Gaining Work Experience with Olas

A project board for students to put their digital skills to the test with real companies.

Project Overview + Challenge

Olas 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.

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?

My Role
UX Research + UX Design + UI Design
My Team
2 UX Designers, 1 UX Researcher, 1 UI Designer
June 2020 - August 2020 (12 Weeks)
Pencil + Paper + Trello + Figma

Solutions + Primary Features

By going through past research, doing our own research and seeing what is in the market, we were able to create a prototype for Olas to test with their market.


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.

Filterable Listings

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 via the status bar, from beginning to end.

Minimalist Project Listing

Focused on the most important information needed for the student to know for the role.

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Stakeholder Interviews + Constraints
User Interviews,
Findings + Persona
Competitive Analysis + Heuristics
Design + Iterations
+ Next Steps

Stakeholder Interviews

Understanding the Vision

Upon speaking to the founder of Olas, we determined the website consisted of 3 separate parts:

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.


There wasn't a developer on staff since Olas was a one person startup, so the founder would be developing the site as he was learning to code. We had to ensure that our designs and flow would be simple enough for him to execute. Certain functions such as search wouldn't be possible so we had to keep that in mind.

User Interviews + Findings

The Job Seekers

We conducted more research and user interviews to learn more about career switchers. Our goal was to learn:

  • What was their previous experiences with job searching?
  • What were their go to methods and their likes/dislikes of each one?
  • What were the negatives or positives of platforms they've used?
"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

Competitive Analysis + Heuristics

Looking at the Leaders

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. We used Norman Nielsen Usability Heuristics to determine:





Design + Iterations

Breaking Down The Flow

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. We broke down the user flow of the job searching process, breaking down the Connect module into 4 smaller parts:

I was in charge of designing the project board and the job application. We worked on the dashboard together.

Olas Job Board Task Flow
Olas Job Application Task Flow

Rapid Sketches

I revisited job boards to look at the process of searching for a role and what components each listing had. Since we couldn't implement search that everything had to be done by filters since the founder could add tags to project postings.

Job Application 1
Job Application 1.1

Usability Testing

We conducted 1 round of testing with a total of 7 users remotely for our mid-fidelity prototype. The goal was to see if they could apply to a role as well as navigate the project module. This is what I learned about the job application form I made:

(Click to enlarge and see other screens)

  1. Label placement inside of input field confused users.
  2. Users wanted more defined job responsibilities they could select.
  3. They wanted a more definitive breadcrumb system (which was represented by the orange progress bar).
  4. Users wanted a character cap in text fields.
  5. Users didn't realize there was a review button before submitting their application since it didn't stand out enough.
  6. Wording and what they meant wasn't clear when it came to "cancel" at the end of the application.


With the insights of our users, we were able to make the appropriate changes to help clarify and minimize confusion.

(Click to enlarge and see other screens)

Conclusions + Next Steps


The Implementation of our design should be live by end of 2020/early 2021.

What I Learned

I learned the management of scope creep through focusing on what was needed at that moment and build up piece by piece by keeping things small.

Next Steps

I would build upon the student section but also the employer module so they could find valid candidates.

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