Building a
safe space for teenage girls

Experience Design - Emotional Design

Building a
safe space for teenage girls

Experience Design - Emotional Design

We set out to add the "real" to fake highlight reels on social media

We set out to add the "real" to fake highlight reels on social media

Research has linked social media usage to a rise in depression for girls and women of all ages. Internet Safety is one of the top 5 ranked issues in the list of health concerns for U.S. children, and yet, counselors at most high schools are outnumbered by students 491 to 1 - So where should they go?

Dr. Julia Garcia, a TEDx speaker and spoken word poet, set out to answer this question. She founded Kya to create a fun, safe, and positive social experience for girls and young women that adds the real to the fake highlight reels. It's a place for girls to share unfiltered stories, seek support from peers, and find inspiration from strong women in their communities along the way.

It started with connection through anonymity

It started with connection through anonymity

After speaking with a lot of the teenage girls at Garcia's talks, we found most of them would feel safer sharing their “true” stories if they were anonymous. So this is where we started.

After conducting more user interviews, we found KYA’s advantages include the following:

  • Anonymity
  • Access through invitation code for exclusivity 
  • Social and emotional connection

 

julia-on-stag

The best way to onboard the girls into the app was through Garcia's talks and events. So, we started sharing access codes at the end of her events that allowed the girls to download the app and stay connected.

KYA personas include the following:

  • Female Athletes
  • Freshmen through Seniors in public high schools
  • Teen girls on probation
  • Teen girls in foster care or who are refugees
  • Teen girls in affluent, low-income and middle-class communities
  • First generation teen girls
  • Teen girls in charter schools or alternative education programs
  • Teen girls in church/faith organizations
  • Ages 13-19
  • Various ethnicities

To make our girls stronger, we had to move past social constructs

To make our girls stronger, we had to move past social constructs

We conducted user interviews with a group of girls that used our beta version. Here were some big takeaways:

  • Majority or teen girls interviewed struggle with self-esteem, anxiety, confidence, body image, relationships and friends
  • Almost every teen girl interviewed would want advice from an anonymous mentor


kya-flow

Because most of the girls wanted actual advice and mentorship instead of only a social network, we created a personality for KYA. She became an AI that would recommend content based on the girls' interests and struggles. 

kya-wireframes
kya-ui

Since the concept behind the app is focused on troubled teen girls, we didn’t want it to feel too soft and feminine. So, we tried to keep a gritty feel by using neutral tones with a handwritten font. This tested better than previous, more traditional feminine designs.

kya-style

275,000 teenage girls have been impacted by Kya
and the number grows to include guys, too

275,000 teenage girls have been impacted by Kya and the number grows to include guys, too.

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Founder Dr. Julia Garcia continues to give teenagers a safe space to connect after her events with Kya. She's visited 100+ cities and impacted 275,000+ lives, and it's not even open to the public yet. Garcia continues to be an inspiration and a positive force to many.

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 © 2020 by Rebecca Kelt

 © 2019 by Rebeccakelt