" Do you need a mentor who will guide you to
improve your UX skills? "
After the covid-19, more and more people start studying online, including UX design. At this time, I joined the imaginary company which provides an online platform for UX students to find mentors.
when I checked the survey about online learning, 42% of people feel it is difficult to continue studying online. So I need to identify what causes the online student to give up to continue learning.
Through the interview, I found out that mentors significantly impact the students' motivation. However, mismatching between mentors and students sometimes happens. How can I reduce the chance of mismatching and improve the experience of searching for a good mentor?
Find out what items should be included in the filter to provide easy searches for users.
Design the dashboard that is informative but looks simple at the same time.
Think about what students will do and what they should do after the mentoring call.
I started with generative research. Then, I conducted a screener survey and interviews with five students to explore their motivation resources and the pain points for their study.
Before getting into the task, I started to research the e-learning market to make sure that the new product will be worth creating for the company.
$370 billion by2026
The e-learning market is $226 billion in 2020 in the world and is predicted to reach $320 billion by 2026. So it seems this is the field that is growing rapidly and is paid attention to by the investors.
42% of students feel it difficult to complete a course online
On the other hand, when I checked the survey about online learning, 42% of people feel it is difficult to continue studying online. I guessed that this phenomenon also applied to the UI/UX students.
So I assumed that there is an opportunity for the company to make a product that helps the online students to keep up their motivation for studying.
I made the user survey with Google form and posted it on Facebook, Linked In, and Slack communities.
・Find the preferred methods that students use for their study
・Types of the students (Full-time or part-time)
17 students prefer to use PC/Mac/Chromebook while studying, and the number is two times bigger than other tools. So I decided to create a website that is mainly used with PC/Mac/Chromebook.
13 people study full-time, and 7 people are part-time students. As a next step, I want to clarify any different pain points for their learning between part-time and full-time students in the interviews.
Remote User Interview
Contact to survey participants
Online UI/UX design students from Springboard and Design lab
When and how participants feel motivated
What is the frustration of the online study
What tools (software) do they use while studying
" I need someone to give me a deadline and keep me accountable."
After the interviews, I created the affinity map to organize comments and thoughts from the participants. Then, I created an empathy map and Personas to focus on the target users in the rest of my design processes.
Four people mentioned the communities that the school has. Both schools provide the slack community to help students each other with it.
I found that there are two types of motivation.
1 ) Motivation comes from inside - Some people set the daily/weekly goals by themselves and feel satisfied when they achieve them.
2 ) Motivation comes from outside - Some people feel motivated when someone gives them feedback and praises their effort.
Mentors have a significant impact on their learning. The students describe that a mentor guides you to the right path.
However, some students are not satisfied that the school matched the mentor, so the mentor doesn’t match their mentor criteria perfectly. Also, they couldn’t see the mentor’s background or works beforehand.
Mentor criteria for the students: Location, Cost, Work experience, Mentor experience, Portfolio
Especially, interviewees care about the mentor's work experience. They want a mentor who has worked in the industry in which they are interested.
The differences between full-time and part-time students
Full-time students need more frequent feedback than part-time students. So they want twice a week mentor call or 1-hour mentor call per week.
On the other hand, part-time students think 30 minutes of mentor call/week is enough. In addition, they work or take additional courses along with the UX design course, so they want to change the mentoring call flexibly according to their schedule.
Communication between mentors and students
Students and mentors communicate with multiple tools like email, zoom, skype, slack.
However, some students wanted a built-in system to chat or do a video call with the school website.
After I organized the interview information with the affinity map, I start creating empathy maps. I divided two types of users based on when they feel satisfied.
1) Motivation came from inside
2) Motivation came from outside
I translate two empathy maps into two types of personas.
1) Motivation came from inside
The first persona is working while studying, so he is pretty busy. Therefore, he wants to make a mentoring call schedule flexible.
Also, he needs a mentor who has experience in the field he is interested in.
2) Motivation came from outside
The second persona is a full-time student, and she needs an additional mentor to help her learn. She wants a mentor who can connect with her for the long term, so she carefully checks the mentor’s background, portfolio, and reviews before deciding on the mentor.
She also wants to have a group critic so that she can practice presenting her designs.
After I conducted the interview, I found the research that employees who received mentoring were promoted FIVE times more often than people who didn’t have mentors.
In the interview, students talked about how important the mentor is for improving their design.
So for this project, I came up with one hypothesis: finding a good mentor can improve student motivation and help them step up their careers.
In the ideate process, I started with a user story to decide MVP. Then, I clarified all possible processes in each MVP and sketch three red routes.
I wrote down the user’s possible actions when the students used the product. The story begins with “As a user, I want to 〜.”
I created two big stories;
1) Find a mentor
2) Join the study group.
I came up with the study group because some students in the interview mentioned the group critic positively impacted their learning.
Minimum viable product (MVP)
However, both stories require similar steps, find a mentor (study group), make a booking, and start the mentoring call (group call).
So as MVP, I focused on finding a mentor process at this time.
After creating the user stories, I drew the user flows in each process to visualize the user’s path to achieve goals.
I sketched the red route screens for each process. Then, I created the low-fidelity mockup with Marvel.
You can click anywhere the sketches below to interact with this prototype.
5-1. Usability test
I conducted the usability test remotely with 5 people to get quick feedback on my solution ideas.
Look at the first page and describe what the user can do with this website.
Find a mentor that fits the mentor description that I provide.
Where do you see all of your subscriptions?
Schedule mentor calls and complete payment.
Start a mentor call and end the call.
In the usability test, all participants succeeded in completing all tasks. They said the website is easy to understand and has clear user flows.
However, I noticed some participants clicked the wrong button or took some time to complete it. It gave me a lot of insight to update the product.
Find a mentor
When I asked the participants to search for a mentor, four participants opened the filter and chose the criteria. One participant directly typed into the search bar.
Filters participants want to use:
Industry, work experience (4 people), Years of mentorship experience (2 people), Price (1 person), Software skill (1 person), Location (1 person)
Two participants said they hesitated to pay the all amount at once. It’s better to have options to pay monthly like a subscription or apply the discount if the user pays at once. In addition, all participants felt natural if they paid before confirming the booking.
Start the mentoring call
When I asked participants to begin a mentor call, four people clicked the “appointment” button in the local navigation. I placed the “start” button on the dashboard top page, but they didn’t notice instantly.
4-2. Low & High-fidelity prototype
I built the wireframe based on the sketches and opinions from the usability test.
Then, I created the brand platform, mood board, and design system to translate the wireframe into high fidelity mockup.
Red route 1) Find a mentor
I added “industry” and “years of mentor experience,” which participants mention in the search filter.
Also, I put some quick views of the mentor’s work on the mentor detail page. If users want to check more works, they can also see the mentor’s home page and other websites.
Red route 2) Book a mentor call
On the get started page, I moved the social account button upper side of the page. That enables the users to sign up action intuitively.
Also, I added the payment page in the booking process. The users can choose from two options, pay all at once or pay monthly. When the user selects the payment plan, then the payment information is required. This progressive disclosure helps users to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Red route 3) Have a mentor call
I changed the “start” button to the “start the call” to understand what happens when users click the button. At the same time, I changed the “appointment” button to “calendar” to keep users confused when they start the call.
I added the “back to dashboard” button on the video call page to keep users controlling the video call page.
“Mentor Ship” is a straightforward name that everyone can recognize that this product provides mentoring service. UX field is vast like a sea, so students and mentors ride on the “ship” together and proceed the learning journey together.
Learners who use the service are passionate about getting new skills. Mentors are excited to help and guide their students to the new path. Mentors and learners build credible relationships with the service. Every user can join the welcoming community and exchange their ideas. I think if the user loves the product and the community, they are willing to return it to use.
Next, I gathered some images and UI screens to get inspiration for high fidelity mockup.
Then, I translated the inspiration into the visual style. While building the high fidelity screens, I refer to the style guide to ensure consistency for every UI screen.
High fidelity mockup & Prototyping
Finally, I incorporated the wireframing, brand platform, and style guide into high fidelity mockup. I used Adobe XD for mockup, and also adding animation and building a quick prototype.
Red Route 1) Find a mentor
Red Route 2) Book a mentor call
Red Route 3) Have a mentor call
5-2. Usability test
I conducted the remote usability test with 5 UI/UX design students. After conducting the usability test, I listed all issues and prioritized them from critical, major, minor, and normal.
The critical issue that most participants had came from the prototyping issue. I required the participants to click the button twice instead of the hover effect.
On the top page, all participants successfully understood that this is the service to find a mentor for UI/UX design students. However, some participants wanted to have a pricing list and check before searching for a mentor.
After ending the call, most participants didn’t do a rating nor set the goal. They thought the page was so busy and had too many options. So they were unsure what they should do next.
4-3. Updated High-fidelity prototype
I redesigned the high-fidelity mockup based on the feedback and insights from the usability test.
I add the pricing page, and users can access it from the top navigation bar without logging in.
In the booking process, I changed the order from “Goal → Schedule” to “Schedule → Goal.” One participant in the usability test commented that he would be discouraged if he found that the mentor’s schedule didn’t fit him after writing the goals. It feels double work to write goals again to another mentor.
After the call action
I separated the rating and set the goal tasks to understand the steps one by one clearly.
5-3. Usability test
Again, I conducted the remote usability test with 5 UI/UX design students.
Compared to the first usability test, participants completed the task smoothly with less hesitation. Some participants checked the pricing list, and all people completed the booking process and had a mentor call.
When participants hung up the call, only one participant set the goals for next time, and others went directly to the dashboard page. The participants said they couldn’t decide the purposes right after the call and would do it later.
4-4. Final Prototype
After the second usability test, I updated the critical and major issues with my mockup.
Set the goal button
There is no feature on the dashboard page to set goals. So I added the “set goals” button on the appointment card.
Also, I added the notification to tell the users that they haven't set the goal yet.
Feedback after the call
In the previous version, I asked the user to rate the mentor right after the call ends. However, one participant mentioned that it is difficult to rate the mentor in just a one-time session. S/he is happy to give feedback every time, but that doesn't affect the mentor rating.
This feedback was open-minded to me, so I changed the rating to feedback.
You can scroll and click the prototype below to see the final version.
This is the end of the capstone project of Springboard. However, if I were to continue, there are other features that add value to the product.
Join the group study
In the 1-on-1 interview, some students mentioned group critics and the slack community. They felt the importance of explaining their designs and needed more chances to practice presentation. So Mentor Ship provides that feature and becomes a good community among UI/IX design students.
Mentor dashboard page
I only focused on the students’ side, but mentors are also the main users of the product. Therefore, I will do the interview, design, and validate phase again to add the mentor-side features.
People try not to do something if it is not mandatory. So I need to think about giving reminders for setting the goal for the next call and asking them for feedback on the call.
People are sensitive and pay much attention to money. My first design was missing this point. So I added the price list and two payment options (pay all at once or monthly). These changes helped users to think beforehand and feel this site was transparent.