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Somo Africa

Website redesign to increase engagement + attract investors to an international non-profit 

Lead UX Designer


05/2022 - 07/2022


Responsive Desktop + Mobile

Somo Mockup.png

Somo Africa is a non-profit organization headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya whose mission is to provide a platform and funding to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Their theme of empowerment is one with enormous potential, but their digital presence was lacking and therefore keeping them from growing and expanding their reach. 

Across 10 weeks, I collaborated with Somo Africa stakeholders and a team of 5 UX experts to research, plan, and redesign a total of 4 screens crucial to Somo Africa's business objective. 

Design Team: Rachel Millman, Miyya Cody, Casi Fleischmann, Ashley Cao, Juen Koech



Business Goals

We began by learning about the organization and their mission, their current user base, and what they aim to accomplish within the timeline of our project.


Through multiple intake calls with the Somo Africa team, including their CEO and product managers, we learned that the main goal of this project was to better attract investors. Investors are the primary source of funding for the entrepreneurs that Somo Africa supports, and this funding is not... 

With a better idea of the overall objective, we could strategize as a team to tackle this project and achieve the overarching goal.

Project Plan

The first decision we made as a UX team was to divide this project into four phases: research, design, build, and validate. With a team made up of both researchers and designers, these phases meant we could best and most efficiently utilize the expertise on our team. 

For each phase, we set milestones and detailed exactly what and who that milestone would involve in order to accomplish it. We also set clear communication expectations for the team, to ensure we all stayed on the same page and met deadlines.

Click the image below to see how we mapped out each phase of our project plan.

Research Phase


Walkthroughs + User Interviews

We came into this project with an existing website, brand, and user base that we needed to work with as our jumping-off point. So, what better way to help us learn about the site and about how users utilize it, than to have users show it to us themselves? 

We recruited 4 users to participate in casual product walkthrough calls with us, who consisted of both East African entrepreneurs and people who have invested in and/or donated to similar causes in the past.These walkthroughs consisted of a few simple questions and tasks such as "Tell me about the last time you visited Somo's website" and "Find a business that you'd like to support and make a contribution".


As simple as these prompts were, they gave us valuable insights into user roles, behaviors, and feelings relating to the existing experience. In addition to the walkthroughs, we conducted additional discovery interviews with participants who met the same criteria as above, in order to gain a more holistic understanding of Somo's users.

We gathered 4 primary insights that captured the average sentiments of users: 

  1. Users don’t know how to navigate the Somo website

  2. Website doesn't feel relevant to/aimed at investors

  3. User interface isn’t maximizing click-through (conversion) rate

  4. Services and features are not centralized for usability - accessibility + usability issues abound

Secondary Research

After talking directly with the users we aim to solve for, we conducted additional secondary research so we could really dig into the landscape we were working within. This phase of our research consisted primarily of competitive + comparative analysis, and extensive literature review of relevant scholarly articles.

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Research Synthesis

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-conducted affinity mapping sessions in the research tool Dovetail

-Once completed, we shared our discovery findings with the Somo stakeholders to keep them informed and continue to gain buy-in for our solutions.

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Now, with much more confidence in our understanding of the existing landscape and user base, we created two personas to represent the primary users that Somo aims to appeal to, and are crucial to achieving our project objective: investors and donors.

Persona 1_ Investor.png
Persona 2_ Donor.png


Problem Statement

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User Flows + Information Architecture

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Somo User Flows_edited.png
Initial Designs

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Somo Wireframes.png
Design Phase


Content Writing

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Style Guide

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Interactive Prototype

With confidence in our solutions, flows, and understanding of our target users, we enhanced our low fidelity designs to bring them to a vibrant high-fidelity, representative of how we proposed the website should ultimately look and feel.

Build Phase


Usability Testing

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Design Iteration

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Client Handoff

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Validate Phase
final thoughts


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