OwnTrail | Blog

Going from inspiration to action with Help Beacons

We all need help along our journeys, but we don’t always know how to get it. Maybe we’re always the one doing things for others, and don’t feel comfortable prioritizing ourselves. Maybe we feel stigmas around needing help (thanks, social media) or see it as being transactional (looking at you, LinkedIn!).

What we need is a way to give and get help easily, with context and within a safe space. A way to give and get help that normalizes asking for it and allows you to flex that muscle, be it weak or strong.

This has been part of our vision for OwnTrail from the beginning: creating a space where women can connect through our authentic journeys and help each other navigate our paths and achieve our aspirations. Our foundation is the ability for women to share their trails and connect with each other over shared experiences and goals. But sharing experiences without taking action is missing the full potential of what women can be for each other.

But sharing experiences without taking action is missing the full potential of what women can be for each other.

That’s why we’re now adding the ability to help each other out, through a flagship feature called Help Beacon.

The concept for Help Beacon was born several months ago, during a team design sprint. We started with feedback from our community, which included consistent messages along the lines of “I love sharing my trail and connecting with women. What do I do now?” We brainstormed, sketched and discussed all kinds of ways that we could make the OwnTrail experiences actionable and helpful, while maintaining the intimacy and authenticity that was taking root.

From there, we created prototypes (shout out to our phenomenal UX designer Meaza!) and tested them out with members of our community in a series of usability tests. We really wanted to make sure that what we were envisioning was really what our community needed. We got some incredible feedback and made lots of iterations.

And at long last, Help Beacons are now live on OwnTrail!

A Help Beacon is how you put your needs and asks out there to the entire OwnTrail community. It’s like your personal bat signal, except there are countless women ready to respond to the call — and each of them has their own unique set of superpowers.

Various colors of circle milestones curve in a winding trail

A Help Beacon can be added to any present or aspirational milestone, and includes what you need and from whom. Anyone with an OwnTrail account can reply to the beacon (unless the milestone + beacon is private, in which case only direct connections of the beacon owner can view and respond.) A milestone with a Help Beacon visually stands out on a trail, and they can be viewed on the dashboard and filtered on the Explore page.

When you see a Help Beacon that needs your unique set of superpowers (such as knowledge, skills or connections), you can reply directly to it. This is the very definition of women supporting women.

So, what do you need help with? Maybe it’s something you’re currently navigating or a goal that you aspire to? Go ahead and ask for what you need (for a change!) and add a beacon to a milestone on your trail. We can’t wait to see you get the support you deserve.