Gaining Work Experience with the Olas Projects Board
Olas.io is an education startup that provides users with career guidance, online learning and projects with companies to build the skills needed to break into digital careers.
The challenge was to create a project listings board for the Olas site which would help Olas members find work based on their new skills. The scope of the project grew when we discovered that there was no centralized hub for Olas members to sign into. A dashboard was created to connect all the parts of our project to one place.
The outcome of the project was a prototype for the career module, to be implemented in late 2020/early 2021.
I was one of two UX designers in a four person team. I worked primarily on the project board and the application form. My main responsibilities were:
- Research (Stakeholder Requirements, User Research, Competitor Research, Usability Heuristics)
- UX Design + Analysis (User flows and persona)
- Low to High Fidelity Mock ups
- Prototyping (basic flows and interactions)
- Usability Testing + Revisions
- Visual Design
Many people are coming out of school or are trying to transition to new, digital based careers. Often times, those who are career switching don’t have the experience to apply to new positions. How can we help Olas members find projects that prepare them for their future careers?
Solution + Features
Create a project board section where Olas members can find projects that suit their new skills.
The dashboard would serve as a hub where students could view messages, check the status of their applications, view their badges and endorsements from past project managers.
Project Board and Listing
Filterable listings and detailed project listings would allow students to find projects that would best align with their new skills.
Project Application Form
A streamlined application form that implemented transparency through the application process from beginning all the way to the end of a student's project.
Process + Design
Upon speaking to Rory, founder of Olas, we determined the website consisted of 3 separate parts:
- Inform - Assessments to determine which potential digital careers would be best for the student.
- Educate - Providing the courses and education needed for the new role.
- Connect - Members would connect with companies for projects to put their new skills to use.
Out of three large modules, we were able to focus on one, Connect, since the other two modules were still in conceptual phase. He provided past research to help us along. To supplement this information, we conducted more research and user interviews to learn more about career switchers. Our goal was to learn:
- what their previous experiences with job searching were
- what were their go to methods and their likes/dislikes of each
- what were the negatives or positives of platforms they've used
From our 8 user interviews, we learned that the most important thing users wanted were:
- familiarity to other platforms
- credibility that the site was legit
- transparency in the status of their applications instead of being "ghosted" by companies
- Streamlining the often draining and tiring process of job searching
"I'm not sure which of my job hunting methods are working or if my material is good since I don't receive any feedback from companies. This is a major issue." - Nabil, interviewee
Creating Corrie Smith's persona and user scenario helped with keeping our focus users who have struggled with finding work and building their skills.
For brainstorming and to understand current best practices, my team and I conducted competitive research of the sites our interviewees mentioned like Glassdoor, Linkedin and Catchafire, using Norman Nielsen Usability Heuristics. It helped us determine:
- Best Practices
- Where Olas fits in the market
- Missed opportunities and potential improvements
We broke down the user flow of the job searching process, breaking down the Connect module into 4 smaller parts:
- Project Search
- Project Application
- Employer Communications
- Project Completion + Post Project Activities
I was in charge of exploring and designing the project board and the job application. We worked on the dashboard together.
We had realized that these separate flows didn't have a start point, which led us to create the Olas members dashboard, where all the parts will start and end.
I went back to the job boards and looked at their application process step by step to find commonalities and how to improve them for Olas. I also revisited job boards to look at the process of searching for a particular role and what each listing had.
Outcomes and Reflections
The Implementation of our design should be live by end of 2020/early 2021.
What I learned from this project was to understand what is technically feasible for the developer as well as to hone in on a project that may be too large of a scope to complete in such a short timeline. Its much easier to break a large project down into parts and put proper focus into those parts. I suggested that an employer and login be created so that they could find potential candidates.