Recognizing Mentors.

Focusing on Mentees.

 
 

Progress is a mobile application designed for Android, following Material Design guidelines.

Intending to promote a cycle of empathy, users can focus on self-development

with verified mentors by their side, both in person and online.

 

Now that I’ve gotten your attention, please follow me through the process:


Case Study - An Outline

User Experience Strategy

Progress app’s entire UX process followed the Nielsen Norman Group design thinking methodology, from user empathy to implementation:

 
 

Let’s journey through the design thinking process together:


1: Empathize

Why Professional Development for Entry-Level Prospects?

You need a job. But you need job experience first.

What if you’ve just graduated from school, or changing careers?

We are living in the days post-Recession, where many WITH existing experience struggle during the job search.

 
 

Canada’s “Skills Crisis”

Toronto Star, 2013:

“At 26, Chris Spoke, of Toronto, understands first-hand the challenges students face in Canada’s post-secondary system.

Spoke, who graduated with a social sciences degree and $26,000 debt load, says students need better information about what jobs are in demand before they enroll.

“A lot of people go into university with no real understanding of how the labour market will react to certain degrees,” he says.

Since graduating, he’s concluded that university may not be the most cost-effective way to get marketable skills, he adds. He’s outlined an idea for addressing this problem in an ebook called “Arts Majors Need Not Apply.”

However, weeks of web research and compiling interview data, it appears that there is hope.

Education transformation: “Universities such as Ryerson also say they work with the private sector to develop programs that address labour market needs”

Benefits of technical skills training: “Some of his friends got better jobs after taking short courses in computer programming or securities trading from recognized private institutions like the Canadian Securities Institute, he says. Meanwhile, four-year science graduates are working as tellers or going back to school to get a college diploma, he says.”

Employable skills: transferrable, on-the-job training

 

Participant Research

After conducting hour-long participant interviews with a varied amount of work experience (0-12 years), here are our findings:

Let’s empathize with our users:

*based on participant interview data as conducted according to this interview guide

Capstone Persona (Primary).jpg

Primary Persona: Mentee

Meet Emma! She wants to learn how to articulate her skills. She needs someone like Jonathan to help her become the best version of herself!

Capstone Persona (Secondary).jpg

Secondary Persona: Mentor

Meet Jonathan! As a senior designer, he has experience guiding entry-level prospects like Emma, since he was once a beginner himself. He can now easily match with someone who is already self-motivated, and will get recognized for his work within is network!


2: Define

Imagine yourself as Emma, a future professional…

Here’s a thorough analysis of a user like Emma, working towards getting her first job in the industry:

Capstone Journey Map.png
 

Opportunities for Intervention:

“Employers want soft skills. Teamwork, collaboration,
and hard work”
— Interviewee with 9+ years of work experience
“Customer service skills from minimum
wage jobs transfer to troubleshooting skills, which transfer to higher level internship jobs”
— Interviewee with 12+ years of work experience
 

Let’s also remind ourselves that the socio-economical climate is changing:

The education system is being transformed:

“universities work with the private sector to develop programs”

Rise of technical skills training:

“better jobs after taking short courses in computer programming or securities trading”

Employable skills:

Emphasis on transferrable, on-the-job training

 

Market Research

market research.png

SHAPR - for iOS

Shapr offers: connections, conversation, mentorship

Progress can do more: LinkedIn integration, network verification, recommendations, resume review/sharing, available on Android

 

Progress app: Design Impact

1) Addressing the “skills crisis” with employable skills, increasing labour force

2) Connecting motivated prospects with skilled mentors

3) Focusing energy on quality mentorship (individual freedom for continuous journey)

3) Encouraging the growth of a community of shared learning, rather than competition.

 

Design Constraints

User: target user 18-30 (interview, user testing)

Business: participant usage (mentors, network, community, events), employment rate statistics

Technology: Android (Material Design), LinkedIn API

Time: 10 weeks


3: Ideate

Paper Iterations

 
 

Low Fidelity Wireframes

User Testing: Round 1

Round 1: Greyscale wireframes

Round 1: Greyscale wireframes

I tested 5 users with these wireframes via an InVision prototype. Below are key insights:

No notification modals, replace with notification bell and red “1” symbol on bell
Feedback reply page has high interaction cost, no new page
LinkedIn sign in is unnatural = unusual to have just an email in the text box/button
Reduce interaction cost - directly navigate to resume feedback from main home screen
 

User Testing: Round 2

round 2.png

I tested another 5 users with these wireframes via an InVision prototype. Below are key insights:

“Notification text was too small”
“No date of reply, only time”
“Want to click anywhere on section, not just ‘Expand to view’ (actually unnecessary)”
“Feedback reply page too crowded, should be collapsible, background blur or shaded”

Brand Identity: From Career to Progress

After working with the name “CAREER” for a few weeks, I made the intentional design decision to:

Shift the brand identity from “care”, resembling “healthcare”, to a more professional look.

Hence, the birth of “PROGRESS”, a state which applies to professionals on all levels.


UI Inspiration

High Fidelity Wireframes

Let’s Progress through the application!

 
 
 

A/B Testing: Light vs Dark Mode

Original:  Light Mode

Original: Light Mode

Final iteration:  Dark Mode (with toggle switch)

Final iteration: Dark Mode (with toggle switch)

I “guerrilla” AB-tested (rapidly among fellow designers in my cohort) the two high fidelity iterations.

Here are their thoughts:

Clean interface, dark mode might make the text pop more
Much better, I like the messenger-style comment section

Responsive Marketing Website

 

I feel that a marketing website was necessary not only to develop an online presence, but to also increase the user reach of the product.

In addition, future software updates can be announced via this page, such as future iOS development.

responsivemarketing.jpg

Design Impact: Revisited

1) Addressing the “skills crisis” with employable skills, increasing labour force

2) Connecting motivated prospects with skilled mentors

3) Focusing energy on quality mentorship (individual freedom for continuous journey)

3) Encouraging the growth of a community of shared learning, rather than competition.


Future Development

EXTERNAL:

Available for iOS

INTERNAL:

Components: Enhanced readability, improve UI (card styles, colour application, typography), motion design (i.e. introduce mentor card swipe)

Technology: Developer handoff via Zeplin (share and refine using Abstract), E-signatures (Adobe sign/HelloSign) for reference contacts


Reflection

 

Looking back at the past 10 weeks working on this Capstone project, I find it unreal how much I’ve learned throughout the process. With nothing but a 2-week Design Sprint under my belt, I started this project with very little knowledge of what was to come. I studied Material Design (thanks, Material.io!), Youtube-d ways to design cards/LinkedIn API/document editing - I just found myself analyzing every app that I used on the regular and finding inspiration that way. I couldn’t help noticing subtle motion design techniques that existing apps use, and write notes on how to improve my UI skills toolbox.

I’m so thankful for the existing web resources that we have, in addition to amazing real-life design mentors who share advice via Medium or other blogs, many whom are self-taught. This Capstone project made me realize how false time constraints are key to productivity, by breaking down steps to get our ideas out there and then refine them later on.

Moving forward, I want to continue to sharpen my skills in designing for both iOS and Android, following heuristic and design guidelines. Eventually, I aim to be a design mentor myself, advocating for community learning and collaborative knowledge-gaining.