This is a tool that allows users to organize, structure, and prepare for all kinds of interview scenarios.
Initial Project Goals:
To learn about what steps recent grads take to launch their careers
To create a tool to make the job search less stressful
To consolidate job hunting tasks into one organized, strategic ecosystem
To provide clarity for job seekers about potential job opportunities
Overall UX project goals:
To understand how each phase of the design process affects the others
To experience the iterative process through multiple rounds of testing
To create solutions that reflect user problems
Type: Brainstation part-time bootcamp case study
Role: User researcher, UX and UI designer
Deliverables: Trends observations, user personas, ideation sketches, information architecture, user flows, mockups, wireframes, style guide
Team: Ailee Taggart and I
Tools: Invision, POP app, Sketch
Timeline: 10 weeks (part-time)
Discovery: user interviews: what makes recent grads tick?
We conducted 2 rounds of interviews with recent grads comprised of 3 men, and 3 women, ages 21-24, with varying employment statuses.
First, we asked general questions about their current job, how they found it, and what processes they use to find job opportunities.
We realized the questions were not specific enough, and did not provide any insights that we could draw conclusions from so we adjusted the questions for the 2nd round.
What resources or tools do you use in your job search?
What is your most positive/negative job searching experience? Why?
How did you prep for interviews?
What motivates you about your career?
I learned that it can be tempting to ask leading questions while conducting interviews. As I asked more questions, I got better at presenting them in a more objective way.
Discovery: Analysis of user interviews: Finding trends
After writing down quotes from the interviews on sticky notes, we observed 6 themes: Process, tools, goals & success, pain points, desires, and motivation.
“I use google docs to organize any materials with my job search”
“I use school career services”
“I attended job fairs at school”
“I attended a required college career course”
“I try to go direct to employers emails instead of applying”
“I try to get face to face interviews, they better than phone interviews”
“I prepare for interviews by using the STAR method”
I learned that it’s important to have more specific questions in the interview. We found that many of the trends were vague and difficult to deduce insights from.
Recent college graduates are motivated about starting their careers, but don’t know the best way to prepare.
User personas: Putting a face to the data
Say hello to Danielle and Trevon! After analyzing the data from our user interviews we created these personas to represent our target audience. Both are recent graduates figuring out what career step to take next. They are motivated and excited about building their careers, but get stressed out easily thinking about all the steps.
I learned that at first, it can be hard to create one person to represent a group of people because everyone has unique traits. But the more I referenced the research and trends, I was able to see that people had more in common than I thought.
Crazy 8 ideation: The good, the bad, and the ugly
We brainstormed several possible functionality for our app. At first, we wanted the app to be all encompassing for the career journey. For these Crazy 8 iterations, I created ideas about interviewing in particular. I drew different options to present questions in flashcard, lists, and block options.
I learned about the significance of this step in the UX process so you can see the gamut of possibilities.
Information architecture: Laying out the components
Drawing out the page hierarchies allowed us to see how pages would connect and exist in the app. We mapped out all the options including all stages of the application journey like research, networking, applying, interviewing, and negotiating the offer.
I learned that you won’t know the depth of the hierarchy until you draw it all out. It helped us see holes in our functionality.
User flows: Step by step
We drew out potential user flows including creating a profile for a new job entry, and setting up the app. My partner and I split up user flows creation so we could make more possibilities.
I learned that there are many small steps that can be easily forgotten unless explicitly written out in a user flow. It makes me think about what steps I’ve taken as a user that are second nature or are in my head as an expectation for all my products.
Putting our layouts into low-fi sketches allowed us to visualize how the content would interact with each other. For the first round of user testing, my partner drew lo-fi workflows to show a user scheduling an appointment to network with someone within their desired company.
After feedback from user testing, my partner drew lo-fi workflows to show a user scheduling an appointment to network with someone within their desired company. We decided to change the informational architecture to focus solely on interview preparation.
I learned that until you can see the anticipated layout, you won’t fully understand what buttons you’ll need.
User testing with the POP app
For our first round of user testing with the low-fi version, we gave testers the task of setting a reminder to network with someone at a prospective company.
Feedback from testers:
The language we used was misleading and confusing to new users.
The flow felt clunky - especially the back, next buttons, and how the design worked as an overlay.
This was the first realization that the app was quite complex, and had a lot of extra steps, ultimately not making the users life easier.
We still had a tricky time with leading questions. This stage was crucial for the app creation and learning about the UX process because we were able to directly see where our holes in the app were.
Embracing the iterative process
We had gone through several rounds of iterations and testing and something was missing from the concept. We had many ideas but they weren't meshing together and the users were continuously failing the tests.
When in doubt, go back to initial research. We reanalyzed our trends and interviews from the beginning of the process to see what we had missed. We realized we had overcomplicated the concept and decided to go back a few steps and think about how our idea connected to the goal of preparing graduates through the job process.
We took feedback from the POP testing and created a higher fidelity wireframe in Invision and iterated twice. Consistent feedback from users was that the copy was confusing or misleading, and buttons needed to be enlarged.
I learned about how valuable any type of tester feedback was, no matter how short it was. Since we had been working closely with the concept it was easy to overlook certain functionality flaws in the workflow. This step allowed me to step back and observe most objectively at the product.
Higher fidelity wire frames
Combining the splash of color and UI design to the functionality allowed us to see the app come to life, and better visualize how components fit together.
UI Design ideation
We wanted a clean, modern look for the app since our target audience were comprised of young adults, who are very tech savvy. We kept the layout to consistently have a title, subtitle (when necessary), and only 3 buttons as main functionality options. I made these UI options:
I learned that the UI design can change the overall feeling of the experience because it influences how different content on the screen interacts with each other.
Final design and style guide
The final design has a intersections, which serves as a metaphor for the crossroads that recent graduates will experience after graduation during the job process. The layers add texture without crowding the content on the screen.
The dark green/teal palette symbolizes growth and rejuvenation, which directly reflects the transitional period of our target users.
The font is sans serif to contribute to the modern feel, and is also easy to read. While the high contrast between white and dark teal, and black text allow for high accessibility for all audiences.
The logo reflects the intersection of two different phases of life and growth.
The name CAPTIVATE was chosen to echo the motivations of the app. Interviews fixate on storytelling, while candidates aim to “captivate” their audience. We wanted to empower our users to share their stories and make connections with other professionals.
It was important to learn the significance of different colors and how it can influence the product.
UI translation across devices
We recognized that no product lives solely on a phone. In order to accommodate different situations and users, we prepared mockups for the app to live in new places including a smart watch and an iPad.
Our final product combined insight from previous iterations and feedback, the new UI design, and focused on the interview process of the career journey. Check out the final Invision prototype here.
Final features: What can CAPTIVATE do?
CAPTIVATE will help users prepare for 3 kinds of interviews: Job, networking, and informational.
It will generate specific questions tailored to every job someone is applying to.
We offer 4 ways a user can import their job description:
PDF, word docx
Users can view interview practice questions in a list format, or as flash cards.
They can take record their answers to practice, transcribe, and annotate their responses.
CAPTIVATE allows users to write notes about each question. They could brainstorm ideas or write feedback about their answers.
Simple functionalities must be created before expanding the app to cover more tasks.
No matter how late in the development stage, it’s important to refer back to initial data and research.
It will take several iterations in order to get a simple function working properly.
Given more time and access to recent grads, we would have conducted deeper interviews to expand our insights.
Moving forward: Potential features
Post-interview options, so users can indicate which questions they were asked to help other users prepare for certain companies
Suggested answers or answer structure for specific questions
Feedback system so users can improve their answers
Mock interview settings
Video recording functionality, so users can see their body language
Grow the apps capability to help people prepare for all career goal mapping and long term career steps - not just interview prep
next steps: Development
Further user testing and iterating to improve the prototype
Continue interviews to learn more about what kinds of questions people are the most interested in or struggle with
Find ways to integrate with Linkedin
Create ad campaign and brand plan to get it to the market