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Case Study: Exploring an online women-only community working to elevate women’s status in India

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UX Research on an internet community and identified problems and solutions

👀 Background

I have explored an internet community here.

Why an internet community?

Successful companies, including and especially tech companies, harness the power of community to increase brand awareness, understand customers, improve outcomes, and build brand loyalty.

And not just big companies but there are ample of platforms exclusively built for people who want to connect with peers with similar interests.

Assignment Goal with 10kdesigners was to understand how people spend their time in these communities. Understanding their behavior & usage patterns and using insights from research to suggest possible solutions/products for problems community members face.

🚀 Kick-starting the process

I slept with this thought of finding an online community. Next morning I sat down & decided to find a community for my assignment. 👩🏻‍💻

I explored & explored, but wasn’t able to find a community for my research. There were options, actually a lot, but I didn’t know what I was looking for.

I was about to give up 😕, but then I saw something in Harvard Business Review:

Both men and women benefit from having a network of well-connected peers across different groups. Women who also have an inner circle of close female contacts are more likely to land executive positions with greater authority and higher pay. While there was no link found for the success of men in terms of the gender composition of their inner circles.

This fact left me with a question:- ‘But how will they find that inner circle with similar interests?’

This fact guided me to my search and finally I decided upon researching on an online Women- Oriented Community🎉.

“Success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.” : Serena Williams

🔍Next, I explored few women only community platforms like:

As she said to me when I was asking her the reason for being a part of Women-Only community:

“Now women have understood that other woman is not my enemy but is my ally.”

https://medium.com/media/09a98717532cbeb7a5da20ac6e129a1f/href

Kool Kanya : Women-Only Career Community

I chose this community for my further research and this is a platform for women where:

  • They can ask questions and share their opinions and advice,
  • They can also find suitable work opportunities and can join workshops offered by the community to enhance their skills,
  • They publish blogs and other content that seeks to inspire and educate women.

Kool Kanya

💎Reasons to choose Kool Kanya

👥Large user base: Kool Kanya has a diverse user base spread all over the country with more than 2 Lac registered members. Community also has a good social media presence with 126k Followers on Instagram and 12,793 on LinkedIn.

🤹🏻‍♀️ Focused and committed: Team has clarity over their goals and are not letting everything in to increase revenue. They are very much user centric and having good user retention rate.

🔧 Unique Features: Kool Kanya has curated good resources to enhance member’s skills, has a premium community feature and mentorship for women. Women can also ask their doubts anonymously and it also has a job board. Women can follow groups on the platform as per their interests.

🎯Research Goals

  1. To understand expectations and goals of community members.
  2. To understand how they contribute and engage within the community.
  3. To discover their pain points and later on ideate solutions to improve overall community experience.

⌛Research Process

I followed this process and each step in this process helped me reach the last stage which is ideating solutions for problems of members in the community.

Secondary Research

Sitemap Kool Kanya

I started with a detailed research after joining the community and discovered these services & features by Kool Kanya:

  1. Premium Community

2. Career Coaching/Mentorship

3. Blogs and Events

4. Power User Batches

5. Weekly Leaderboard

6. Pinned posts

  1. Premium Community: They have a premium community apart from main community platform named as “PowerPass” where women can learn about Content and Digital Marketing from experts, can stay updated on market trends to grow audience, and can get practical learnings to help build their career by paying a minimal charge for annual membership.

2. Career Coaching or mentorship: Women can get 1–1 mentorship from industry experts. They can choose any session interests them from 5 mentioned fields i.e. Career Counselling, Portfolio Creation for content creators, Getting Interview Ready, Leveraging LinkedIn and Acing Every Interview.

3. Blogs and Events: Well curated blogs and events to help women with latest trends, new skills and Updated information.

4. Power User Batch: An AI based system calculates the influence score as per user’s activity and assigns Power User Batches to the one who are highly active. Such small gesture encourages users to engage within the community.

5. Weekly Leaderboard: 16 most active users make it to the weekly leaderboard based on their engagement within the community. And if someone makes it there for three weeks in a row, they get free tickets to a paid Kool Kanya event of their choice. This motivates members to actively engage with other people.

6. Pinned Posts: Team members can pin any post they want everyone to see in their feed.

🔑Survey and User Interviews

I reached out to few people personally through messages and also posted my survey on the platform itself.

I received 24 responses within 24 hours. And also approached 5 members and community manager for detailed discussion. We had a talk approximately for an hour.

PS: I also gained few good friends😁.

This research played most important role in helping me know user’s expectations and pain points.

Survey conducted for research:

Post created for survey

Major quantitative findings from this survey are:

  1. 66.7% women discovered this community through Instagram.
  2. 54.2% are also a part of other communities.
  3. 95.8% built a good network within the community.
  4. Only 33.3% could not find any suitable job here.
  5. Only 8.3% never participated in any event/ contest hosted by Kool Kanya.
  6. 100% women who are a part of PowerPass community are also a member of open community platform.
  7. A large no of members devote at least 1–2 hours a day to the community.

Findings from User Interviews

🌐 Most of the women access the community platform from it’s webpage. Even if they are more comfortable with mobile phone, they will not prefer application.

🎁 Team Kool Kanya sends goodies to the most consistent and engaging members once every quarter.

🎉 Community celebrates every small and big achievement with whole community members via Zoom or Google Meet. They have also celebrated festivals like Christmas virtually.

🤝 Active Moderators: Team kool kanya is easily accessible on chat and quickly responds if any member needs any kind of help. They also engage with members via comments. Sharing my personal experience, Team kool kanya also helped me a lot during my research to get maximum responses.

Appreciation posts : They appreciate efforts of their community members and posts about their achievements, like making it to the leaderboard etc. on other platforms like LinkedIn.

👭 Members help each other get a good opportunity by posting into the feed or by recommending other deserving people for any job role. Anyone can join any group as per their interests and can fulfill their purpose of joining the community.

🧊 Transparency : Moderators are very much transparent with the members and there is a proper communication channel within the community. Team is highly user centric and they regularly ask for feedbacks.

🗓️ Most of the members are here from a very long time and they find it unbiased and reliable. They do not wish to leave it soon.

📝 Their influence score is calculated based on the quality of content or answers they are posting and also on how active the person is.

🚫 If someone tries to misuse the platform for their personal moto then their account will get blocked if caught on moderation. Also, someone who identifies himself as a man is not allowed to be a part of this community.

Insights from Research

  • Women are less likely to engage actively on weekends as they access the website through their laptops or PCs while working. But, participation in any event would be more on weekends as most of them are working women and have tight schedules.
  • They don’t see more likes and followers as any inspiration to post regularly but appearing on leaderboard or earning power batch can act as an inspiration for many.
  • Participation in any event highly depends upon the speaker’s experience and skills. Women will invest time wisely in any session even if they have already paid for annual membership.

🎲Affinity Sorting

After user interviews, I grouped the similar findings together and drew a usage pattern from raw observations to define a user persona of a typical Kool Kanya community member.

User Persona

All women join community for their own specific reasons, expectations and have their own likes and dislikes. I drafted this single user persona to present the expectations, goals and pain points of a typical community member.

User Journey Maps

I have mapped the journeys of community members:

  1. Journey of a woman who just discovered the platform and joins it to share her thoughts and build network.
  2. Journey of a member who also joins PowerPass (paid micro community) to learn from experts and interact with members.
  3. Journey of a new member on free community platform
Journey of a free user

2. Journey of a paid community member

Journey of a paid member

🔮Problems and Suggestions

I found pain points of the members through journey mapping. I really like the community and all managers & members are doing a great job in building a safe and friendly environment. Still, I have some suggestions for the problems I identified during my research.

  1. Users find it tough to search like-minded people and to interact with them as they can only search by name or can spot them through comments and likes on posts.

💡 Recommending similar profiles or profiles with mutual connections in the feed section will help them build network easily.

2. A new user hesitates to initiate a conversation on her own, as they feel as an outsider in the beginning.

💡Welcome bots or monthly virtual orientation programs may help user with this.

3. It is very tiresome to visit someone’s profile to follow the person and it results in low engagement on posts.

💡A ‘follow’ CTA can be introduced with the profile icon on person’s posts within feed. It will make it easier to follow someone they find interesting and can get notified whenever this person posts.

4. User switches to other messaging platforms for long conversations and to share any images or documents etc. as they are unable to continue in the platform’s message box for so long.

💡Sharing feature can be added within message box.

5. Almost all of the members access the platform through website and not the application as they find application very much confusing and buggy.

💡Although it’s not a primary requirement but revamping and fixing App’s UI will definitely help in increasing engagement as most of them prefer mobile phones over desktops.

6. Sometimes user misses a job posting he/she was looking for so long. And it is very much frustrating scrolling through the feed to find suitable opportunity.

💡A search filter or a category tag or different groups for different job roles would be helpful in finding a relevant work opportunity for the user.

✌My Learnings

  • One must be having clarity over their goal while interviewing user as too much information may result in a distraction from real problem.
  • People do not join platforms or servers just for the sake of a tag, they join a community to gain something. They have a purpose and preference while choosing a community.
  • Research is a process and it does not need to be smooth. Jumping to the solution before practicing good research might end up on a wrong destination.
  • Community culture is very much helpful in finding user base at a single platform to get feedbacks for improvement. Had this community been scattered, it would not have been easy for me to collect this much information.

I was fortunate enough to end up with this community to find answers for my queries. I am very much thankful to whole Kool Kanya Team to help me with my research. I already feel like a part of this community.

I would not be able to write and publish it without a proper guidance by Himanshu Gupta and detailed feedback sessions by Aishvarya Gupta. I am very much grateful to both of you.😀

Thankyou for reading!😀 Please clap if you like it.👏


Case Study: Exploring an online women-only community working to elevate women’s status in India was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.