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OVERVIEW

Post-secondary students go through a lot of struggles throughout their years, and throughout working towards their degree, they constantly think of one thing: will I get a job after graduating? There are many opportunities out there, however students have difficulty finding these opportunities. Our plan is to make it easier for students to not only find these opportunities but to also become aware of other opportunities that they may not know of. Our solution is to inform students about the diversity that exists within the UX field and make it easier for these students to find and become a part of these opportunities

ROLES & RESPONSIBILTIES

My role within this project was more of a UX Researcher. I assisted in the creation of the low-fidelity and medium fidelity  prototype, however, two other designers were responsible for the high-fidelity prototype. 

I was in charge of creating a Usability Test along with conducting and analyzing the test. I was then responsible for recommending changes that should be implemented based on my findings. 

PROBLEM

Our mission with this app is to be a helping hand to any individual that is looking to pursue a career in UX, regardless if they are a student or not. When speaking to our users, they have indicated their frustrations with using multiple websites and aids when trying to find UX related information. For this reason, we have created an app that will satisfy every aspect of pursuing a UX career

RESEARCH METHODS

Our first source of research was surveys, where  we came up with our goals and purpose for the survey. We decided that we wanted to be able to see how students go about finding a job within the UX field and understand how students view UX.  We also wanted to know if students are aware of the diversity and the opportunities that the UX field offers, their challenges obtaining a job within UX and what employment platforms they use to locate a job within UX. 

Our target users for a Contextual Inquiry we conducted were post-secondary students and we used popular online forums that students used to find jobs. We used LinkedIn, Indeed, Instagram, and Facebook, with the main topic being finding a career in UX design. We took comments from these platforms regarding the challenges that are faced within the careers of UX design, and also the rewards of pursuing a UX career. We focused on our users behaviors when they were online. This means looking at the comments that they have made and the reviews that they have left behind in an online forum. 

USERS & AUDIENCE

The interview process was done after the surveys. This is because the surveys help us collect demographic information on our potential users, which will help us focus our questions to be more relevant and get the most amount of information possible. User interviews are important because it helps us gain a better understanding of the users, the problems they may have, and their expectations for our product. Furthermore, the interviews will have the time and flexibility for a follow-up conversation on the questions to gain a better understanding. 

 

The three critical question we asked to gain insights were: 

What is most important when looking into future UX careers?

What is most intimidating about looking into a UX career?

Is there anything holding you back from pursuing a career in UX?

EMPATHY

The interview process was done after surveys. This is because the surveys help us collect demographic information on our potential users, which helped us focus our questions to be more relevant and get the most amount of information possible. Our interviews were conducted by having pre-prepared questions. 

Our fictional persona, Emily Smith, is a second year student currently attending Wilfrid Laurier University for UX design.  Emily would describe herself to be organized, passionate, hardworking, and protective.  She is having difficulty deciding which aspect of UX she wants to pursue, as she is not aware of the various fields within UX. 

DEFINE & IDEATE

Businesses are beginning to realize the importance of user experience, referred to as UX, as it aims to fulfill the user’s needs and provide a positive experience that helps keep users loyal to the product and company brand. With this being said, there are many disciplines within UX that can be pursued, including user research, user interface design, UX writing, and interface engineering, just to name a few. How can we ensure students are aware of all these disciplines within UX? 

NOW-HOW-WOW Matrix 

                         Now:

  • Talks about the diversity of UX as a field via forums or webinars. 

  • Educating students looking to pursue UX about the potential career opportunities within tech and design via readings and/or blogs. 

                       How:

  • Simplify the process and experience for students searching for careers in UX. 

  • Bring exposure to the UX industry and reveal the versatility of careers within it.

                       Wow:

  • Promoting the benefits of each respective discipline to young individuals. 

  • Matched volunteer positions based on your chosen discipline within UX. 

We then categorized our ideas into the NOW-HOW-WOW matrix. Ideas that are easily fasible would go into the "NOW" section, ideas that are difficult to implement would into the "HOW" section, and ideas that are innovative would go into the "WOW" section. 

PAPER PROTOTYPE

Our low fidelity wireframe outlines a mobile app that allows students to learn about various hard and soft skills that are staple for many jobs within UX design. As well, the app allows users to explore the various UX occupations, along with lists of job postings for each type. Our mission with this app is to be a helping hand to any individual that is looking to pursue a career in UX, regardless if they are a student or not. When speaking to our users, they have indicated their frustrations with using multiple websites and aids when trying to find UX related information. For this reason, we have created an app that will satisfy every aspect of pursuing a UX career.

When users land on the app, they will be presented with a welcome page that allows them to either “log in” or “sign up. Choosing the sign up option will allow users to enter their name, age, gender. Email, password, and profile picture. The information inputted by the user will then be used to create their profile, which can be seen by employers on the app. Once a user passes this point, they will land on the Learn webpage. Here, users will be able to select certain UX skills

USABILITY TESTING

Most of our testing was done remotely via Zoom calls/screen-share, so it was a bit more difficult to gauge body language. However, as a result we were able to record the testing which allowed us to go back to certain tests if we needed to further understand the user comments and feedback.  The participants were first tasked with logging in and creating a user profile where they would enter some information about themselves such as name, age, gender, contact information, program, year etc. After creating their profile, they would then be directed to the main page of the application and from here users are able to access more UX Design related information such as job postings, skill sets (such as wireframing, prototyping, etc) and information on the different types of careers in the UX industry.

USABILITY TEST FINDINGS

Overall, most of the participants had no issues navigating and using different parts of the application during our testing. However, during testing some of the users got a little confused because on the main page there was a “Basics'' button which contained different UX lessons similar to the “Learn” button in the navigation bar at the bottom. As users navigated around the application, some pages didn’t contain the bottom navigation menu which confused some users when they wanted to go back as they had not noticed that the back arrow was now at the top of the screen. Overall, the testing went smoothly and the average time per test was around one and a half minutes after the initial explanation and introductions were done. 

The main areas of improvement were to: 

  • "Basics" and "Learn" button bringing confusion - add label/descriptions to buttons to make more clear or make both into one label

  • Users had issue with placement of "Back" button - move back button to bottom navigation bar

IMPROVED PROTOTYPE

From the medium fidelity prototype, users are able to navigate through the important features of the website and/or application, enabling them to see job boards and learn about UX careers also. The use of colour plays an important role in creating the application and the website– we did this for a reason. We took into consideration that many individuals can be stressed while looking for jobs, and we want them to have a good experience while using our platform, hence the end app will use a friendly colour palette, however, we have decided to leave our medium fidelity prototype as greyscale.  The welcoming page will be a cool tone, suggesting relaxation, but there is a hint of playfulness in it (the bubbles floating). The third page of our application and website will have a hint of orange to it, this can make individuals feel excited as they look at the page. 

. To continue on, when users enter the app they will be greeted with the “Welcome!”, then users are able to click the sign-up box, or the log-in box. Then users are guided to the “Create Profile” page. In this page, users are able to add in their profile photo, put their name, their age, gender, email, and password. Furthermore, on the third page, users are able to put information in what they are currently learning in, or what they want to learn in the feature. This is a good feature to have as it will show recruitment agencies of what you are interested in. Please refer to Appendix B for our medium fidelity prototype.

TESTING PART 2

We asked the participants a series of questions regarding their experience with the efficiency and the usability of the application. Some of the questions we asked were:

  • What feature did you find the most and least useful?

  • What feature would you change?

  • What features would you recommend?

  • How was your experience completing the tasks?

Asking these questions to the participants and having a conversation helped us get a significant among of useful information to develop the application further. This will benefit us in the future since it will lead to improvements and new features. For example, many users liked how easy it was to find careers but wished there was a section for a quick overview of careers. We plan on using some of the user's feedback to troubleshoot and help improve the design.

High Fidelity Prototype

With the information and feedback we gathered from our usability testing sessions, we updated our design for the app to fully address all user needs. We believe our research methods were the most appropriate methods for our target users, as the majority of our users are post-secondary students who are looking to learn more about UX careers and skills to pursue their dream job. Therefore, many of our participants are knowledgeable individuals who have many insights and opinions which grant us valuable data.  

 The testing session results are focused on three main areas. To begin, our results have that your job board should have more information. Therefore, we decided to add tag lines to help with the efficiency of the app’s job board and to aid the overall visual appeal. For instance, many participants mentioned that there should be filters placed in order to refine their search. We have placed filters on any aspects of the app that require the user to search through multiple options. As well, participants mentioned that a blue colour theme would help users feel calm and confident throughout their experience to ease any nerves and stress, as issues pertaining to an individual’s career can often be stressful. Therefore, we have implemented a mellow blue colour theme throughout the app. As well, users mentioned they would like to be able to contact one another to help network. Therefore, users are able to message each other once visiting other individual’s profiles by clicking on the message button on the right hand side of the screen. 

 Overall, these improved features will help benefit our users by providing effectiveness and efficiency on a user-friendly platform. The design process and journey for our low fidelity wireframing, to our high fidelity prototype involved many renditions of wireframing, revisment, and collaboration from our entire team. In order to provide nothing but the best resources for our users, we hope to incorporate future design principles and features to ensure that our users experience the most efficient, effective, and simple journey.

My Angle

Over the past few years, user experience design has risen in popularity, both as a career prospect, as well as a necessity for the success of most businesses [3]. More specifically, businesses are beginning to realize the importance of user experience, referred to as UX, as it aims to fulfill the user’s needs and provide a positive experience that helps keep users loyal to the product and company brand. With this being said, there are many disciplines within UX that can be pursued, including user research, user interface design, UX writing, and interface engineering, just to name a few [1].

 

However, many people remain unaware of the various careers in UX as it is a relatively new field. Those hoping to break into a role in UX may have difficulty searching for jobs or even understanding what the different positions entail. With this being said, my goal with this application was to bring light to the diversity of UX as a field, along with educating students looking to pursue UX about the potential career opportunities within tech and design [2]. I also wanted to simplify the process and experience for students searching for careers in UX.  I recognize that the content of this field is not strictly limited to first-year UX students. For this reason, I targeted students of all years, as well as any individuals looking to be educated on and pursue UX in its entirety. In all, my and my teams vision was to bring exposure to the UX industry and reveal the versatility of careers within it, along with promoting the benefits of each respective discipline to young individuals. 

 

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