How Foundational Research Impacts Stakeholder Decisions


Reap Benefit is a NGO (non-profit organization) based in Banglardore, India. They are in the process of transitioning away from a mobile application to a web-based application that assists India’s youth in reporting problems in their local community, such as open sewage drains, water pollution and garbage.


Make research based recommendations for the web-based application that will improve upon the limitations that Reap Benefit was experiencing with their mobile based application and increase user adoption. 


This project was completed with a co-designer, Jessica Johnson. All portions where we worked closely together are documented with appropriate indications below. 


UX Researcher


4 Weeks


Invision, Mural, Skype &

 Google Suite

Stakeholders Reveal Research Focus Areas

In the first stakeholder call with Gautam Prakash (Co-Founder) and Gauthamraj Elango (Program Manager), my co-designer and I discovered that a clear user persona and how might me statement had not been defined.

The stakeholders expressed that they had encountered problems with user adoption and that their business goal was to scale the application by transitioning to a web-based platform. More specifically the goal was for the application to be used in 100 of India’s cities with Youth in it.

Prescribed Action: Take a human-centred approach to the design of the application, beginning with foundational research.

Prototype Persona - Our Starting Block

Based off of preliminary research provide by the Reap Benefit team, I created a prototype persona. This provided a baseline for my colleague’s and I foundational research and assisted us when setting up cognitive interviews.

Identifying The Ideal Persona

My colleague conducted the cognitive interviews, which revealed the following key insights to us:

  • 0/3 interviewed had their own technology device
  • 3/3 borrowed their device from their parents
  • 0/3 had used the solve ninjas phone app within the last year
  • 3/3 noted that they learned visually and used games and Youtube to play and learn

We also discovered during the interviews that India’s youth craved interaction, fun and socialization.

Affinity Mapping Uncovers Key Differences From The Prototype Persona

We discovered some of the key differences between the prototype persona and our researched persona are:

  • Youtube was the go to social media channel, not Instagram. 
  • Access to tech is infrequent and always borrowed.
  • Interaction is very important when it comes to socialization and applications. 
  • If it’s not fun they are less motivated to take action. 
  • There is no access to school computers for non-school related activities.

New Ideal Persona Craves Interaction & Motivated by Fun

Key Differences In These Personas Included: 

  • All of our interviewees were operating on borrowed tech. One young man had even borrowed his laptop from a neighbour. 
  • Computers and laptops present in these youth’s school were for academic use only. 
  • All three youth indicated that the majority of their time is spent on their studies and that they were craving social interaction. This is amplified with COVID-19. 
  • Cognitive interviews contradicted stakeholder information when it came to social media. Interviews revealed our youth prefer YouTube over any other channel. 

Stakeholder Presentation Shifts Research Focus To 19-Year-Olds

After presenting the current findings to stakeholders, Gautam Prakash (Co-Founder), Kuldeep Dantwedia (Co-Founder) and Gauthamraj Elango (Program Manager) the team came to the conclusion that the 15-year-old persona was less than ideal. 

The stakeholders wanted to focus now on 19-year-olds who had their own technology and more autonomy over their daily lives. 

Following this meeting, we redirected our research and began recruiting to conduct a new round of cognitive interviews. 

Cognitive Interviews with 19-Year-Olds Unveil Youth Already Engaged In Civil Action

Refocusing on 19-year-olds, Jessica and I both conducted cognitive interviews with this new age group who owned their own technology. These interviews revealed the following:

  • 19-year-olds interviewed are already taking civic action outside of the SolveNinjas app
  • These youth were not seeing any new information in the app after several months of not using it
  • Interviewees were more focused on social media than games or videos
  • 5 out of 5 users owned their own tech. 4 of which owned both a mobile phone and a laptop
  • When using their tech devices, they primarily used their phone for social media and communication, while reserving their laptops for school or business matters.

4 out 5

Own a Mobile Phone and a Laptop

5 out 5

Owned A Laptop

5 out 5

Already Participate in Civic Action or Charities

Affinity Mapping Fine-Tunes The New Ideal Persona

Affinity Mapping locked down key persona data:

  • Owns both a laptop and a mobile phone, splitting their time between the two 50/50
  • They use their phone mainly for social media and communication
  • Loves Instagram
  • Already participating in initiatives to improve their local communities.

New Ideal Persona is 19-Year-Old Who Owns A Tech Device and Is Engaged In Civic Action

Strong and Clear How Might We Statement Comes From Foundational Research

How Might We engage India’s young adults in using Solve Ninja’s web application to report and resolve civic issues in their local community on a regular basis?

Next Steps

Now that we have a clearly defined ideal persona and how might we statement, I moved on to conduct an analysis of the current web-application as well as a competitor analysis. You can read about that case study by clicking here.

Lessons Learned

  • Working remotely with stakeholders and co-designers it is essential to make use of collaborative tools such as Invision, Google Suite and video platforms like Skype.
  • Updating Stakeholders regularly throughout the project saves essential time.
  • Collaborative design saves money and project time because it prevents possible pivots like we experienced in this project with the ideal persona.
Jennie D. Leaver

Jennie D. Leaver

Jennie is a UX/UI Designer with a 15-year background in Visual Design and Hospitality. Jennie spent two years of her life working on the ocean off Northeast Vancouver Island and experiencing first hand how we are impacting our ecosystem. She is passionate about solving problems related to the environment and creating a more sustainable existence for humans and other species who share our planet. Her desire is to work on projects focused on creating a better world, specifically in the areas of the environment, humanitarian efforts and health care.