Círculo is a safe space for women journalists to support each other as they face online harassment and violence in their work.

The situation for women in Mexico is dangerous and even more so for journalists. In partnership with Guardian Project and Article 19, we've explored how Circle of 6, a safety app for university students, could be used to benefit women journalists in Mexico.


Small, trust-based groups

Our aim was to create a safe outlet where women feel comfortable expressing concerns and are motivated to help each other. With Círculo users curate their own small group to share with. Encrypted conversations ensure that only group members can see messages.

Quick status updates

In many use cases, individuals will be traveling from place to place and want to check in with their circle. Sometimes they need to do this quick, and often discreet. When updating a status, pre-populated messages and emojis make it easy to do so.

Secure location sharing

Sharing location is important for many of the journalists we spoke with. But, they are weary of doing it through insecure channels. They are also weary of their location being on and available to other apps to track without them knowing. In Círculo, sharing a location is always optional. It's shared only when the user chooses, and the people within their circle are the only ones to see it. The app does not log or continue to track one's location.

No logs or conversation history kept

Círculo is for sharing what's happening in the moment. Individual statuses disappear after time and are easy to remove or update. It's different from using a typical messaging app, like WhatsApp. It doesn't store conversation history or locations once a status disappears.


Community Engagement & Process


Case profiles

After interviews, research and conversations with Article 19, we created case profiles outlining potential uses of the app in Mexico.

View Case Profiles


WhatsApp Focus Group and Capabilities Rating

Based on the case profiles and further research, we created concept mockups to characterize the user experience. Within a WhatsApp group, our colleague facilitated an ongoing conversation with journalists. We asked the journalists to rate each concept based on its usefulness to them.


Workshop with Paper Prototypes

With the feedback from the journalists, we built out a paper prototype, printed several copies, and presented it to a workshop of women journalists in Mexico City to receive face-to-face feedback. The response was overwhelming, and while we're still presenting prototypes and beta versions of the app wherever we can, the app is nearing the end of development for public deployment.


Partners: Guardian Project and Article 19
Role: User Research, Concept Development, UX, UI, Visual Design