Purpose- HUE is a mobile app that allows entry level workers in a large tech firm to find a suitable mentor. The mentors will help entry-levelers transition into the company smoothly by providing one-on-one career advice and journal feedbacks.
Team Members- Warisha Soomro, Mohamed D. Mohamed, Takahiro Ishii
Role- Visual design and user experience
Duration- 8 weeks
Why did we tackle this topic?
Our team members felt the need to tackle an issue that we put close to heart. As aspiring tech professionals, we were curious to explore some of the work experiences of those who are just starting off their careers. We wanted to see what were some of the issues experienced by new graduates and workers who have just entered large companies.
What entry levelers have said
We interviewed four, young tech workers from Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft and began to better understand some of the pain points that entry levelers experience within the first few months and year of working. Here were some of the few things mentioned during the interviews.
"It can be hard to fit in"
"Unable to visualize my own progress"
"I don't think I'm doing enough work"
"It'd be nice to have someone I can relate to"
"I need someone who has similar goals as I do"
"I need someone who takes me seriously"
The user interviews gave us a better idea of our potential target users. The team grouped commonalities using an affinity diagram to identify key behaviors and motivations found in the interviews. We generally found that they were all very ambitious and very proactive people, but would like some more guidance and mentorship to reach their goals. Eventually, this activity generated our personas. Personas capture the ideal users of our product, whose characteristics, pain points, goals, and scenarios were based off of the people who were interviewed.
The Design Problems
After having a better understanding of our potential users, it came down to three question that we want to address in our design.
How do we make sure that entry levelers feel heard?
How do we ensure that entry levelers can visualize their progress in the company?
How do we find another person in the company that an entry leveler can relate to?
Sketches & Ideation
We were able to come up with initial sketches and ideas of features our app will be offering. After a large quantity of iterative sketches, we were able to decide what scenarios users will find themselves in while using this product, and how the flow of information will be structured for the users. This stage can also help us decide which features we wanted to keep or get rid off for our paper prototypes.
As a team, we decided to create a mentorship matching system. This way entry levelers can receive one-on-one career advice from someone whom they can relate to.
Why a phone app?
From the interviews, we noticed that our typical users have busy days and would therefore require an "on-the-go" feature that they can always access, whether they are at home or at work. This can also incentivize regular communication between mentors and mentees.
Considering the app features we have sketched and ideated, we also thought about specific scenarios in which our users might find this app useful.
This is where we decided what worked and what didn't work for our users.
Using Marvel, we have generated some annotated wireframes that represent the final structure of the features we want to incorporate in our designs.
When the mentees sign up, they will answer a set of questions that will help the app match the mentee to available mentors who have similar roles and career trajectories. Signing up will also involve the mentee connecting his or her Linkedin account. This will also help the app find mentor matches more accurately.
After answering the questionnaire, the mentee will be shown a list of available mentor matches. Then, he or she will be able to view the mentor profiles and reach out to a mentor.
Communicate with mentor and track progress
Once the mentee reaches out to the mentor, he or she can set up a time to meet with the mentor. The messaging feature is also an easy way to mentees and mentors to communicate whenever possible. The journal feature allows mentees to keep track of any feedback or advice from the mentorship. Mentees may share the journal with their mentors. This way mentees can keep track of their progress in the company and keep learning as they go.
What I learned
From our user testing session, we had a lot of positive feedback on the idea of mentoring entry level workers. As a team, we thought that it might be more valuable if we ask interview questions that were more geared towards mentorship experiences. That way, perhaps, our design requirements could be narrowed down. In addition, it would be extremely rewarding to understand what incentivizes people to start mentoring. This was a challenge that we had encountered when trying to establish design requirements for mentors. How do we incentivize more professionals to help entry levelers navigate their careers?
Given more time, it would also be interesting to design the mentor side of the app after learning more about what it is that incentivizes people to start mentoring.