Webmaker: Product Design Research

Project: Webmaker Product Design 
Date: 2014-2015
Location: Bangladesh, Kenya, India, USA, UK.
Position: Design Research Lead

Webmaker is an Android app built by Mozilla for easily creating and sharing web content on mobile phones. Through this tool, we aimed to give young people the opportunity to work on projects they are passionate about with their peers while having fun. At the beginning of our journey, we focused on emerging digital economies such as India, Bangladesh, and Kenya where people are coming online for the first time through a smartphone.

Because they skipped the personal computer era, young people in these markets don’t have the same perception of what is possible online, and end up being more often trapped in a closed, passive environment which is driven by a few key players (Facebook, telecom operators, etc.). Allowing them to express themselves in their own language while developing their sense of creative thinking was a crucial part of Mozilla’s mission.

As the lead researcher on the Webmaker team, I provided both high-level ethnographic understanding of these communities and this audience, as well as in-depth product testing for designers and engineers. I led countless testing sessions analyzing every possible variation of colors, buttons, navigation styles, branding directions, and creation scenarios.

Our team had wonderfully effective dynamics in which I was able to share regular feedback from my testing and receive refined prototypes from engineers almost immediately. For this project, we came up with compelling workshop designs that I still use in my work today. Below are a collection of photos illustrating some of our processes and detailed UI and UX testing.

To generate realistic prototyping results, we gave people paper building blocks to stick on a surface resembling the screen of a mobile phone. This approach was very fruitful and gave us the understanding that our templates and building blocks were too constraining. Youth enjoyed complexity and creativity, irrespective of their country’s economic status.


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