digital explorer

Connecting marginalized communities with the technology, guidance, and resources needed to close the digital divide and promote digital equity.

My role

UX Designer, Researcher, and Project Lead


Design, Research, and Development


Figma, Procreate, Google Suite, Asana


1 week Hackathon +
2 weeks post-event
Two iPhone mock-up screens lying flat.


Discovering a digital divide

As part of a hackathon focused on accessibility, our team began by forming a baseline understanding of the issue we were addressing. We discovered that digital equity and accessibility ensure all individuals and communities have the education, resources, and access needed to succeed in the digital space.
An illustration of three characters creating goals.

Three main pillars

From preliminary research, I discovered that 35% of the population lacks the skills needed to safely and productively engage with a digital environment. There is a specific need in low-socioeconomic areas and marginalized communities. The main factors impacting digital equity are:
Internet Access
Computer Devices
Digital Literacy

Brainstorming a solution

After gathering research surrounding this issue, our team came together to start considering our possible solutions. From these ideas, we were able to separate our solutions into two main categories: providing technology training and creating a welcoming space to access technology.
Affinity map for possible solutions to bridge the technology gap.


Envisioning the audience

With these communities in mind, we drafted up a target user. Our target user has limited technology access and may not have enough of knowledge to use the digital tools available to them. The goal is for them to find tech access and events by filtration categories centered around what type of digital resources they need in order for them to productively engage with a digital environment
A proto-persona for the targeted user group.

Bridging the digital divide

The digital divide became the focus of our project. We wanted to provide a way to close the technology access and knowledge gap that marginalized communities experience. During our research, we found that public services, including libraries and learning centers, offer both classes and devices. However, few community members utilize these spaces due to lack of awareness. We aimed to increase this awareness by providing our target users with a comprehensive and user-friendly platform that provides localized information and resources in order to promote digital equity and literacy and empower users to fully participate in the digital world.

Community informed design

In order to better serve our targeted audience, we needed a clear picture of their experience. We conducted  8 interviews with digital novices and members of marginalized groups. From these interviews we had a few key takeaways:
A summarized affinity map of key user needs from our interview insights.

Finding our flows

We confirmed that there are workshops and resources available, but users need a way to locate and schedule these learning opportunities. Time and a steep learning curve were consistent concerns. By connecting community members with spaces that are already providing information and resources near them, we addressed not only the lack of access, but also the lack of technology guidance and education.
A user flow for finding wifi nearby.


Drawing inspiration

When analyzing competitors in the market, we found no direct competitors offering similar resources. However, we examined 4 competitors that provide event-focused, location-based services.
A competitive analysis chart detailing pros and cons of four main competitors.

Focusing on features

With the features of search filtration, detailed event listings, and an interactive map, along with our user flow, we started to sketch out some of the ideas, both on paper and digitally, to conceptualize possible layouts and features.
Wireframe sketches for the home and map page of a digital access application.


Ease of use is paramount

Following the conclusion of the hackathon, I went on to test our initial prototype with 8 members of our target audience, addressing the primary task of finding classes and devices based on location. These users provided me with some key improvements to address.

5 users
did not notice the search bar option because of the low color contrast

6 Users
wished for a visual indicator showing what services each event is offering

3 users
wanted to browse the map feature without entering their exact location

A side-by-side image of the home page and the improvements made.
A side-by-side image of the home page and the improvements made.
A side-by-side image of the map page and the improvements made.

An app to explore

With these improvements, I ensured that the app design was accessible and allowed various means of exploration. By highlighting events and services nearby, users are more likely and willing to expand their digital knowledge and have greater access to tools they may need to succeed. This interface accomplished the initial goal of connecting marginalized communities to easy and affordable existing technology training and device access points based on location, availability, and resources offered.


Time to reflect

This project taught me to pay close attention to interface design when creating solutions. Considering the audience this project was targeting, it was essential that the interface was clean, straight-forward, and useful. Going forward, I would love to examine a potential onboarding user flow, to aid digital novices with the initial set up and orientation of the app.
An illustration of a character on stairs with a pencil drawing her path upward.

Check out my other work