UX Case Study# 4: Product Team Workflow (ExplorIN).

Overview

Students go into high school excited to begin their four-year journey carefree at a young age. But as they accomplish their senior years, the time for them to decide what to do next with their lives is around the corner. Some students have supportive families and friends which make their life transition seamless. However, not all students have the same privileges. And some schools either offer poor counseling services or simply none. Our team has set out to determine how we might encourage, educate, and guide high school students through the process of life and career planning, ultimately providing increased future success and readiness.

Our commitment as a team for this project is to better understand pain points, future plannings and experiences of high school teenagers who still feel uncertain about their post-high school plans. The goal of the research is to help them find a way to explore different options through our product which should provide them a clearer vision of what they might feel suitable or passionate for in college. Or potentially, a different direction such as an internship.

Methodology

Our team was given the freedom to chose whatever tools and methods we saw useful for this project. so, we have implemented the ones we considered to be the most helpful ones:

  • User Interview
  • Persona
  • Journey Map
  • Feature Prioritization Matrix
  • MoSCow Map
  • Design Studio
  • Annotations
  • Clickable Prototype
  • Usability Testing
  • Score Card
  • UX Analytics

Hypothesis

High schoolers need encouragement, education, and guidance through the process of life and career planning to achieve readiness and success as they transition into adulthood.

INITIAL PROBLEM STATEMENT

High school students begin their four-year journey carefree and excited at a young age. Junior or senior year, they unexpectedly have to decide what they are doing with their lives going into adulthood. Some students have supportive families which make this life transition seamless, but many students are left to decide their own future — often unable to process the mass amount of new information and key steps to creating a future they want.

How might we encourage, educate, and guide high school students through the process of life and career planning, ultimately providing increased future success and readiness?

BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS

As a team, we decided that LinkedIn could be a good company to partner with for this project. We decided to implement a Business Model Canvas because this tool will help us understand the LinkedIn business model in a straightforward, structured way. Also, it will help us grasp insights about the customers LinkedIn serves, the value propositions offered at its channels, and how they make money.

We have conducted a deep research on LinkedIn’s key offerings, values, partners, activities, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure, and revenue streams.

  • LinkedIn brings value through networking and connectedness in the user’s area of expertise, promoting business connections and industry contacts.
  • Helps users develop and manage their professional identity and brand through personalization of their profile, posts, and connections.
  • LinkedIn’s KPI’s allow users to track how well they are communicating and reaching connections as feedback for the user to improve their networking or personal brand techniques.
  • The fastest growing age range for LinkedIn currently is ages 18–24 (globally).

DISCUSSION GUIDE/INTERVIEWS

To get to know our users and their current methodologies around future career planning along with understanding and empathizing with any challenges they face, we have created a list of opening ended questions. and recruited a group of 6 interviewees ages rage between 16 to 19. . Through each interview we conducted, we were able to gain insights into user needs and frustrations within future or career planning for teens. Most interviews were conducted by Zoom, with a few exceptions in person.

It was imperative for our project to gain insights, paint points and experiences from our interviewees so we can have a better understanding of their needs and which turn our project should take.

we created a list of 20 questions and recorded each one of the interviews for note purposes.

AFFINITY MAPPING.

Once we gathered our interviewees’ responses, we proceeded to synthesize ideas, insights and pain points onto sticky notes. We sorted them out into categories and subcategories. then, we finalized these categories into general themes. These themes were then used to create “I-Statements”, which expose the user’s pain points and needs.

  • Record research findings + quotes onto sticky notes — color coded for each interviewee.
  • Group major findings into an Affinity Map to uncover basic categories / themes.
  • From the major themes that arise, create “I-Statements” + resulting insights.
  • Students need a way to learn more in-depth about concepts they are introduced to in high school to inspire their career interests and goals.
  • Students need exposure and hands-on experience during high school in order to feel confident about their future plan decisions.
  • Students need to create a future plan with their personal and career goals in mind, with questions lined up for their scheduled meeting with guidance counselors.

PERSONA

Our persona, Mike, was discovered and created from research synthesis and the previously described “I-Statements”. Mike represents our primary persona, who gives us insight into any needs or frustrations of our teen users.

Used synthesized “I-Statements” and insights to provide key information about our primary user base so we can create our Persona profile and indicate main user goals, needs, and frustrations in future planning for high school from a single perspective.

  • Focused on a primary user who seeks more help and guidance ~ 17 y.o.
  • Goals: build confidence of skills in his career path, be passionate about my career choice, and be ready by the end of senior year to make future decision
  • Needs: more help and guidance to plan my future, real-life experience to see if I like different careers, and to create a plan to ensure I make a good life decision
  • Frustrations: has neglected to talk to professionals for help planning future and is now overwhelmed, worrying about school debt or not being skilled at future jobs, being jealous or compared to other teen’s future planning progress

JOURNEY MAP

As a team, we created this Journey Map which helped us visualize how our persona, Mike, is feeling while going through his senior year future planning processes. We were able to determine the ups and downs of his journey.

  • Outlined major user task “phases” into 4 categories to showcase different parts of Mike’s journey.
  • Provided user steps during each phase Mike’s journey to planning his future career.
  • Visually displays the user’s emotional experience with quotes during each step of Mike’s journey.
  • Major highlights or pain points called-out during each phase in order of time.
  • Opportunities — outlines major problem space improvements + user frustrations.
  • Users need a structure to help them know where and how to start future planning.
  • Students need to build an initial plan before seeking help from a college counselor.
  • Users need a way to search for career topics and necessary skills / future outlook.
  • Users mainly learn through communication with support systems and watching videos.
  • Users need help with future planning organization + finding relevant, useful information.

REVISED PROBLEM STATEMENT

As Mike and his classmates transition into their senior year, he feels unprepared to make future life decisions because he has not yet started planning. He has a guidance meeting this week and doesn’t know what to ask or do. Mike’s parents are pressuring him to start thinking about his future plans to be prepared for his scheduled meeting and keep up with his friend’s planning progress.

How might we encourage Mike and other students to start planning a career they are passionate about earlier on in high school?

  • Reviewed initial problem statement and compared assumptions and change in thinking after user research and synthesis.
  • Refocused problem space to be geared towards mending pains from our Persona and his experiences through the Journey Map.
  • Focus on guiding high school students through creating their future career plan and understanding all of their possible options.
  • Encourage early self-exploration and focused learning through informational videos, self reflections / assessments, and researching career paths.
  • Provide informational next-steps towards initializing and finalizing decisions, as well as launching into career path.

MOSCOW MAP

With our most essential and in-scope features decided from our Prioritization Matrix, we determined which features Must, Should, Could and Won’t be included in our product designs based on our scope through the MoSCoW Map.

  • Looked to revised problem scope and listed key insights that lead to possible features.
  • Generated an exhaustive list that included in and out-of-scope ideas.
  • Determined we will design only what we think “Must” be included.
  • Generated a selective list of features which must be included to aid our user’s pain points.
  • Discover page (Access Youtube API videos of career-development pages in large grid-preview view).
  • Suggested careers based on imputed interests (Users asked to check from a gallery of interest title blocks when they create their account — these filter which careers display on Discover page).
  • Links to more information (Want to learn more or find more specific information? See more from resource links and videos — we want to inspire users to research and explore).

DESIGN STUDIO

After coming to a team agreement on what features are priority and necessary to our designs, we initiated a Design Studio to generate rough ideas rapidly and visually. Each team member was able to get their ideas out on paper with little attention to details that are distracting when ideating.

Reasoning

  • Create Lo-Fi, rough sketches to get all ideas out without bias to one design.
  • Combine team’s ideas to create designs that are agreed upon and unique.
  • Come to a conclusion on what we want our initial Explore / home screen to look like.

Mid-Fi PROTOTYPE.

Moving on from our sketches, the team created the Mid Fi screens and a wireflow which are multiple screens together to display the journey the user has to make to complete a task within the app.

The flow lays out the users movement throughout the product, mapping out their decision making points and movements from start to end.

Figma was the platform used by the team for the creation of our Mid Fi screens.

USABILITY TESTING (Mid-Fidelity).

We started with a mid-fidelity prototype so we can test new features and layouts without investing too much time and money into a product that might not meet the needs of our target user. To test our prototype, we developed some tasks and scenarios using our persona’s pain points and goals.

We needed to observe users while they navigate through our proposed layout as well as determine if our added features are intuitive to users to assess any changes we may need to make before the final launch

  • Created a Mid-Fi, clickable prototype in Figma of our focused features and designs.
  • Usability Testing of 5 users completing 3 scenarios and tasks related to our persona’s journey.
  • Recorded: Time on Task, Easiness Rating, and Directness Success.
  • The results were displayed on a scorecard for easy visualization.
  • Synthesized results and observations to outline design changes for future iterations.
  • The results of our Usability Testing on our Scorecard show all of our participants succeeded to complete all of the tasks from the scenarios provided.
  • Some of the categories on the “Discover” screen were a little similar with one another. Wording descriptions or presenting the content differently is recommended.
  • The “Explore Career Path” screen and “Finishing High School” category may project discrepancies because High School has nothing to do with careers per se.
  • The average Easiness Rating was 4 out of 5, which indicates that participants didn’t have any major obstacles completing these basic tasks within the application.

Hi-Fi PROTOTYPE.

With feedback from the usability testing in round one, we iterated our native application design layout, creating solutions to problems our users faced. We designed the product incorporating visual elements like color, typography, and images, which brought our Mid Fi prototype to a Hi-Fi Prototype.

Methodology

  • Synthesized which changes needed to be made first as a team.
  • Edited Round 1 Mid-Fi designs with high priority features in mind.
  • Walked through our decisions on color palettes, typography, images and layout of our design together in Figma.

Reasoning

Creating the Hi-Fi prototype will allow us to visualize our design ideas and experience our product as a user would. And this would give us a chance to observe and assess if our design solutions are addressing the problems our target audience currently has. It will also address any issues the product has and how we can refine them.

USABILITY TESTING (Hi-Fidelity).

Overview

The team has successfully completed the second round of testing with the 5 recruited participants. Our next step is comparing both results from our first and second round. We have created the 1st Round vs. 2nd Round Chart where we compared all results from both testing Rounds.

Reasoning

For our project, it is imperative to conduct two rounds of testing. One with our mid fi prototype, and the second round with our Hi Fi Prototype in order to identify the pain points and successes of our work based on the information we get from insights.. After conducting the second round of testing, we analyzed the total results from each Task of both testing rounds.

  • Task 1 results also show us that we have 4 Direct Success over 2 from the 1 Round. That implies there’s a 20% increase in the Success rate.
  • For Task 2, the results imply that Round 2 Task took 0:13 seconds less to be completed compared to Round 1.
  • There is an increase of 1 Direct Success for Task 3 on Round 2.
  • For Task 4, Success Rate and Directness have remained the same for both Rounds of testings. 70% for Success Rate and 2 direct successes for borth Testing Rounds.

UX Analytics

Overview

How do we evaluate our created designs? We look to UX Analytics to utilize detailed insights from specific measurable design feature performance, providing a baseline for future improvements. After launching our product, we plan to evaluate user feedback based on key, measured analytics. We first want to discover if our product is valuable to users through analyzing events, pageviews, bounce rates, average time and visitors flow.

Partnership with LinkedIn

Currently, half of LinkedIn’s users have a college degree. From those numbers, it is easy to comprehend that the smallest age range currently utilizing this career developmental tool, both in the U.S. and globally, is ages 18–25. Why is it that users lacking professional connections and fundamental career developmental skills the most, are using this tool the least?.

Providing Value to LinkedIn…

  • By providing increased KPI feedback from an increased user base and outlining how well learning content is communicated across their platform.
  • Expands the age and experience ranges (within demographics KPI) of average LinkedIn users, by branding LinkedIn as a tool for ALL career-seekers — not just professionals.

Achieving Goals, Together.

We both realize that humans are busy, users need space to learn, but also take breaks in between. Both of our visions align in that we want to provide resources for active learning, communication, and career exploration, anytime, anywhere. Our companies both utilize user history data to provide accurate and relevant search results, in order to help our users achieve their goal. We provide users the ability to access and expand their knowledge in various subject areas, while meeting new people within their career field to gain experience.