Mentors that boost your career!
This is a project case study for heryoo. – A Face time career mentoring app.
First, I’ll provide an outline of the purpose of this project. Second, I detail the process of User Experience design. Last but not least, I provide a retrospective on the project.
Update on March 25th, 2019: Worked out the search and filter feature.
Heryoo. is a career mentoring app where professionals can have one-to-one Facetime calls with experienced mentors from any industry. Having a mentor is critical for growing your career. Some people easily find mentors, but others, on the other hand, struggle to build a network, and may not work in the right work environment to grow, and are looking desperately for a mentor. That’s why I built this app, where anyone can get the opportunity to grow in their career.
Feel free to check out my video presentation on YouTube.
Purpose and Context
This project was part of my UX Design Certification from Summer to Winter 2018. My original idea was to design a general ‘Expert’ app, where users could connect with an expert in any given field. I developed the designs as a native iOS-App and a common Web App.
- Defining the Problem
- User Research
- Usability Testing
- Final Design
- Project Recap
Pen & Paper
Final App Screens iOS version.
Defining the Problem
After initial research, I learned that in 2013, Google ran a similar project with Google Helpouts, but they closed in 2015. According to Google, the project wasn’t “grown at the pace we had expected.” The only successful apps in this field are from companies focused on a single niche, like e-counseling, online therapy or coaching. That was my initial idea of creating the app Heryoo.
If Google closed Helpout, what other successful business models are out there? The first company I found was BetterHelp. BetterHelp is the largest e-counseling platform in the market. It sells live video, chat or phone therapy counseling sessions by licensed counselors. Prices range between $35 and $70 per week for unlimited communication with your counselor. Another leader in the market is TalkSpace.TalkSpace is an online and mobile therapy service. It provides unscheduled messaging therapy (No video sessions) via smartphone. Prices range from 49$/week and 79$/week.
I see big opportunities in tailoring this type of service to the German market. Mental health problems of older people are an unrepresented market in Germany. From a UX perspective, I also that users weren’t getting value quickly enough, and saw an opportunity to provide insights before signing up.
The market only responds to specific niches, and general Video Service app is too generic. I needed to find a niche where potential users already exist, so I could conduct a user research study.
After several interviews with users and further research, I decided not to go into the E-Therapy market. The risk is too high that potential users are cautious during user research. Instead of therapy, I believed that a “Career” or “Success Coaching” is more relevant to a younger, more tech-savvy, audience. My goal was to use the advantages of the above E-Counseling apps and insert them into a career mentoring app.
Let’s find out in my User Research if users really see the value of a Career Mentoring Service.
I conducted 4 user interviews to run a generative user research. The interviews were made with the following research goals and user characteristics in mind.
Potential users of a Career Mentoring App need a way to see the advantages of a paid video service by building trust, instead of using free videos because YouTube already hosts so much free content. We’ll know this is true when users recommend our service and use YouTube, or other free content channels, at the same time.
- Users who are generally into self-optimization, and use productivity tools, meditation apps or are part of a career network like LinkedIn.
- Users who are interested in financial education.
- Users between 20-40 years old.
- Users who are generally tech-savvy.
As a result I created two main user personas, Anna and Sylvia. From this point on I gave my users a face, and developed my product for them. I also created two main user stories, which guide my product’s main functions.
I used Sketch and Balsamiq to create Mid- and High fidelity wireframes. I used a side bar navigation at this stage of the design. Side bars create a sense of formality, in my opinion. Blue is a color that is mostly used in professional environments, as it gives the user a professional and trustworthy experience of the app.
I conducted 6 monitored in-person usability tests. I clustered all comments, quotes and usability errors with Affinity Mapping. I prioritised the 3 main usability issues according to the number of their frequency. After I analysed the usability testing, I developed solutions for each issue. It ended with the first main iteration of the project.
Main Usability Issue 1: Users feel insecure to use the “Book Instant Call” function. They don’t know what to expect and don’t want to use it. Users don’t know if the “Instant Mentor” has the knowledge for their problem. All users described this issue. They all wanted to find a new mentor to see if they are available within the next 24h hours.
Change: Remove the Instant Call function from Dashboard. Integrate the function individually for each mentor, and rename the function to “24h Availability”. Show an icon on each mentor card.
1st Iteration of the Dashboard after Usability Testing
Main Usability Issue 2: Users wondered that the prices are at the end of the scheduling process. Users want to see and compare prices right when they searched for their mentors. 50% mentioned this issue. Since it is a crucial part in generating revenue for our company that users know how much they are going to pay for a session, we highly recommend to include this change.
Change: We want to add a price tag in €/h at each profile badge.
1st Iteration of the Find A Mentor Screen after Usability Testing
In the last minutes of the project I iterated my design for the second time. Reading Apple’s Guidelines for Human Interfaces was an epiphany for me. According their User Interface Guidelines, a great user experience occurs if a user can fall in love with your app before entering any personal data. I also capitalized on my user personas. I asked myself ‘Would Anna love using my product?’ The answer was yet ‘No.’ My personas want seamless user experience with instant gratification. They want to instantly find a mentor without providing their personal data. With that in mind, I redesigned the app for the second time by recreating the user flow to provide value as soon as possible (finding the right mentor up front).
Update on March 25th, 2019: I worked out the search and filter feature.
What went well?
I enjoyed the conceptual and strategic phases of the design process for heryoo. It was important for me to not just design an app that looks good, but would also have a real chance to succeed in the market. Thinking about the business model behind the product was very important to me.
I iterated the strategic direction of the app multiple times after Competitive analyses and conducting user research. During user interviews, I learned that many users would like to have a confidant to discuss challenges in their careers. They were looking for mentors. Especially for young professionals who are in the beginning in their careers, it can be valuable to have a more experienced person give guidance on the rocky roads in the workforce.
Visualising the final ideas in Sketch went very well. I got inspiration from other apps and tried to implement a clear and professional-looking design. The color concept is designed to encourage trustworthiness and professionalism.
As an architect, user research was new to me. But doing user research for this project showed true value to the design and success of my product. It was great to see how my users interacted and had fun with it.
What could be improved?
I’m still deciding what clear design deliverables are important or not. That’s why my Design Deliverables still contain many duplicates and could use a clearer description. Since I use mostly Sketch for the design process, I will update the Layers step by step. For future projects, I will use in Sketch a clear defined Layer and Group structure from the beginning on.