Time To Make a Career Change — Case Study on Mission Collaborative

Have you ever felt unsatisfied with your current career or wished you could make a career change? Well, you’re not alone. According to Mission Collaborative, two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with their current career status. This astonishing number is what drives people to search for career coaches, go back to school, or feel confused and stay in their dead-end jobs. Now ask yourself this question, what if there was a better process for making a career switch?

The Project

Mission Collaborative is a company with one simple mission: to assist and encourage working professionals who feel unsatisfied with their current careers to make a transition into a new career. The founders, Grant Schroll, Erica Soultanian, and now Ashley Artrip, have created the “Career Design Process” to give you exposure to different career options and create a blueprint, so you can make a successful career change. For this class project, we were tasked with identifying how effective Mission Collaborative’s current website and online learning portal is, and how to improve their services.

Research Process

My group and I started this project by creating a screener survey on Google Forms, to recruit working professionals who have made, or are currently considering making, a career change.

Screenshot of the screener survey

Out of 81 responses, we conducted 15 interviews, in person and over the phone. The interviews helped us understand why people wanted to make a career change, what is preventing them, and what resources they have or would use to complete this task. We also asked about their experience with online learning.

Afterwards, we conducted seven usability tests to identify pain points of Mission Collaborative’s website and online learning portal, currently on Teachable.

Data Analysis

In addition to our interviews and usability tests, we also analyzed data provided by the clients; which tracked 148 people’s journey through the Fellowship.

Since no one in my team is an expert data analyst, we struggled with tackling this massive data set since we wanted to include all thoughts and concerns. In the end, we decided to break up the data set by salary ranges: $0-$50k, $50k-$120k, and $120k-$200k+.

We then created affinity maps for each test.

Findings

From the affinity maps and analysis of the UVA data set we found common trends, despite the difference in salary.

We also found people decided to make a career change because they were:

  • Dissatisfied with their current career
  • Curious about what else is out there
  • Motivated by financial goals
  • Wanted to pursue their passions

We also found people were reluctant to make career changes because they:

  • Were afraid to take a risk
  • Felt lost and overwhelmed when doing personal research
  • Lacked of direction and guidance

Personas + Journey Maps

From our findings we created four different personas. Their goals, needs and pain points were based on the UVA data set, while their personalities were shaped from our user interviews. We also created journey maps to reflect what the persona’s experience with Mission Collaborative would entail.

Persona 1
Mark Thompson represents the high salary man who wants to spend more time with his family.

During Mark’s experience with Mission Collaborative, he experienced a few low points.

  1. Felt overwhelmed by the number of platforms he had to use during Week 1 of the Fellowship.
  2. Felt discouraged by the lack of responses from his job hunt during his Transition phase.
  3. Ultimately, Mark felt unsuccessful in his career change since he only made a lateral change at his current company.

Persona 2
Sally McPherson represents people who are close to retirement but are curious about other options available to them.

During her time with Mission Collaborative, Sally had a hard time maintaining her work-life balance, and ultimately felt lost with her career transition.

Persona 3
Rebecca Williams represents people who have a high job title and earn an average salary. She is constantly stressed and wants to pursue her passions.

She ran into similar problems as Mark and Sally, such as large workload. She also ran into connectivity problems with Google Hangouts.

Persona 4
Lewis Sullivan represents the younger crowd who earns a lower salary range. He wants to earn more money, so wants to explore more lucrative career options.

Unlike the other personas, Lewis had qualms with Mission Collaborative’s website since it is overwhelming. However, he believes in the Career Design Process and decides to take the risk. He also feels overwhelmed with everything he must do after the Fellowship, and wishes he had more assistance with this.

Although all of our user research focused on user’s motivations related to career transition, our usability tests highlighted many issues with Mission Collaborative’s website and e-learning portal. With this in mind, we decided to focus on redesigning these touch points; since this is what a user will see first.

Our redesigns focused on making the website more accessible and simplified.

Website Redesign

During our usability tests we found some concerns:

  • The website had too much text — users lost attention and ended up missing valuable and important information
  • Overuse of testimonials — the overuse of testimonials throughout the website discredited Mission Collaborative
  • Text hierarchy did not seem logical — important information, such as dates for programs and the money back guarantee were placed near the bottom of the pages
  • Redundant information — users noticed the same information was sprinkled throughout the website. However, this issue was most evident on the Blog page.

We addressed these concerns by:

  • Simplified pages — we cut out repetitive information and shortened large text blocks
  • Considered logical placement — we addressed the navigation placement as well as content placement. First, we moved the “About” page before the “Programs” page so users can learn as much information as possible before reaching out to Grant and Ashley. We also made sure important content, such as start dates and disclaimers were placed near the top of the page.

In addition to these changes, we also added a “Support” page, which consolidates FAQs and alternative contact methods.

Additional Research and Recommendations

We also wanted to redesign the e-learning portal, Teachable. Similarly to the website, users found the modules were too long and had large blocks of text. Users also thought the side navigation was overwhelming, since it displayed the entire curriculum at once.

However, we quickly found these problems cannot be solved since Teachable limits what you can customize. Therefore, we conducted a comparative analysis of two different platforms that should be considered.

Comparative Analysis

These two platforms were chosen, since they were recommended by GetApp.com. These platforms had similarities, but each had a unique feature not offered by Teachable.

  • All platforms are web-based
  • Northpass and Thinkific are transparent with their price
  • Northpass allows the curriculum to be split into pages — this would help break up large chunks of text so it is easier to digest
  • Thinkific has more customization options — offers HTML editor and JavaScript editor
  • Thinkific also has an automated check-in option — instructors can send encouraging notifications to their students

Accessibility

Another main part of the project was to assess the accessibility of the website, to ensure it meets WCAG 2.0 levels of accessibility. This includes color contrast, text size, transcripts for videos, and much more.

From our findings, we found that currently none of the pages on Mission Collaborative’s website meet this standard. Luckily, there are some easy fixes to help the website reach at least the A level of compliance.

  • Provide transcripts for all videos on website
  • Include alt tags for all images and gifs on website/e-learning
  • Ensure active links can be differentiated from inactive links some other way besides color changes
  • Add more color contrast across the website/e-learning pages
  • Improve visual hierarchy across all pages
  • Break up large chunks of text

Recommendations and Suggestions for the Client

We created two groups of recommendations: short term and long term

The short term goals are focused on the website and updating it be more current and compliant.

  • Overall website should be more accessible and efficient, as previously suggested
  • Videos on website/e-learning site should be updated to be more professional
  • Introduce streamlined questions and surveys for Fellowship users during sign up, to help build better teams and match partners
  • Introduce mandatory MBTI tests or Gallup partnership

In the long term goals, we suggested the client create partnerships to further improve their process

  • Establish partnerships with other programs (such as: JobsIQ) to recommend to participants after the Fellowship ends
  • Transfer online Fellowship from Teachable to new and more accessible e-learning platform
  • Add visualized statistics onto “About” page, in a prominent location, to establish credibility
  • Having trends from what field of work past participants in similar positions transferred into

Takeaway

During this project I did not know how many working professionals had the desire to change careers, but I was able to empathize since I am in the same situation as them. This project also made me really think about accessibility features, as I had never considered how important it is for those who require the features.

If we had been given more time, we would have loved to work on the redesign of the website further and eventually add updated features to the learning platform.

I believe we were able to provide the clients with a good template of how their next iteration of the website could and should look like.

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions about my process or have feedback I would love to hear from you! Say hi at mijang354@gmail.com or connect via LinkedIn.

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