Design Process
min read
April 10, 2024

Crafting a digital platform with the power of research to combat gender-based violence with Laaha | UNICEF

Crafting a digital platform with the power of research to combat gender-based violence with Laaha | UNICEF
Table of contents

Laaha, a UNICEF initiative, is dedicated to enabling girls and women by providing safe and accessible platforms for critical information and services related to sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence. Their mission aligns perfectly with UNICEF's vision of a world where everyone can live a healthy and dignified life.

In a powerful collaboration, we partnered with Laaha, a beacon of hope for women under UNICEF's umbrella, to redesign and rebuild their digital platform. This project exemplifies our deep commitment to human-centric design.

Guided by extensive research and user insights, we focused on ensuring that girls and women in conflict zones with limited internet connectivity can access crucial information on sexual and reproductive health and resources to combat gender-based violence.

Meeting the client

Our visit to their Geneva office fostered a more cohesive team and significantly improved the project in several ways. Our time there allowed us to leverage UNICEF's resources and delve deeper into user needs. We collaboratively identified pain points and planned a strategy for this impactful social digital platform.

Collaborating with their IT and Tech departments unlocked access to their expertise, significantly enhancing Laaha's development and implementation. This partnership harnessed the collective strength of both organizations, creating a more impactful and effective solution.

Group of people brainstorming ideas in a client meeting

By interacting closely with the UNICEF team, we gained valuable insights that streamlined our processes, ensured smoother execution, and kept us on track with project timelines. Additionally, their expertise proved instrumental in tackling potential technical hurdles, particularly regarding Laaha's functionality in low-connectivity areas.

The visit also focused on understanding user needs. Through the initial discussions, we gained crucial data on the target audience — women and girls who might benefit from Laaha. This knowledge directly informed the platform's features and functionalities, tailoring them to better meet specific user needs and challenges faced in conflict-ridden areas.

This visit solidified our shared commitment to a meaningful cause. By aligning with UNICEF's vision, we're working together to help women and girls, combat gender-based violence, and make Laaha a beacon of accessible information and support.

Group of people interacting and gaining valuable insights that streamlined processes and project timelines.

Understanding user’s needs

To delve deeper into the challenges faced by Laaha's users, we crafted a comprehensive research strategy. This involved facilitating workshops with stakeholders and users, incorporating a variety of exercises

  • User Brainstorming:This session encouraged open discussion and idea generation, allowing users to freely express their needs and frustrations.
  • How Might We (HMW) prompts:We posed specific HMW questions to guide the brainstorming process, focusing on potential solutions to user pain points.
  • Crazy Eights:This rapid ideation technique helped us generate a large number of potential solutions in a short timeframe.
  • Journey Mapping:We collaboratively mapped the user journey to identify key touchpoints and potential areas for improvement.
a comprehensive research strategy involving facilitating workshops with stakeholders and users and incorporating a variety of exercises

Through these exercises, we identified

  • Goals & Risks for Users:This helped us understand user motivations and the potential barriers they might face when using Laaha.
  • Long-term and Short-term Vision:By exploring user aspirations, we could design Laaha to not just meet immediate needs, but also support their long-term goals.
  • Essential Features:By prioritizing user needs, we could determine the core functionalities Laaha must offer.

These methodologies, combined with rigorous user testing across various countries, provided a deep understanding of the target audience's nuanced needs and pain points. This rich data informed our design strategy, allowing us to not just meet, but exceed user and client’s expectations by creating a truly impactful platform.

The methodology combined with rigorous user testing across various countries, provided a deep understanding of the target audience's nuanced needs and pain points.

Discovery Report

Building Laaha, a platform for women in conflict zones, hinges on a deep understanding of user needs and potential obstacles. Through various research methodologies, we identified key challenges and risks that guided our design decisions.

a platform deep understanding of user needs and potential obstacles.


  • Balancing anonymity with session continuity:User research highlighted the importance of user privacy. However, maintaining session continuity for support purposes was also crucial. We knew we had to create innovative solutions to bridge this gap.
  • Fostering open dialogue and peer support:Workshops revealed a desire for a safe space where women can connect and share experiences with each other openly. We decided to prioritize features that encourage open communication and peer-to-peer support.
  • Prioritizing seamless help access:User interviews emphasized the need for quick and easy access to critical help resources, especially in urgent situations. That guided us focus on an intuitive navigation to ensure these resources are easily and readily accessible to all users.

Risks Identified Through Research

  • Sensitive topics:The research confirmed the sensitive nature of Laaha's content. User feedback underscores the importance of handling all information with the utmost care and respect. This guided our thoughts and decisions on content presentation and team Laaha on content creation.
  • Prioritizing user privacy and security:User interviews reinforced the absolute need for robust security measures to protect user data. We knew he had to integrate rigorous security protocols into the platform's design and development.
  • Ensuring cultural inclusivity:Workshop discussions highlighted the importance of catering to diverse cultures and backgrounds. We conducted further research and involved cultural sensitivity experts to ensure content and features are inclusive for all users.
  • Balancing Anonymity with Safety:User research revealed a desire for anonymity alongside concerns about potential safety risks. We're explored innovative solutions to strike a balance between these needs, ensuring user safety without compromising privacy.

By proactively addressing these challenges and risks, we aimed to create the Laaha platform that enables women in conflict zones by providing a safe, secure, and culturally-sensitive space for information access, peer support, and access to critical help resources.

Final thoughts

Our collaborative research with UNICEF for Laaha is complete, and the insights gained are guiding the platform's design and development. Through intensive user studies, strategic workshops, and innovative UX solutions, we've established a clear roadmap for Laaha that is built on an established human-oriented research foundation.

This approach has informed every aspect of the platform, from the user-friendly interface and multilingual support to the integrated forum and chatbot features. Each element prioritizes accessibility, safety, and user-centricity, ensuring Laaha effectively addresses the needs of women and girls in conflict zones.

To learn more about our research methodologies, you can download our discover playbook, with actionable research templates.

Written by
Priyanka Jeph
Content Design Lead
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