top of page

OVERVIEW

“In many countries, demand outweighs supply for skilled UX professionals” (Hughes, 2021, p.1). “UX design is one of the top five in-demand skills according to a LinkedIn report. This is expected to continue in 2021 as UX becomes a Google ranking factor, meaning businesses will need to focus on their UX to remain competitive” (Hughes, 2021, p.1). Demand is outweighing the supply for skilled UX professionals in many countries (Hughes, 2021,p.1). Evidence shows that businesses will have to heavily focus on user experience, ensuring all their users have a stress-free interaction with their services in order to remain competitive. UX designers are having trouble finding work in Canada even with the huge demand for UX designers. This is due to employers having difficulty finding employees that have the hands-on skills to match the level of design they need. In summary, it is quite evident that the user experience industry does not think that a degree is enough and highly demands experienced individuals. With improved organization of job shadowing opportunities, both businesses and students will be fulfilled through an increased interest in UX positions. 

ROLES & RESPONSIBILTIES

This project took place between September 2021 to November 2021 and was a collaborative project with three others designers.  

Roles were divided into two main parts; UX Designer & UX Researcher. 

 

I had a big role for this project, which was creating the low-fidelity prototype along with being lead in creating an interactive prototype and in conducting the proper usability testing. 

PROBLEM

UX designers are having trouble finding work in Canada even with the huge demand for UX designers. This is due to employers having difficulty finding employees that have the hands-on skills to match the level of design they need.

The pandemic has made this situation far worse by taking away even more of that first-hand industry knowledge through having to adapt to remote learning.  The pandemic has taken that one vital skill of hands-on experience that employers are demanding.

USERS & AUDIENCE

To gain a better understanding of our research, we chose to conduct user interviews using LinkedIn on a total of 8 participants. Our main focus was on students who have recently graduated or are currently within a design-related program looking for a job within UX but have been unable to do so. Through these interviews with our users we try to empathize and relate to them in order to get a better understanding of the difficulty of obtaining a UX design job after graduating.

The three critical question we asked to gain insights were: 

Does your school have resources available to help you find a job position? 

What is the hardest part of finding a position that interests you? 

Do you feel like you’re missing out on valuable UX experience?

EMPATHY

To gain a better understanding of our research, we chose to conduct user interviews using LinkedIn on a total of 8 participants. Through these interviews with our users we try to empathize and relate to them in order to get a better understanding of the difficulty of obtaining a UX design job after graduating.

In order to capture the different needs present in this challenge, which we found during our  interviews, we decided to segment the statements and represent them as two distinct personas. 

Through our findings in our interviews we were able to develop personas which helped us to understand the mindset of our users, and better understand the types of thoughts and feelings they had on the subject. In this, we were able to develop a final user needs statement which would guide us towards a solution:

DEFINE & IDEATE

For our ideation process we used a technique used SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse). This technique is a lateral thinking approach which helps you explore new possibilities. 

SCAMPER

 

Substitute:

  • Design a different method of teaching students about a job (“A day in the life of a UX designer videos” or “virtual job shadowing opportunities”).

Combine:

  • Utilize existing job posting platforms to post job shadowing opportunities.

Adapt

  • Improve upon existing channels of job shadowing opportunities by making it more interactive for students to input their interests and receive a recommendation on what to look into.

Modify

  • Make an app instead of job listings on different platforms so that students have a go-to channel for experiencing different careers in UX.

Put to another use

  • Make job listings available on the design so that users can look into applying to work there if they are satisfied with their job shadowing experience.

Eliminate

  • Design should allow students to narrow down their interests so that it better matches their job shadowing preferences and makes it simpler to navigate through listings.

Reverse

  • The design could match students with different types of jobs to shadow in order to allow them to experience different sectors in UX and then develop their interests based on them.

Once we completed our SCAMPER. 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. 

NOW-HOW-WOW Matrix 

                         Now:

  • Webinars with professionals talking about various fields within UX design.

  • Informational videos about different pathways within UX design.

  • Graphic visuals of different paths that can be taken within UX design.

                       How:

  • Group activity sessions where students are put in the breakout room and given different UX design problems to work on.

  • Job-shadowing program where students are put into placements based on their interests.

                       Wow:

  • One-on-one sessions with industry professionals across different fields of UX design

  • Mentor assigned for the group of students with similar interests

  • Networking event with an array of different UX design professionals and leaders

PAPER PROTOTYPE

Below is a paper prototype of the app “shadow training.” This simplistic paper prototype was later user to test the functionality of our application with our user, which is seen below in a "Wizard of Oz Experiment." 

WIZARD OF OZ EXPERIMENT

Below are the aspects that were tested for within our experiments tp test the functionality of our application: 

  • Ease of finding mentor 

  • Ease of scheduling meeting 

  • Does the layout of the homepage make it easy to find a mentor and know your mentor? 

  • Is it easy to schedule a meeting with the time slot layout? 

INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE

After analyzing our the tests and experiments we created a fully interactive prototype that removed the  shortcomings that were found within the paper prototype. Below is a fully interactive version of our medium fidelity protype. 

USABILITY TESTING

Two users were chosen to go through Think-Aloud protocols and Heuristic evaluations as part of our testing. The think-aloud protocol would allow us to understand the process our user goes through which would help us see any complications that may arise within the simplicity of using our application. Heuristic evaluations would allow us to measure the usability of our user interface. With both these methods combined we will be able to see any obstacles within the processes built in our application and see complications within our interface.

Below are scenarios shortlisted for usability testing: 

Scenario 1: 

The user has been told that he is in his second year of a design program and trying to land a position for the upcoming summer. He was told by all recruiters that he lacks the hands-on experience that is being demanded within the design field. He was told how our application provides the opportunity to gain that hands-on knowledge through volunteer activities and has a built-in option to talk to industry experts that can assist you with the process. He was required to solve this issue through our application.

 

Scenario 2: 

The user was told that he is in his last year of a user-experience design program but his program did not provide him the opportunity to understand what a job in UX design entails. He was then told that our application will provide them the opportunity to select a mentor that can help them understand the day-to-day of any job within UX design. The user was required to solve this issue through our application. 

USABILITY TEST FINDINGS

Qualitative information: 

  • Users thought that the background was too bland and needed a variety of colours incorporated. 

  • Users were able to go through the different processes we have laid out within the application (booking meetings, viewing volunteer opportunities). 

  • Users were frustrated with the lack of functional ‘back’ buttons. 

  • Confusion on what to do when clicked on the opportunity icon to see opportunities near him were brought up by users. 

  • Users were not sure how to go back to the home page when accidentally clicking the wrong icon. 

  • Users were constantly asking where the navigation tools were located.

  • Users pointed out that there is no log-in or sign-up page. 

Quantitative information 

  • It took users 3-6 seconds to locate the correct icon to find volunteer activities near him

Heuristic testing 

A Heuristic evaluation was conducted in the user’s environment (user’s home) where two users were told to go through the interface of the application and they were told to judge the usability. Below are heuristics identified: 

IMPROVED PROTOTYPE

Changes Made 

  • Addition of a quick menu that is accessible by tapping the three dashed lines on the top right.

  • Added in some administrative features including a login page and a confirmation page.

  • Improved the overall design of the application to make it aesthetically pleasing.

A fully interactive improved medium fidelity prototype is attached below: 

My Angle

On average, 95% of teens have access to or own a smartphone device [1]. Generation Z have become reliant on smartphones to connect with others, organize their days and entertain themselves, and they are the new wave of students and employees looking to break into their chosen industries. Mobile applications have become a core aspect of the average students’ life -  98.4% of Canadians in 2020 between the ages of 18-34 use a smartphone [2], and this was a key factor in deciding on creating a mobile application to enable students and new graduates to easily find job shadowing opportunities. 

 

The reason I created the mobile application Shadow Training is to assist students through linking them with mentors, webinars, and information regarding job shadowing. I also wanted to help them find hands-on experience in fields where experience is crucial to finding employment. User experience design is one such field, where many students say they cannot find employment easily after graduation, due to employers requiring hands-on job experience [3]. This problem was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic preventing students from finding in-person experience, and making it more difficult for them to find what types of jobs they are interested in. This application aims to mitigate this problem for current and future students and graduates, by creating an all-in-one platform where they can find the hands-on knowledge they need to find opportunities they are passionate about.

bottom of page