A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about how chuffed I was to be chosen as a lead mentor for InnovateHer, and what we got up to in our first two weeks. Highlights included an app that helps kids with asthma, where a chip is connected to their lungs and sends notifications to them via their phone or smart watch to alert them to take care of their respiratory system. Amazing!
Myself and a brilliant Freelance User Experience Researcher, Clara, are helping a group of girls come up with a solution that uses technology to help Alder Hey Hospital out with a number of problems they face in just 8 sessions. So, it’s really pretty useful stuff!
As a quick recap InnovateHer gives people, like me, the opportunity to mentor girls ages 11-16, and inspire them to pursue jobs in the tech industry or even just make them more aware of possible jobs that may in the past have been seen as a ‘man’s’ role.
Right, diving into weeks 3 and 4:
This week was really fun! We started wireframing, which is one of my passions as a designer, so to be able to show off some off the wireframe work we’ve done at DigitalBridge and it’s value was amazing. It really helped open their eyes, and I was really impressed with how they got into it and into the mind of a UI designer. Thinking about the user interface, but most importantly, why it should look a particular way. The detail the girls went into was fantastic. I worried after this strong start that transferring them to a digital prototyping platform would scare them off, but I was wrong.
By the end of the class, when I had to tell the girls that time was up, I received a loud “AWWW NOO!” It’s amazing to see that what we’re doing is having such an impact on them.
I’ve got to admit, I was a bit nervous about this week. Introducing anyone to new software is always tricky, and trying to teach a full class how to prototype pretty daunting.
We started with a fun visual icebreaker, drawing up a grid I gave the girls a word - Apple. The girls quickly had to draw whatever came to mind that was apple related, and as is becoming a theme, they blew me away. In fact the girls were thinking so brilliantly outside the box that it wasn't until later in the game that an actual apple was drawn! It was apple juice, apple trees, Apple watches, apple pies and even an adam’s apple that made the cut before an actual apple itself. Nerves were then firmly to one side, as I knew the girls were going to smash it, and of course they did
The girls got stuck right into the digital prototyping side, automatically grabbing their laptops and logging in. Also I’d like to say how impressed I was at how they automatically got back into the groups we had set them at the beginning of the program. They’re really starting to get the hang of it now!
Within 20 minutes they were prototyping away, making their apps for the brief, and really taking their time on details. They took it beyond wireframing (by themselves) and started thinking about the designs, logos and colours - which was fantastic. I was also impressed at how precise they wanted their designs to be, with pixel perfection nudging their images around to make sure it was dead centre on the page. It was a joy to see them working together, sharing the laptop around to give each other a fair go at implementing their ideas. Rather than their prototyping skills, it was seeing the girls working together as a team, and even seeing some of the quieter girls really come out of their shell that impressed me the most this week. It was a joy to watch.
Next week, we’re off on a field trip and we’re all buzzing (yes even me!).
This experience so far has been such a rewarding one. If you’d like to find out more about InnovateHER or how you can get involved visit: https://www.innovateher.co.uk/