An e-learning platform bridging the digital divide in New York City. With user-friendly navigation and multi-lingual support, it offers digital literacy training, educational resources, and job opportunities to low-income minoritized communities. 

Date: Spring 2024

Scope: UX Research, Brand Development,  Product Design, User Interface Design,  Logo Design

Deliverables: User Personas, Userflows, Sitemap, Low-fidelity wireframes, High-fidelity mockups and Prototypes

Tools: Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Figma


A Solution for Digital Inclusion

The idea for EmpowerEd was derived from my lived experiences as a native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx. Growing up, I witnessed firsthand how the Black and Brown low-income population is disproportionately affected in education, housing, and career advancement.

In the digital age, these communities face significant barriers to accessing the digital economy due to unequal access to digital technology and the internet. This "digital divide" perpetuates disparities in education and employment, exacerbating economic inequality and driving economic displacement. Taking action is crucial to prevent these communities from falling into an unemployment abyss.


How might we bridge NYC’s digital divide for people of color through accessible digital literacy resources in a mobile app?


With user-friendly navigation and multilingual support, Empowered is an e-learning platform offering digital literacy training, educational resources, and job opportunities to low-income minority communities. 

EmpowerEd aims to empower marginalized individuals with the skills needed to thrive in our increasingly digital world.


Building an Empowering Brand

“EmpowerEd” combines “Empower” and “ed” (short for education), highlighting the app’s commitment to education as a tool for empowerment.

The brand logo, featuring a human figure within a power button, symbolizes the brand’s mission to empower marginalized individuals. 

The open arms of the figure signify inclusion, while the rounded forms evoke a sense of approachability and human connection, reflecting the brand’s commitment to a friendly and welcoming user experience. The use of a rounded typeface further enhances this sense of approachability and ensures legibility for all users.

The orientation of the central figure within the power button also alludes to the app’s user-centered ethos, highlighting the dedication to putting users first.


I began by obtaining insights about my target audience via a series of interviews. During the interviews I asked participants questions relating to demographic information, digital literacy skills, and connection to community which would then guide the functionalities of my application.


My analysis revealed that there was an opportunity to design a product that specifically addresses the digital divide faced by low-income minorities. By creating a user-centered platform that combines educational modules, community support, and job market tools, EmpowerEd aims to help users overcome systemic barriers to success.

User personas were also created based on the collected data to guide my decision-making process and ensure that the final product focused on solving specific user pain points, frustrations, and goals.


Designing for Impact: Ideation and Planning

Based on the synthesis of my target users’ pain points and wishes, I identified key features to include in the app design to address these challenges. I sketched preliminary screens and created a hybrid user flow and sitemap to outline the user journey. With a clearer user flow, I then used Figma to create low-fi wireframes.

I concluded that the app needed a personalized onboarding process, digital literacy skill development modules, career advancement tools, community support threads, multilingual options, and access to local resources to meet users' needs, expectations, and desires.


Elevating the Experience

After conducting usability tests with potential users and finalizing the user flow, I transformed my low-fidelity wireframes into high-fidelity designs. I focused on establishing a strong visual identity by designing high-fidelity screens that would differentiate the interface from competitors, while ensuring it remained easy to use and appealing to users.

Key Takeaways

  • Clarify new shapes and ensure similar elements behave consistently.

  • Provide more visual affordances to guide users through the interface

  • Use an accent color to differentiate and break up information.

  • Increase spacing between elements to enhance readability and user experience.

Final Solution

The Ultimate Digital Empowerment Toolkit

EmpowerEd is like a personal digital mentor that takes all the hassle out of learning new skills, job hunting, and connecting with your community. It tailors your experience based on your needs and goals, making sure you get the most relevant resources and opportunities.

Interact with the final prototype here!

Problems Solved

  • Integrates learning, job searching, and community engagement into one platform.

  • Provides personalized skill development and job recommendations based on user needs.

  • Offers trusted advice and insights from a supportive community.

  • Connects low-income minorities with digital literacy tools and career resources.

  • Notifies users of nearby career workshops and networking events to build valuable connections.

Looking to the future and potential integration, in March 2024, NYC announced budget cuts of $58.3 million within the NYPL system. This presents an opportunity for EmpowerEd to collaborate with New York City Public Libraries to enhance access to digital literacy tools. By offering workshops and installing EmpowerEd on public library devices, we can ensure that libraries remain a crucial "third space" outside of home and work. This collaboration will provide low-income New Yorkers with continued access to vital services, helping them overcome digital barriers.