Connected Experience Lab
8 Months
Native Mobile App

The Challenge

Well, this isn’t fair

Women are more risk-averse when it comes to participating in negotiation events and research shows women actually negotiate less often than men across a variety of situations. This tendency perpetuates inequality such as the disparities in leadership and wage gap between men and women. We conducted qualitative research on women’s experiences, feelings, and knowledge of negotiation and found that women regard negotiation skills as valuable and pertinent to a wide variety of contexts but don’t know how to use them. Something is missing. How can we use HCI strategies to close the knowledge and confidence gap women experience when negotiating?

My Role(s)

UX Design & Research Lead

As 1 of the 2 UX leads, I taught and mentored university students in user-research methodologies (i.e. usability testing, speed-dating protocols, interview protocol creation, competitor analysis processes, affinity diagramming, etc.). I also taught design strategies such as prototyping in Figma, rapid sketching exercises, feedback and critiquing techniques, and others. I made informed design decisions regarding the project’s front-end components and continued to use my skills gained in my Master’s program to shape the project goals and outcome.

Project Manager

I worked alongside another graduate student to manage the project direction and progress. I recruited and communicated with participants, outlined and directed the workload for team members, reported progress to faculty advisors and overseers.

Executive Summary


Improve society by empowering girls and women through the art of negotiation.


We developed Negotium, a digital negotiation toolkit that provides women with an interactive learning experience, equipping them with the skills and knowledge necessary for engaging in negotiations with confidence.

The Users

Target Users: Female students ages 18 and older.

In our first round of interviews, I conducted 4 out of 15 interviews with female students to get a better understanding of their feelings towards and experiences with negotiating. I co-wrote our interview script, which encouraged storytelling and guided conversation with participants.

Meet Margaret, a PhD student who is frustrated that she does not have as successful negotiating experiences as her male counterparts.

Meet Lisa, a senior at UCLA who does not feel she is knowledgeable enough to lead a successful negotiation.

Meet Tiffany, a college student who feels nervous prior to most negotiations.

UX Research

Identifying the problem

We conducted background research by reading academic articles, conducting a competitive analysis with other digital negotiation tools, and completed a heuristic evaluation of the CoEx lab's current negotiation learning platform– the PROGRESS webpage. The Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society (PROGRESS) was established by Dr. Linda C. Babcock in 2006 to empower women and girls through the art of negotiation. The website provides educational modules to help women and girls learn about negotiation and practice their skills.

Competitive Analysis

Negotiation learning tools do exist today, however, a tool that optimizes opportunities for learning and practical implementation can be challenging to find, as there are little to no tools focused on equipping women with negotiation skills. A competitive analysis of negotiation learning tools suggests there is a lot of room for opportunity when it comes to building a dynamic tool that effectively teaches women how to negotiate. Most of the learning tools that exist today require paid subscriptions to access core content, use out-dated and unrealistic scenarios that are difficult for users to relate to or apply, or for private use by various companies and academic groups. Restrictions and limitations such as these further contribute to the perpetuation of disparities present in negotiation success between men and women. Merely understanding the problem is not sufficient for counteracting societal patterns.

Insights from User Research
  1. Women do not feel confident or well-equipped as negotiators.
  2. Women feel hesitant and unprepared entering negotiation situations.
  3. Women understand it takes confidence, determination, and compromise in order to have a successful negotiation.

“I feel like I'm not worth whatever price I would think for myself, in terms of salary.”


We combined all of our research and observed where our target users’ problems existed. We analyzed our insights by way of affinity diagramming — which is a method to help gather large amounts of data and organize them into groups or themes based on their relationships.

Key Takeaways
  • Women have had to negotiate for a variety of matters (relating to school, housing, shopping, etc.)
  • Women tend to experience negative emotions before negotiating (i.e. nervousness, fear, and self-doubt)



To start our design stage, I facilitated and guided team members through a Crazy 8s rapid sketching activity in order to brainstorm solution ideas. The goal is to push oneself creatively and generate a wide range of unique solutions. Each team member sketched 8 distinct ideas in 8 minutes. Ideas ranged from live negotiation competitions to interactive negotiation games. We then transformed these solutions into storyboards. These storyboards portrayed different scenarios in which women could further develop their negotiation skills.

How Might We…

We formulated HMW statements from our Crazy 8s concepts in order to narrow down our design scope:

  • How Might We... Use games / automated software to help women become better negotiators?
  • How Might We... Expose women to helpful online resources and negotiation practices?
  • How Might We... Use pre-written assessments and templates to help women become better negotiators?

Speed Dating

Using the Speed Dating method, we gathered participants’ reactions to each storyboard scenario. We discovered which speed dating concepts were universally accepted and which ones were not so popular.

Concept Selection


Detailed lessons that provide learning material in a sequential order, guiding users through the content and assessments.

Audio Lessons

Audio recordings that provide detailed tips and tricks about how to negotiate.


A brief test of the information that was provided to the user in the modules.

Explore Page

A database showcasing external resources about negotiation, such as articles and podcasts.

Why a native mobile application?

Our team believed that these 4 features could best be implemented by way of a mobile application, as people are constantly on the move and need resources that are fast and portable. Additionally, we believe that a mobile app will have a larger reach than a web-based solution.


A mobile learning tool that empowers young women by teaching them the art of negotiation.


I used Figma to design various screens and key features of our prototype mostly being the Learning Modules and Quiz screens.

Usability Testing

We returned to our users for feedback. To test the efficacy and intuitiveness of our mobile toolkit, we relied on users’ Think-Alouds to understand how our design concepts were received.

Think-Alouds are usability sessions where users are given a few tasks to complete, and are asked to think aloud, as a means to navigate an interactive prototype. From this, we were able to gather insights on the usability of the negotiation toolkit.

Lesson Modules

Our first few iterations included learning modules that were reading-based. Users were to read the lesson content and take a short quiz at the end of each module. My experience in education (teaching) and Cognitive Science enhanced our design by making the reading-based lessons more interactive and engaging. After receiving feedback that the lessons were text-heavy and not conducive for on-the-go learning, I began to add questions and other interactive learning activities within the lessons.


Originally, our team thought it conventional to have a knowledge test at the end of each learning module. I designed the quizzes to be short with just up to 5 questions at most. I implemented user feedback to make the answer input interactions simple and clear: a user would tap their intended answer and confirm it before submitting it for review. Their answer (if incorrect) would be highlighted in red, and the correct answer, in green.

The design iterations for the quizzes came to a halt after our decision to integrate quiz-like questions and interactions within the learning modules.

Audio Lessons

The audio lessons provided users with a multimodal way for learning negotiation content and gaining the necessary conversation skills. Audio lessons were designed to mimic negotiation exchanges between two people, while users act as flies on the wall and learn from generated first-hand experiences.

Insight from Usability Testing: While users felt the audio lessons were a unique and innovative platform, they preferred if more common design patterns were used to implement this feature. We wanted users to be able to immediately understand how audio lessons worked and implemented familiar design specs such as a transcript icon near the play-time bar, a 15-sec rewind and fast-forward function, and a speed adjuster.

Explore Page

The Explore Page provides users with reliable, external resources in article, video,  and podcast format.

“I don't feel like I would use this daily... I would  probably [complete modules] in one or two sittings, or as quickly as I can.”


Multi-faceted design thinking

I was able to be a bit more artistic and creative when designing for this mobile toolkit. I learned how vital it is that each design decision be as intentional to the user as possible. I was able to apply my Cognitive Science and Education background to our team’s designs and even ground our decisions in ergonomic data.

Cross-functional collab.

The hand-off of this project included working with cross-functional partners (i.e. developers and illustrators) to begin the development of Negotium. I was able to expand my experience with working and collaborating with cross-functional team members and learn more about what types of design decisions are feasible and not.


I closed this 8-month project by co-writing a design research paper for submission to The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

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External Links

View Low Fidelity Prototype (here)

View Medium Fidelity Prototype (here)