R.CONNECT

PROJECT OVERVIEW

The R.Connect mobile app connects students, alumni, and professionals to network, mentor, and share skills with each other.

TOOLS USED

Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch, Principle

MY ROLES
  • Concept development
  • User Research
  • User Testing
  • UX, UI

TARGET USERS
  • Students
  • Alumni
  • Professionals

*Project time frame: 3 weeks

THE PROBLEM 

WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR CAREER?

Students and professionals expressed difficulty in finding mentors and networking in their career. 

WHAT ABOUT EXISTING APPS? CAN THE USERS BE SATISFIED WITH THEM? WHY NOT?

Some of the existing mentoring apps do not provide a mature engagement system (feedback and reward). The user communities are not well established and it is rather difficult to keep users continuously using the apps and maintaining their loyalty. 

HOW I APPROACHED THESE CHALLENGES

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! 

A lot of research went into understanding the target group to find their real pain points and challenges, both online and offline.  

*Key features which could satisfy all three user groups. 

USER RESEARCH  Interviews

STEP 1

Before having face-to-face interviews with the target user groups, much time was spent in gathering questions and concerns that they may have. For this, I searched online career Q&A boards and reviewed by keyword search “career common questions" and “career networking common questions."  

STEP 2

There were total of nine participants, three from each target group. Three professionals are my previous colleagues, three are my friends who recently graduated from Emily Carr, and three are current UBC students from my current volunteering group. All of the interviews were conducted with a series of questions to find out their pain points and challenges. In addition to that, one person from each group were asked to test three competitive apps which were ready to be tested. This was to see whether the current apps could meet their need and further discuss how they could be improved to solve their problems.

My goal in this interview process was not only to find their pain points and challenges but also to discuss some possible solutions.

Some interesting questions were asked by the users which were valuable. These eventually became the solution to this project. 

  • Why would professionals participate in this platform?
  • Will it be time consuming to use this app?
  • What is the incentive to participate as a mentor?

FINDINGS  

I listed out all my key findings from user research to organize my thoughts. At the beginning of the user research, I thought mentoring would be the main feature for this app. However, after this process, I realized that mentoring itself would not attract and satisfy all three target groups.

Since each user group has a lot to say about their pain points, I thought creating a diagram would help me to find the overlapping challenges and interests. Three key points were identified in this process (network, mentors, and opportunities) which would eventually turn into the main focus and target features for this app.

CARD SORTING TO FIND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS WITH KEY FEATURES

STEP 1: Listed all the possible features

STEP 2: Arranged features from most to least important.

Potential features identified through the research were prioritized through card sorting. This helped remove unnecessary features to simplify the app for a more focused user experience.

STEP 3: Compared the selected features with the identified user challenges to see if they could be the solutions to the users.

SOLUTIONS

The diagram below summarizes the key features which could possibly be added. These features were user tested in the next step.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Recognition + Reward System.

  • Users can decide to show or hide their points.
  • Users can link their profile to social media to promote themselves.

KEY FEATURES:

A number of hand-drawn sitemap, wireframe, and prototype iterations were created to be tested by the users. After various tests, seven screens were eliminated which were unnecessary and confusing. Additionally, based on user feedback during testing that they prefer to try out the app before providing their full personal information, a skip button was implemented in the sign up process to reduce concerns and frustrations. Users will be able to explore the app (with limited access) which will win their trust and loyalty.

SOME OF THE KEY FEATURES INCLUDED

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LOGIN | SIGNUP PROCESS

PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS

  • How do we differentiate the three target user groups for better match result experience? -> In the sign up process, users can identify their status.
  • How to avoid complicated sign up process -> Require little information to get started [skip step 2 in sign up process and fill out later to reduce frustration.
  • Users are concerned if they get too many time-consuming messages? -> Users can decide to turn on or off receiving requests, messages, and news. This can be easily adjusted in their preference setting. Also, each user group will find different screen view. For example, if user is specifically looking for mentors, only available mentors will be shown.

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SEARCH 

PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS

  • Users expressed that they don’t like to type on their phone -> Users can select instead of type.
  • Sometimes too much information is overwhelming -> Search result and suggestion will match their profile information. In this way, they will be catered to their need.
  • If they found a few results they are interested in but don’t have enough time for review and compare -> Users can save information or people to view later.
  • Sometimes connecting with a stranger can be very awkward -> By toggling their on/off button, users are expected to be contacted by other users.

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FIND MENTOR | MENTEE

PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS

  • How to book an appointment with a mentor? -> Mentees can book an appointment based on mentor’s availability. Mentor calendars are linked to Google calendar and will indicate each mentor’s available dates. All specific information in the calendar will not be public.
  • What if mentors don’t feel comfortable a mentoring someone? -> Mentors have an option to accept or refuse a mentee’s request. They have full control.
  • How to attract professionals to become a mentor? What is their reward for being a mentor? -> In each mentor’s profile is a history of how many mentees were helped. This shows how enthusiastic they are in their profession. If users decide not to make it public, they can hide it from public view.

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PREFERENCE & PRIVACY SETTING 

PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS

  • What if users get busy and can’t get involved? -> Users can change their preference setting. They can hide from a specific group or hide from all. In this way users can decide how much to participate.