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How do I know if this idea is the right one?

A FRAMEWORK TO JUDGE THE VALIDITY OF AN IDEA

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What people problem am I trying to solve?

How do I know this is a real problem?

How will I know if I've solved this problem?

Unemployment makes people unhappy. It has been associated with many psychological variables. Searching for a new job can be both time consuming and stressful.

Finding the right opportunity is not always easy. The current COVID pandemic has also increased competition for jobs.People need a quicker way of finding a new job.

Metrics I will record will include a task success rate and task completion time. Qualitative metrics will include levels of satisfaction expressed by users. If the product is launched to market user engagement rates, new user signups and retention rates can be tracked.

People problem statement

"I've recently been made unemployed. I'm trying to find a new job urgently but am spending too much time moving around different job boards. I need a faster way"

Primary Research

As a user centered design approach is being used I wanted to investigate the topic further by carrying out some of my own primary research. I created a survey using 'Survey Monkey' to obtain quantitative data on some of my potential product users. I obtained twenty six respondents for the online survey. The online survey provided some interesting information about users behaviour and frustrations when undertaking a job search. In order to find out more information on these frustrations I also conducted interviews over Skype with potential users of my app, gathering qualitative data that will will help me to gain further understanding on the topic.

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Task Model

User Personas

From analysing the data gathered from previous research a clear picture of the apps potential users emerged. User personas were then developed based on the patterns and similarities between my interview participants. These personas will help me to understand the user and will inform future design decisions.

Task Model

I created a task model to understand what users would want from my app and how I could go about designing it. The model was used to determine what steps users will take when using the app and the key decisions they need to make while using it.

Task Model

Customer Experience Map

A customer experience map was then designed as a tool for visualizing all of the potential journeys a customer of my app may experience, as well as a visual of how all of these journeys are connected. The map will help me to visualize the frustrations people are currently experiencing and how my app will be able to fix these pain points. I designed the customer experience map for one of the personas I had created - in this example for the 'Unemployed Job Seeker'.

Customer Experience Map

Information Architecture

A card sorting exercise was then conducted to evaluate and generate ideas for the information architecture of the app. The aim was to find patterns that give clues about the most logical and user-friendly way to organize the content on the app. I involved participants using 'OptimalWorkshop' and employed an open card sort approach. I then created a site map. The map acts as a visual aid to see the relationships between the pages and content.

Site Map

User Stories

user stories

User Flows

Based on all the information learned in the research stage as well as assessing what features the app would provide for users I mapped out the primary screens of the app from registration to end goal. The user stories were translated into flows to represent a visual journey through the app for each user task identified. It was important to make the user flow intuitive so that it was a simple process from beginning to end.

flows

Sketches

I then began the ideation phase of sketching out screen ideas for the different users flows in the app. The plan for this phase was to create a paper prototype then test with users to iterate the design before moving on to develop high fidelity wireframes.

I examined the data collected from the user research and also my user personas when brainstorming ideas. One of the comments that came from users needs was "An app like a Trello board just for the job search topic". I investigated the Trello app and noticed that a kanban board was being used to organise content. I decided that a similar idea could be used for my app for the job tracker screen where saved jobs would be displayed so sketched out this idea. Other user needs were taken into account when deciding on possible options for the navigation menu.

Prototype Testing

I returned to my slack channel to engage with my target users for feedback on my design. I tested the prototype with five participants using a 0-2 completion scale. This allowed me to quantify the feedback from the usability tests and I could then easily interpret the findings. Results from the tests could also be visualised by summing the total count recorded for each task. Task 1 (10), Task 2 (10), Task 3 (9), Task 4 (8).

  • 0: User can’t perform the task.
  • 1: User performed task but had some hesitation.
  • 2: User can perform the task quickly and with no trouble.
Usability Test

Insights

Some additions and refinements were made to the app based on comments from users during testing.

  • Onboarding screens were added to introduce the app to users.
  • Feedback regarding interface design amendments were taken on board and improvements were made to the usability and accessibility of the app. The colours being used were changed to provide more contrast to make the app more accessible.
  • The size of the remove duplicates button was increased as it is the primary button that the users choose initially.
  • The filter button was replaced by a filter icon that is highlighted in dark green as it is interactive.
  • The size of the heading that displays the number of job titles was increased to improve accessibility.
  • The colour palette being used was changed to make the app more accessible. The orange heading was changed to grey to provide more contrast and the light green was changed to a darker green as it failed a contrast test.
  • The plus icon was replaced with a descriptive text button 'save job' as users were not clear what the icon represented.
Job Search (Before Testing)
Usability testing cards before
Job Search (After Testing)
Usability testing cards after
  • The map button was removed as users felt this was confusing and not needed for this screen. Hick's Law was considered when making this decision also - presenting users with less options enables them to make a quicker decision.
  • The primary apply to job button is enlarged as this is the main call to action.
  • Button & heading colours are changed again for accessibility.
Apply (Before Testing)
Usability testing cards before
Apply (After Testing)
Usability testing cards after
  • Another concern was raised regarding the 'Sign In to LinkedIn' screen during the job application. It was felt that this was confusing as it was not clear to users what they were being asked to do on this screen. A LinkedIn logo was being used but was replaced by a 'Sign In to LinkedIn' heading to clarify to the user what they needed to do.
Login (Before Testing)
Usability testing sign in before
Login (After Testing)
Usability testing sign in before

Final Screens

Final Wireframes
MacBook Mockup
Mobile Mockup