Designing and delivering a marketplace to bring diversity in media through mentorship & hosting

Where It All Started

PressPad is a social enterprise that matches young journalists with host-mentors. In 2018 the Sutton Trust estimated that it costs a young person £1,019 a month to do unpaid internships in London where the best media opportunities are found. This prices out talented, diverse people who cannot afford to work for free or who don’t have friends/family to stay with.

PressPad significantly lowers these costs by matching such people with professional journalists in London with a spare room who act as hosts *and mentors* for those completing placements. Our service levels the playing field thus diversifying the media industry.

Where We Came In

PressPad were doing all of their matching completely manually. Considering the long process required in signing up, verifying people, finding matches, safeguarding, and handling invoices, this was unscaleable and PressPad approached us to help create a digital solution.

They needed the very first iteration, built cost and time efficiently but designed to ensure it could scale as the enterprise continued to grow.

What We Delivered

1.0 Building a platform with the functionality of Airbnb (but without the ££££ VC investment!)

By the end of the first release we had built an online marketplace where users could:

- Create a listing for their home for potential interns to stay

- Securely sign up and create profiles whether they are an intern, host or organisation

- Make booking requests and accept booking requests

- Complete payments and add/withdraw money from their PressPad accounts

2.0 User centred design for a whole bunch of different users

Marketplace platforms are always complex due to the different users you need to cater on each end of the product, each with their own individual needs (think eBay and creating something that both people can use as buyers and sellers)

For PressPad there were 4 key users:

- The intern looking for somewhere to stay

- The host looking to provide support through their home

- The PressPad staff needing to verify users, carry out invoicing and ensure the platform is safe and reliable to use from initial searching through to moving in

With this diverse range of user types it's even more important to understand each user through building user personas, identifying their needs and continuously testing their user experience throughout the platform.

3.0 Enabling fast and secure financial transactions

At the heart of PressPad users need to be able to exchange money - whether it's an intern paying for upcoming accommodation, a host withdrawing funds or donating to PressPad, or organisations add funds to provide financial support for their interns.

Using a popular third-party tool, Stripe, and integrating within the data architecture of our PressPad product, we quickly built a reliable way to cover all these transactions, with a sandbox phase to ensure every case could be safely tested.

4.0 Scaling with the user at the centre of what we do

After a public roll out of the beta version at the start of 2020, receiving national coverage, PressPad have committed to a long term release plan with us which will include multiple iterations across the first half of 2020. We are about to start the next phase of user testing using the existing platform and wireframes to ensure the platform continues to grow in exactly the right way to meet our users' needs.

Their team initially really appealed to a social enterprise like PressPad because of their unique set-up utilising programming talent in Gaza and bringing work to an economically maligned and war-torn region.

Joe and the Yalla team have been fantastic to work with. It soon became clear that [working with this remote team] set up was just a bonus on top of the flexible, economically-viable and conscientious way they go about work for their clients.

Endlessly patient with someone like myself who has limited technical expertise and has never built a website from scratch, Joe has been a great communicator working around my schedule, availability and disaster of an email inbox! Honest and pragmatic while at the same time remaining supportive and ambitious, I would thoroughly recommend working with the team to date!

OLIVIA CRELLIN

CEO