta’s Process: Defining the Variables
Identifying the problem, goal and solution statements:
Problem: Girls’ interest in STEM often drops off around grade 4.
Goal: To give girls a portal to explore that’s uniquely geared to them, while increasing their accessibility to role models and empowering them to dream BIG!
Solution: Create a mobile app that allows girls greater/faster access to role models and reinforcement in a way that allows girls to save and track their progress through a login model.
Defining UX Principles
Inclusive: Girls can use the app regardless of age, race, religion or social/economic status
Educational: Informs and educates girls about careers and provides factual information
Empowering: Inspires girls with a wide range of interesting career possibilities
Easy to use: Intuitive, clean interface—not cluttered
FUN!: Fun graphics and engaging content
Free: Low barrier to use, and non-paid
’Berta’s Process: Identifying the Target Audience
Demographics: girls 8–12 years old (skew younger) with a more abstract notion of “When I grow up I want to be . . .”
Context: Content accessed through a mobile phone app, anywhere girls would have connectivity such as home, school, or group activities or events (i.e. Girl Scouts)
Goal(s): Explore careers and get life advice through different paths while achieving career exploration goals
Priorities/Pain Points: Creating an easy-to-use app to make career exploration FUN without being overwhelming, so girls can gain more access to career inspiration and exploration (stem the drop off of girls in STEM).
’Berta’s Process: Conducting Competitive Analysis
Whole researching existing apps in the space, ’Berta discovered that there really aren’t many “like” apps geared to girls of this demographic. Most apps are geared to college-age students or professionals looking for jobs. Also, the existing apps that are for girls tend to be beauty or fashion focused.
- Career information
- Easy connectivity
- Way to rank careers based on interest level
- Way to track progress
- Focus on career path without barriers to success or path completion
- Gain inspiration and information about potential careers
- Eventually have a way to plan next steps such as: which classes to take, internships, etc. (optional)
The Career Girls App Provides:
- Easy connectivity for users
- A clear career focus
- A path for career exploration without being overwhelming
- A way to track girls’ progress through the app
Career Girls App Goals:
- Inspire girls to get interested in careers (esp. STEM)
- Create a base of repeat users
- Generate user engagement and follow through
How Is Career Girls Different?
- The app:
- is specifically geared to girls aged 8–12 with career exploration and objectives NOT pigeon-holed into beauty or fashion.
- focuses on stemming the flow of girls dropping out of STEM studies.
- is not too girly.
- is not specifically focused on college readiness or planning, but more on inspiration.
- is geared towards STEM, but also includes other career fields such as the arts (STEAM).
’Bert’s Process: Determining MVP Release Features
- Onboarding survey: no more than 5-6 questions
- Filtered video results based on survey: grid of role model clips (60 second intros) through YouTube embedded links
- Girls can explore as many career paths as they want
- Ability to save favorite clips and journal about what they’ve seen
- Video, activity, reward
- Ability to do basic exploration and activities with no account (won’t save info)
- Optional features for initial release:
- Overview welcome/tutorial clip: on first use (no longer than 1:30 or shorter)
- Avatar creation
- Integration with social media sharing (optional)
’Bert’s Process: Sketches
’Berta’s Process: Wireframes
’Berta’s Process: User Testing
Working with a local San Francisco elementary school, Career Girls created a Girls Club that meets every week to do activities and talk about careers. ’Berta and the team leveraged access to the Girls Club to talk to the girls about the app, and to get their feedback on wireframes. Through this, the team gained valuable insight about what girls wanted to see in an app. ’Berta and the team also tested with other girls, conducted a survey, and met with female curriculum developers to get their insights into what works and doesn’t work to inspire young girls to do activities. Having daughters themselves, these developers had had invaluable insight into what motivates girls to become engaged and to learn.
’Berta’s Process: High-fidelity Wireframes
Final Results and Deliverables
This project is still in progress. The Black Girls Code team (with the help of their Apple and Pinterest mentors) presented Phase 2 of the app development in July, in which they:
- presented their backend database coding functionality including account creation and login.
- worked on the Android version as well as updating the iOS version of the app.
- showed the YouTube integration into the app.
During Phase 1, a previous team of works worked with their Apple mentor to:
- create the login page/functionality look and feel.
- create the onboarding survey.
- create the dashboard (i.e. video filter page), which is currently populated through YouTube links. The app opens YouTube and then the user closes the window after watching the video.
- start the Career Journal functionality.
A great experience, the Black Girls Code teams have learned valuable, real life coding skills they can use in their careers moving forward. The app is being coded by girls for girls—squarely in keeping with Career Girls’ mission. Phase 3 is already underway with the identification of two new girls, and the same two mentors (iOS and Android). Work will begin in the next few weeks to review the progress that’s been made (in conversation with the previous team), and will involve fleshing out the remaining functionality, and posting a beta release for girls to test out by late spring of 2020. Shortly after Phase 3 is complete, testing, refinements and bug fixes will begin. Stay tuned for updates!