JobTracker

Keeping bootcamp graduates organized in their job search

Teammates

Andrew Nguyen, Tomi Obikunle

Time frame

Four week-long sprints

Tools

Axure

Role

UX designer

Key deliverables

Annotated wireframes, clickable prototype, site map, user flows, user research reports

Challenge

I designed a job tracker for Designation graduates.

Designation is the leading UX/UI bootcamp in Chicago that boasts a 95% hiring rate of their graduates, and my team was tasked with creating a platform that would keep the graduates accountable in their job hunt.

Research

Understanding the domain

To better understand our challenge, I read several UX/UI blogs and industry reports to find out what job-seeking designers need. Through this preliminary research, I discovered three core needs:

1. Networking

Many job posts online don’t reflect companies’ actual needs. Designers need to look beyond the job post online and depend more heavily on networking to discover opportunities.

2. Online presence

Job-seeking designers need to maintain an online presence. An online portfolio is the best way to display a designer’s skills and personality.

3. Learning

Designers need to stay updated in this rapidly-changing industry and constantly better themselves to become a more viable job candidate.

The best way to maintain momentum in the job hunt is to stay engaged after completing the program.

Understanding the competitors

I wanted to see if there are any tools out there that address all these needs and discovered three main categories of competitors.

Job tracking tools

These tools keep users engaged in the job hunt with the ability to create tasks.

Organizational tools

Although these tools are the most flexible, they also require the most effort from users to stay organized.

Job boards

Job boards with tracking features keeps it easy to stay organized, but they don't let users track jobs from other sites.

Taking a closer look, however, we learned that no competitor meets every need of a job-seeking designer.

Understanding the users

We wanted to learn the following about Designation grads:
— their goals and frustrations
— how they stay organized
— their relationship with counselors and their cohort

My team and I used an affinity diagram to collect our insights and identify a problem.

We collected the following insights:

Graduates struggle with the sudden lack of structure after completing the bootcamp.

“It was overwhelming to do everything I wanted to do. There were days when I didn't get a lot done.” — Mythili

It’s a hassle to keep counselors updated.

“It’s not easy for counselors to get a week-by-week feel for what I’ve done just by looking at my Huntr board.” — Mary

Users have a hard time getting motivated to network.

“Networking is a tool. It can be cumbersome and overwhelming, but it’s an important part of the process.” — Nik

Based on those insights, we identified two personas that encompassed our users’ goals and frustrations.

After a week of research and analysis, we were ready to narrow our scope to a specific problem to solve.

Problem

We wanted to design for both our personas, but we felt Melissa was a more important target. Her difficulty to prioritize and stay organized was a bigger problem than Kevin’s need to expand his network.

This led to our problem statement:

Overwhelmed Designation graduates need a digital tool to prioritize and be held accountable for the tasks they need to complete to avoid prolonging their job hunt.

To solve for this problem, we established four design principles to keep us on the same page:

Warm guidance

Provide instructions in an encouraging tone.

Social

Use cohort camaraderie to foster accountability.

Simple

Make it familiar to avoid overwhelming our users.

Focus

Break down goals into smaller tasks so users feel less overwhelmed.

Ideation

Putting ideas to paper

We outlined Melissa’s journey through her job hunt to identify areas where she gets frustrated the most.

Constructing a journey map helped us narrow our focus to a specific problem.

We identified two emotional dips: when she starts working on many applications at the same time and when she loses momentum on her other priorities.

We created user stories to guide us toward a helpful solution and tested four concepts using paper prototypes with five users.

Testing our concepts

Each of our four concepts addressed the problem in a different way. Read below for details about each one.

This concept addressed prioritization. We brainstormed different ways to achieve automated tasks, and also created a prototype with non-automated tasks as a control.

We learned we were focusing on the wrong tasks—people cared more about following up on jobs than keeping track of their resumes and cover letters. They also liked to assign their own tasks and cross them off themselves, which brings satisfaction to their job hunt.

This concept addressed accountability. We learned from our interviews that many graduates keep in touch with their cohort-mates. We wanted to test gamification as a way to enhance this post-program engagement.

We learned that gamification wasn’t the best way to harness the power of the cohort accountability—users didn’t want to add competition to an already competitive process, but they did like being engaged with others.

This concept addressed accountability. We wanted to simplify this process by making it easy for both graduates and career counselors to stay on the same page.

Users felt this was an easier way to stay accountable to their career counselor.

This concept addressed both prioritization and accountability. We wanted to test different organization styles to learn what would be the most effective for our users.

Users appreciated the simple kanban layout, and felt it provided an accurate representation of their progress.

Our concept testing revealed an opportunity to help our users network better.

Iteration

After analyzing the results of our initial concept testing, we took a step back and established a new problem statement:

Overwhelmed Designation graduates need a digital tool to help them organize both their job search and networking information to stay focused on the right thing.

Mid-fidelity wireframes

Keeping our design principles in mind, we turned to Axure to develop prototypes that would help both personas overcome their job and networking struggles.

Kanban job board

We continued to develop the organizational interface of JobTracker. We added relevant dates to help users follow up on their jobs of interest.

Users liked the drag & drop feature and felt the dates recorded would help them follow up with jobs.

Events feed

I created a feed that would help users see events that other Designation grads are going to.

Users loved this feature. They did wish that some information was easier to find, but each user we tested with told us excitedly that they would definitely use something like this.

By listening to user feedback from concept testing, we successfully shifted our focus and created a product that could help users be effective in their job hunt.

Final design

Click on the image below to interact with the final prototype.

Next steps

If we had more time, we would’ve worked on other features to help our users network more effectively.

Explore sales and CRM tools to build the Contacts feature

The job hunt process is similar to the sales process, and by keeping all the contacts on this platform, users will find it easier to maintain their network.

Integrate with other platforms

A browser extension and LinkedIn connection will make this platform even easier to use, allowing users to focus on their job hunt.

Observe users in the wild

By observing users’ behavior as they conduct their job search, we’d gain better insight into their needs and goals.

Personal takeaways

This was my first collaborative UX project, and I grew comfortable with the design process. Working on JobTracker showed me what I’m good at and where I wanted to improve. I learned to ask the right questions, and I wanted to further develop my moderating skills to avoid bias as much as I can.

This project also helped me validate my opinions and decisions with sound evidence. Challenging my teammates’ ideas and defending my own ultimately taught me to embrace new and unique concepts.

My teammates and I often had different opinions, but our differences ultimately helped us create a better product.

If you have an exciting opportunity for creative problem-solving, let’s connect! In the meantime, check out my résumé or connect with me on LinkedIn.

johnchangdesign@gmail.com