- Client: Prime Digital Academy
- Timeline: August 21, 2017 - August 25, 2017
- Prime Digital Academy is developing a web application that will help alumni search for a job after they graduate.
- I conducted user research and created journey maps to pinpoint key features that should be included in the application.
- I designed and prototyped solutions that will meet user's daily needs and fulfill admin and client requirements.
After graduating from Prime Digital Academy, alumni must transition from a structured bootcamp to an uncertain job search. In this space, it's easy for alumni to give up recommended job search habits. Although Prime offers help and resources to students after graduation, it's easy for alumni to lose touch with the Prime community. This makes it difficult for admin and instructors to give individualized help.
I designed an application that makes it easy for alumni to structure and personalize their job search. The simple interface allows for users to keep track of their applications, remember to follow good habits, and keep in touch with Prime's resources without getting overwhelmed. An admin portal allows instructors to keep tabs on students after graudation and provide personalized help if necessary.
- Conduct stakeholder interviews with Mark Hurlburt (President of Prime) and Taylor Sandquist (Director of Partnerships at Prime).
- Conduct user research on the target user group (alumni and admin).
- Consult with Prime's full stack development instructors to scope the development hours of proposed application features.
- Create an MVP prototype that is well scoped, attainable, and falls under a development time estimate of 400 hours.
- Stay within existing tech and branding constraints.
To get an idea of what other job search and application sites did, we spent one hour researching and compiling our findings on competitors. I focused on auditing two sites from two different categories:
- Competitor coding bootcamp websites (Software Guild and Flatiron).
- Job search engines (Glass Door and Indeed).
Flatiron was the clear winner in terms of overall appeal. What set them apart was their rich statistical information on post-grad success rate. You could also tell that they really supported their alumni during the job search.
The main takeaway for both job search engines was that they have smart and simple ways to keep track of personal documents, store applications, and display reviews. 
The goal this week was to quickly prototype a design for a product that does not exist. We interviewed Mark Hurlburt and found out that the application would ideally do the following:
- Get students to follow recommended best practices.
- Efficiently help students when they are struggling.
- Gather data (on companies, job search, application process, and first placement).
I sketched several feature cards with possible scenarios. Please click on the images for additional details.
Scoping Workshop - Development Limitations
We posted our feature cards on the wall and organized them by function. Dev Jana (Prime's full stack instructor) and Mike Schmidt (one of the founders of the Nerdery and Prime ) came in to critique our design from a developer's point of view. It was very informative to get their perspective on how long some of the proposed features would take.
We conducted a Kano analysis to determine the value of each feature we had proposed. To do this, we voted as a class on the two best design for each feature category. Our instructor compiled these into a Kano analysis survey and sent them to five potential users. I worked with Laura Cesafsky and Matt Bursch to analyze the results. The following images summarize the findings of the Kano analysis:
The images above show which Kano category each feature fell under. The following were the takeaways:
- "Goals" - Survey participants wanted to have a way to track, set, and remind students of goals and best practices (ideally on a weekly bases).
- "Tips" - Participants wanted a page where other Prime community members could share their experiences and tips regarding certain companies.
- "Resources" - Users thought it would be helpful to compile our career advisor's tips and resources in one place.
To better visualize the user's potential experience, I created a current and future journey map for both types of users (students and admins). I started by noting what kinds of actions each user would complete for each scenario. 
The following are the current and future journey maps for a student/alumni persona:
The following are the current and future journey maps for an admin persona:
The final deliverable was a set of wireframes. I chose some of the most important features to include in my proposal. I also provided annotations for my set of wireframes in a separate deck. 
In addition to the annotated wireframe, I created an interactive prototype in Axure. It highlights some of the basic clickable features from the final student-view wireframes. 
After graduating from Prime Digital Academy and starting my job search, I realized that it would be a perfect time to revisit this project. Based on my own experiences and job search struggles, I came up with new ways to improve my previous design. I created a rough inVision prototype.  Below are a few screens from my prototype.
There are many opportunities for future improvement. The main constraint was time since we were restricted to 400 development hours. Several sections of the annotated wireframes call out additional features beyond the MVP. If possible, the following features should be considered for the future:
- Browser extension: a quick way to save links to job postings and helpful external online resources.
- Personal notes: this would be most helpful to include on the "My Applications" page, allowing the user to save quick informal notes regarding their job search.
- Additional functions on the "My companies" page: this would include adding search and filter options for company names, and additional admin abilities to keep the comments and posts organized.
We worked through many constraints this week, and that experience itself was great practice. Starting from scratch, adhering to existing branding/web structure, and staying within time/budget limitations were difficult at times. However, this was the most exciting and informative project thus far. It's a great reminder that any real project will have many constraints, and it's our job to navigate and produce the best possible product from within those limitations.