Faster feedback loops with prototyping and research

How we gained user insights and tested our critical assumptions

Matt Jarvis
Mission Beyond
Published in
3 min readMay 21, 2021


It’s week 4 of building Talent Compass. After sending out our user recruitment form, some back and forth emails and a few rounds of calendar Tetris, we finally had a group of users booked in. The objectives of these hour-long interviews were to gain insights from young adults aged between 18–24 entering the workplace.

Paired with discussion topics and a prototype, these conversations should help the team learn from users’ first-hand experiences and hopefully validate or disprove critical assumptions from our backlog. These assumptions were:

  • A conversational tone is the best way to interact with our customer
  • Translations of input into skills will be relevant, accurate and actionable
  • Individuals’ skills can be articulated in a way to be relevant to jobs
  • The product’s branding lends it credibility, and users will be willing to engage with it

The interview itself was split into two parts:

Part 1 (25 mins)

Interview questions based around various topics — an introduction, their educational background, job searching, career advice, and digital usage.

Part 2 (25 mins)

Test our initial prototype’s credibility and desirability of the proposition, conversational chatbot, and brand execution.

What we learned

We tested with 6 females in total, all of whom are at various stages in their early work life — from just starting to think about their university choice through to searching for a job. They all had their own unique story but some clear themes were evident.

Lack of careers advice

Some students felt Universities were out of touch with the skills needed for the current job market and did not set them up for getting jobs. Career advice was very light touch and not actionable. They all felt more guidance was needed.

Job deselection

When looking for a job, users struggled to know where to start with results being so broad and difficult to know if they were relevant or qualified.

Feedback loops

When applying for jobs the main frustration was spending so much time creating a CV and cover letters to then get rejected without any feedback or even a response was very demoralising.


Users found having a mentor or a personal connection with a teacher helped them focus on areas to pursue.


Everyone highlighted the importance of networking and wished they had started sooner. Internships and boot camps were by far the most valuable experience in giving clarity of what they wanted and did not want in a career.

Validated assumptions

Our early findings indicated that Talent Compass would be a useful product for young people entering the job market through testing the landing page and chatbot prototype, especially if it also surfaced relevant job opportunities to apply for.

A conversational tone was a desirable way for users to engage with the product. Each question asked built excitement that their inputs would be translated into skills. When revealed, the results sparked delight and surprise in seeing a skill they didn’t know they possessed, validating our assumption that users would find having their inputs translated into skills useful.

The initial product branding had a positive response with all users validating that they felt the product was a credible service they would be willing to use. The tone of voice felt age-appropriate, warm and encouraging. And the use of diverse photography made users feel represented.

What’s next?

Over the forthcoming weeks, we will be continuing to iterate on the product as we speak to more users. We’ll also validate or disprove more critical assumptions from our backlog. Look out for our next blog and see how we progress.