Thoughts: Problems + Solutions
As its tenth anniversary approached, a priority at Women’sNet was to update and expand the capabilities of its legacy website. Parsons Fellows Linh Pham was tasked to create a graphic user interface (GUI) for a new Drupal content management system. Before working on the site’s interface, the two Women’sNet logos needed to be replaced by a single and coherent icon. Although the task expanded the scope of the project, it was crucial to establish a strong graphic identity before proceeding to a site redesign.
Overall, the NGO wanted to update current logo elements, retaining the sun as a central symbol and using the same color palette of pink, purple, and yellow. The main challenge in creating a new Drupal theme was to find a balance in designing a GUI that would appeal to women, while conveying the intersection of technology and South African culture.
Women'sNet chose a rectangular shape so the logo would work both in print and on the web. The sun was refashioned to be illustrative and welcoming. A texture was applied to the typeface to complement the rendering of the sun.
As the NGO’s name contains the word `women’, the female gender symbol was redundant and so omitted in the new logo. For the website, the concept was to show that the sun enables South African women to power the technology. The new logo was modified to work as a header graphic for the Drupal theme. The image of the South African woman was an existing asset that was altered to humanize the look of the site. Additionally, the circuitry image connects women and technology, a core goal of the NGO’s mission.
Johannesburg, South Africa
The Women’sNet mission is to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) strategically to create a society where women and girls are full participants in and agents of social change. The organization recognizes that ICTs are gendered tools and aims to address imbalances in women and men’s access to and meaningful use of ICTs. Women’sNet has extensive experience in managing and creating content and using ICTs to promote gender equality. We provide training and help capacitate organizations to make decisions on their use of technology so that it is mission driven, cost effective, and sustainable.
Linh Pham (Parsons MFA DT 2008) designs user interfaces and interactions to create rich experiences on the web. She is a Senior User Experience Designer at Fotolog, one of the world’s largest photo-blogging social networks based in New York City. Pham is an instructor at Parsons where she teaches introductory web design classes at the undergraduate and continuing education level.