An inclusive, creative community that focuses on Networking and Job Opportunities
Design Team: Crystal, Kate, XiaoXi + Johnyvino | Advisors: Jodi Leo | Work: User research & design. Sponsors: Tina Roth Eisenberg and Kyle Baptista. Thank you, Tina and Kyle, for providing us with an opportunity to learn from this project.
Designers burn out on social media networks in the professional networking space, they are looking for more than just virtual connections. Also, they want to learn from mentors and want meaningful connections that lead to jobs and professional opportunities, which is difficult in online networking.
In our class, we proposed a design for CreativeMornings that would increase active, in-person participation amongst CreativeMornings users by including incentives to attend specialized events and connect with others, visitors are empowered to drive their careers forward in a creative, more human space while creating a sustainable model for Creative Mornings to expand.
We conducted two round rounds of remote interviews, did analysis, brainstorming, and prototyping.
Excel magic features and importance of verbatim notes
We used a notetaking timecode engine created by Cyd Harrell to take verbatim notes. This is handy because it timestamps interviews so we can go back and listen to important quotes in the videos we recorded. We learned that it was important to take detailed verbatim notes so we could go back and code the notes to highlight (1) initial coding for action words and to sensitize to the data, (2) line-by-line coding that helps expose larger structural issues and pain points users are facing today, so (3) we could draw out the most essential insights to address and write How Might We…? statements.
Insights from research:
- Participants were looking to expand their creative networks and look for job opportunities
- Participants spent a large amount of time curating information for and writing up their profiles — it was demanding and he felt obliged to do complete the profile, that there was no happy medium with completion, especially when indicating “I’m for hire!” on.
- The current goal for freelance professionals is to expand their networks for more business opportunities. CreativeMornings is valuable for its reach and access to other creatives in his area.
After analyzing all of the data the class collected (7 interviews total) from users and potential users of CreativeMornings we clustered findings and arrived at a feature list based on asking ourselves “How might we [solve the problem or refine the hypothesis].”
After arriving at a strong set of “How might we…” statements, we looked back at the goals set forth in the study set up and design features that would bring the most value to CreativeMornings. Then worked on making a rough whiteboard concept and present inside our team.
Rough Google Docs Prototype
As a first prototype, we organized our work in Google docs, to focus on the user experience first and worry about visual design later. This really helped us to focus on the content and core value we could provide to a user. CreativeMornings already had a very strong presentation layer, so we also wanted to leverage as much of that as possible.
“Pro-tip: Initially focus on core value to the user, then focus on the visual look”
After iterating our Google doc, we moved to create the face of the design so that we could upload to Invision to do our second round of user research.
Our design choices all point back to our core concepts: increase in-person relationship-building and expand job opportunities. Here is how we focused our prototype:
- Expand and diversify CM events, encourage mentoring
~ “I’d like to meet people rather than have people tell me what’s right and wrong.”
- Built a Career Toolkit to promote networking and relationship building
~ “I’m kind of in a bubble and don’t interact with creatives around here”
- Revised the user profile to add more personality than just technical skills.
~ “We work really hard to portray who we are”
Let drive in bitter deeper about each module in detail.
- For-You are recommended events to watch from past CreativeMornings
- Company events are field trips companies
- Speaker events are one-person lecture-style events
- Portfolio Review events are small, curated events where users can have their portfolios reviewed by accomplished professionals or recruiters;
- Fusion events are like match-making events, for example, graphic designers and developers mix and mingle for partnership opportunities.
- We proposed a recommendation engine that would connect members of the CreativeMornings community with possible mentors even though we knew it was a big ask of the technical and design teams. This engine would allow users to select if they were looking for mentors or open to mentoring. We heard a lot in the research that more seasoned creative professionals wanted to give back.
- Users can keep a running list of their favorite mentors, as well as mentors they’ve spoken to in the past.
- Users can also chat with mentors one-on-one or in a group
- The Career Toolkit offered tools for staying organized while searching for jobs. Users can input information about job applications they’ve submitted and can set reminders
Ability to set reminders to say hello or schedule a coffee date, so those relationships don’t fizzle out.
- Updated the profile to put the user’s career front and center
- The Skills section was split into categories: Design, Tech, and Cool Skills, for the fun, not necessarily career-related skills. This way users can show a little bit about who they are beyond their professional work.
The second round of user research
After conducting research on the current product, we created a prototype based on our insights and put that in front of participants in a second study.
Iteration is an important part of interaction design and creating multiple feedback loops with users increases the likelihood that we will deliver a product that meets their needs and delights them.
We conducted two 45-minute long task-based interviews via remote methods one member of the CreativeMornings community and another who had not heard of CreativeMornings (1 user and 1 potential user).
- Both found the Applications section of the Career Toolkit to be very useful, especially during the height of their job search. They were a little unclear about the networking section and seemed hesitant about the lines between professional and social connections. In other words, tracking your communication with someone you thought of as a friend seemed a little awkward.
- Neither participants had a positive reaction to the chat section, explaining that they didn’t see a need for it given all of the other ways they can communicate with friends and professional contacts (text, email, Facebook, etc). This underscored the need to be able to offer something that these other sites could not.
Our design artifacts
After all of that research, our team put together a design board that demonstrated this entire process of,
Stakeholder interviews > research on the existing CM profile > synthesis of our findings > designing a prototype > research on our prototype > iteration based on round 2 of research.
This board included essential verbatim quotes from the 12 participants interviewed as part of the research we shared across teams.
Before moving to the next round of design, we made storyboarded user scenarios, so that everyone would be on the same page while designing. It helped us to focus on successes and failures across the user journey.
V2: UI Design
Our target audience was creative professionals, so we designed a landing page for users that promoted essential data about mentors and connections. [you should say something here about the point system on this screen and why it is there]
We chose to consolidate our final presentation onto a design board because it forced us to think as holistically as possible about the research and design without getting lost in design tools. We learned that it was important to punctuate our design decisions with research and how to make that feel more real for our critics (Tina, Kyle, and Erica Heinz)