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Boys Who Write

Feb 2023 - Apr 2023
Boys Who Write
Product Designer

In a capstone project of 5 UX designers, I led the design of proof-of-concept mockups for the Boys Who Write web platform, a forthcoming non-profit that aims to help boys develop deeper relationships and communication skills through reading, writing, and mentorship.


As a part of my Master degree's capstone course, my team partnered with Boys Who Write, a forthcoming non-profit to develop a web app platform focused around reading, writing, and mentorship programs for boys. At the project initiation, the non-profit was still at its infancy stage — as such, my team sought to conduct a discovery process to learn about user needs and pain points.

We were also tasked with designing a proof-of-concept prototype that demonstrated key features of the web platform to communicate the product's vision.

My contributions


Conducted user research with target demographic, developing product vision and strategy.

Through interviews and a secondary literature review, we identified our target users and their pain points to outline a vision of the Boys Who Write service.


Developed brand visuals and style.

In addition to the brand styling and graphics, I created a color system for the website and web app platform.


Led the design on a proof-of concept mockup for web app platform.

I created a clickable prototype demonstrating the main features of the Boys Who Write web platform.


Designed and helped ship a responsive website landing page.

I created a clickable prototype demonstrating the main features of the Boys Who Write web platform.

Initiating the project

To initiate the project, we held a meeting with the founder to learn about Boys Who Write and the project scope. As an early-stage project, the founder had beginning ideas of features for a web platform targeted at adolescent boys. With this platform in mind, they planned to pitch the idea to acquire funding, requiring a prototype for demonstration.

However, we found it necessary to take a step back and look at the problem holistically. Who are our users? What are their problems?To validate these ideas, our team outlined a discovery plan to uncover these questions.


Our discovery plan consisted of four main goals — to understand the problem space, investigate the current experiences, uncover pain points, and determine what problem to solve.

Conducting user interviews

To learn about our users, we interviewed ten boys aged 12-17 and one of their parents from across the United States. These interviews focused on learning about boys engage with extracurriculars and literacy. In addition, we also wanted to know how mentorship fits into boys’ lives and how perceive its value.

While conducting our interviews, we found out that the initial age range was skewed too high. Boys we interviewed often stated that they weren’t interested in seeking new hobbies — they were already established in their current extracurriculars, leaving them little time to do new things. Therefore, we adjusted our questions to focus on our participants’ earlier stages in life, corroborating their statements with their parents.

A major caveat was also the targeted group that we interviewed. Our recruitment process only captured boys’ experience from a higher socio-economic demographic. With limited time in our discovery, we opted to focus on this profile as a starting point.

Synthesizing data into artefacts

With our interviews completed, we synthesized our data into a persona and a current state experience map. Taking into account our new age range for our boy user profile, we drafted a younger persona, aged 10.



At this point, our project took a shift.

After completing our research, our team offered to take a service design approach to our solution, opting to assist with program development (i.e. advising on program structure). However, since the founder had limited resources and was seeking funding, we agreed to prioritize designing a proof-of-concept prototype and a website landing page to be used for marketing purposes. As such, we wouldn't have the opportunity to fully utilize our research findings.

Nonetheless, we prioritized which features we wanted to demonstrate, outlining the following user flows to prototype:


Accessing the home dashboard


Signing up for a program


Using a gamification system

During this phase of the project, I took the lead in developing a visual system and workflow for my team.

Developing visuals

With a short turnover period, I based the platform’s design system on Material 3. I drew inspiration from popular teenage platforms, like Discord and Roblox, to resonate more strongly with our target users.

Boys Who Write visual inspiration.


While designing the dashboard, a key question was determining how to style elements in a way that is usable for children. One instance of this designing the dashboard widgets. Initially, many widgets featured a lot of text.

One of the initial iterations for dashboard widgets — too much text!

In a feedback session with a subject matter expert in children’s design, we found that less text would be better suited to our users.

Final iteration of home page, above the fold — calendar widget uses less text.

Program Sign-up

Since programs had not been developed yet, we created a proof-of-concept content template and sign-up process.

An unenrolled program page.
An enrolled program page.


We outlined a concept for a gamification system to incentivize engagement in Boys Who Write programs. We focused on the idea of badges, each with a unique design and accompanying quote. Badges are program-specific and are earned when a user completes a certain task.

Overview of earned program badges.
A list of badges earned in a program.

Landing Page

Lastly, I designed the landing page for Boys Who Write to advertise the platform and its mission to an adult audience. We mainly focused our iterations on content, conducting feedback sessions with three users to ensure that Boys Who Write’s mission and offerings were properly communicated.

Landing page hero.
Content describing Boys Who Write.


Due to the short timeframe of the project, I learned a great deal about managing a project. As a team, we had to make decisions about which UX methods to use and how they would bring value to our client. We did a great job of planning out tasks needed to accomplish our client's brief by playing into each of our team member's strengths. I was able to take lead, developing a visual strategy for the web platform, as well as defining how key features would work. In the end, were able to provide our client with an expanded vision of their product.

This project offered an interesting perspective as we were able to explore the intersecting problems and behaviours of different user groups. I'm glad I had the opportunity to tackle a unique problem and hope to do similar work in the future.

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