Jennifer Greenberg

@jennifer.greenberg

My Five Step Plan to Creating an Online Community

Breaking The Code

As a student I find myself going, and going nonstop. During winter break I am supposed to be relaxing and binge-watching Netflix. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely spent a few days in my pajamas watching The Office, but I soon found myself to be feeling bored and unfulfilled by this ritual.

In order to curb my boredom I created a winter break project for myself.

I made breakingthecode.xyz, this is an online community that provides resources for women and minority genders with a background in computer science. You can join this online community and become a code breaker.

I used the Stanford design thinking process guide(DTPG) for my project. Below I will explain how I used the Stanford DTPG.

  1. The first step of the Stanford DTPG is to empathize. I began to think of people that I strongly empathize with and I immediately thought of women in STEM, and even more specifically, women in computer science. Being a female in CS, I was aware of the programs that were available to help get women to study CS. I even participated in Girls Who Code and cite that as the reason why I am now studying CS. Despite all of these resources available to high school women, I noticed that once you in fact do decided to study computer science, the resources just kind of just fall off. I decided that I wanted to create a resource for women currently study CS, as well as women who were trying to start their careers in the field. I then realized that I wanted to be more inclusive and make a resource for women AND minority genders — both underrepresented groups in CS.
  2. The second step is to define. I did this step by defining what resources I could provide for these groups. I decided that at the collegiate level I would provide programming, internship, and professor resources. At the career level I would provide interviewing, and job resources. For both collegiate and career level I provide community resources as well.
  3. The third step is to ideate. I did this step by scouring the internet for available resources and by talking to others to try and make sure I helping solve this problem in the right way. What I mean by helping solve this problem in the right way is that I had to check with my potential users and make sure that this is something that they would like, and not just something that I liked.
  4. Fourth is the prototype step. I used WIX to help create this website. I decided to use something like WIX instead of doing the programming myself because a former boss of mine told me “don’t recreate the wheel”. I also knew that my goal for this project was not to improve my web development skills, but to create the best resource possible. I spent type prototyping and also user testing. For me user testing was me writing down the top 6 things I wanted people to be able to do on my site, and then asking real life people to do these things. I would watch them as they tried to complete these tasks and note where they got stuck or took longer than I had expected. I edited my site accordingly to make it as easy as possible for people to navigate.
  5. The last step is test. In order to do this step I shared my site on as many online sites as possible, and asked(begged) for feedback. Although my site is live and people are using it I feel as though I will always be in the test phase. I constantly am adding new resources that I discover, and always welcome feedback.

Visit breakingthecode.xyz and feel free to give me feedback!

“A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”
 — Grace Hopper

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