Mentorcycle — Ux design case study

Problem

Many immigrants, like me, agree that finding the first job is not an easy task. The lack of network, Canadian experience and feedback makes this process frustrating and full of uncertainty.

How many of us wished could’ve had someone providing advice to make a process like this easier? Maybe we needed specific advice to get the right direction, maybe we needed help on developing a skill. And after learning from these experiences, how many of us would like to share this knowledge and help others to avoid this type of difficulties in their lives but don’t know where and how?

Opportunity

The previous questions created an opportunity for my project:

A platform that helps to connect people in need for advice with potential experts. A place where people can share their knowledge and experience providing a one-on-one or written advice in a voluntary basis.

At the beginning, I pictured this app as a solution for the job hunt problem, but I realized the app could be extended to anyone who needs advice and guidance in any field. The app can also become a networking tool offering a less intimidating approach.

Research

To start developing the idea, I needed to understand better people’s perception about mentoring. Mainly, I wanted to find the following:

· How much mentoring could benefit people

· How likely people consider to become a mentor and what are the obstacles to become one

For this purpose, I created an online survey that was sent to 20 people where I received 14 responses. I also conducted in person interviews to 5 people with diverse backgrounds and experiences matching most of the potential users I have in mind.

Link to online survey: https://stringscream.typeform.com/to/RMxgIE

These are the findings:

· Most of the people consider beneficial to have a mentor and specially immigrants considered having a mentor in the past would’ve made their establishing process faster. (3.3/5)

· Most of the people would consider becoming a mentor (3.4/5) but the main factor against doing it is the lack of time (71%).

· People prefer mentoring over volunteering for an organization (3.3/5)

These findings made clear the benefit of mentoring, however, I knew I needed to create a solution to keep people engaged in mentoring.

Personas

Because the primarily intent of the app was aimed to help immigrants in their job search, I created the first persona revealing certain important attributes of my first type of user:

· Young professional immigrant with strong ambition

· An urge to find guidance

· An urge to find employment

In the other hand, the second persona I created was aimed to match the mentor profile:

· Natural Leader

· Spiritual

· Community oriented

· Compassionate

Scenarios

Having in mind these personas, I created two possible scenarios for each case:

· Carlos recently moved to Canada and he is working on his personal computer at home preparing his resume to apply for a couple of jobs he found. Because it’s the first time he is applying for a job here, He isn’t very confident about the result of his resume. He already went to a couple of workshops provided by the government, however he thought they were too generic and he feels he needs to refine better his interview skills for the jobs he is applying for. He thinks the best way is to find people that are working on his field that could give him specific advice

· Jessica is on her phone on a Sunday morning and found on the news a story about the struggle that immigrants experience when trying to find a job. Naturally, she was touched by the story, especially because she remembers what her family went through. She started to search for events and institutions where she could help but all she found is the same volunteering events and organizations she already knows. She always had in mind this idea of getting involved in mentoring but she wants to do it on her own, at her own schedule since the volunteering organizations force her to be involved in the same type of activities, with a schedule that not always worked for her.

Based on these scenarios I created a basic set of user stories:

· As a user I want to open the app and be able to search for available mentors in my field of interest

· As a user, I want to be able to contact a mentor quickly

· As a user, I want to be able to read information about the mentor of my interest

· As a user, I want to be able to write about myself and my specific needs

Mentor profile stories:

· As a user, I want to make myself available to be contacted through a public profile

· As a user, I want to be able to reply to user requests

· As a user, I want to be able to schedule my availability

· As a user I want to search for people in need for my specific field of expertise

Priority Features

For the priority features I did a few exercises including the Priority Matrix, the Kano Model and the Bucket list to filter and find the most important features that will define my MVP (minimum valuable product).

The final list of features included:

· Mentor or mentee search tool

· Messaging

· Mentor profile creation

· Mentor request

· Articles

These features aim to connect users either by creating a mentor profile or a mentor request that will make them available for the community. However, based on the results of my research, and the feedback of my first presentation of the app, I decided to add the articles feature. The idea is that mentors will be able to share their tips and advice in a written form making it accessible to anyone even when they are too busy. In the other hand, mentees will be able to access some information even when they don’t find mentors available. This will also help the community to stay engaged with the app producing content.

User flows

Now that I had more clear the goals for each profile, I created my first user flow:

Userflow v.1

I basically wanted to drive the user in two different directions depending on their choice (mentor or mentee) and being able to achieve the goal of either contacting or being contacted.

Wireframes and Prototypes

The first series of wireframes in low-fidelity gave me the opportunity to start having a more visual perception of the app while starting to develop the basic interactions and the tone I wanted to speak to the user.

Link to first prototype: https://popapp.in/w/projects/57bddcf1a0bd4c5c1d2a1c19/preview

The mid-fidelity prototypes helped me to define other areas that I didn’t covered before such as articles, activity page, alternate states and icons used for interactions:

Usability testing

The first version of my app left the following learnings:

· People had trouble to edit a mentor request. This was caused by the naming used on the menu. It was “I need a mentor” instead of “mentor requests” so it was hard for them to find the mentor request they created on the on-boarding flow

· In the on-boarding process, people found confusing the creation of keywords to help them find mentors.

· The activity page was crowded mixing mentors and articles

· There was extra search boxes in the the mentor requests making the search place less consistent

Final high-fidelity prototype

Based on the findings of my usability tests and more research, I decided to rethink the structure of the app. I wanted to have a more clear navigation and a more simple and appealing look without sacrificing functionality. The user flow was changed adding a more detailed navigation:

Userflow v.2

One of the important changes I made in the architecture was the splitting of the activity page into articles and users (mentors and mentees). This made more clear these sections and eventually a more organized search process. I made the on-boarding process more simple by removing one step with a an improved interaction of keywords creation. I removed the hamburger menu turning it into a more accesible bar at the bottom. This also helped me to save the space at the top for a contextual navigation (Ex. received/sent in the messages section). Finally, the search box would remain consistent across the different sections in the top bar beside the name of the section

Here is the final prototype created in Invision:

The Brand

The word Mentorcycle came from the concept of recycling. The idea is that people that got a benefit from being mentored will become a mentor in the future sharing their experiences making the interaction of the app a cycle.

I followed some of the guidelines of Google Material Design, implementing some of the styles and typography treatment. This helped me to frame the app into a clean, modern and content oriented design. However, due to the

For the logo design, I leveraged the symbolic concept of wisdom associated with the owl that comes from the ancients Greeks. I created a more geometrical and abstract shape keeping only basic aspects of the face. This design fitted seamlessly the rest of the design and was reused as an icon to associate it with mentoring across the app.

Future steps

I would like to continue developing more functionality while testing it constantly. I also want to define more the brand and tone of the app.

Some possible future enhancements:

· Better on-boarding flows specially for new mentors to motivate and educate them about mentoring.

· Creation of mentoring courses

· Monetization model based on paid accounts, marketing ads and partnering with companies such as recruitment agencies.

· Possibility to pay mentors.

· Possibility to review mentors

· Social media integration

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