How might we provide students with opportunities to gain valuable workplace knowledge and experience?
From your high school english teacher telling you that you're more than a 9 to 5 office job, to the engineer you met at a hackathon offering you your first internship, or that time you volunteered for a non-profit education organization that led you to your first freelance gig.
Whether it was a teacher sharing a personal story, meeting an industry professional working at your dream company or learning about an organization that does work you’re interested in — behind all of these memorable life events are the mentors, role models and meaningful causes that have influenced how we’ve made some important life decisions.
Opportunities to learn new skills, meet interesting people and conquer exciting challenges are all around us — Footsteps makes it easier to discover and keep track of along the way
A mobile tool that allows students to discover events around them where they can gain valuable workplace knowledge and experience.
As the world evolves and changes, so do the jobs around us. Because the skills required for these jobs are constantly shifting, it’s challenging to prepare for them. Students are especially prone to feeling underprepared when looking for jobs and could benefit from opportunities beyond the classroom.
While interviewing students, job-seekers, teachers and industry professionals, I've learned that face-to-face conversations were of the most value to a positive experience when exploring various career paths.
Direct exposure and engagement in skill-related opportunities is an important part of the job seeking process. These key insights helped me determine what the essential features of the application should be.
From these insights, I wanted to conceptualize an event discovery tool for students looking for opportunities to build experience and foster meaningful connections. Students can search for events based off their interests, location and friends attending.
Product DEVELOPMENT OvervieW
Process documentation of interface flows / functionality specifications
Research and testing
Primary, secondary research overview and prototype tests
"Kids in high school are getting pushed earlier and earlier to make major decisions about their careers that they're probably not prepared to make."
Studies from the Ontario School Guidance Association has shown that students are incredibly anxious about the gravity of making career decisions and how this will affect their lives.
From early exploration on a project presented to the Innovation Hub and Policy Horizons of Canada on youth and education to qualifying as a top ten finalist for the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development Student Pathways Challenge, I was motivated to continue solving towards helping students gain a better understanding of available career opportunities and pathways to get there for my senior year thesis.
The following document is a summary of a user testing session conducted to better understand core users: students transitioning from high school to university, college, trades, workforce, etc.
However, after testing I came to the realization that gaining workplace knowledge and experience is a continuous learning process and that the proposed solution could benefit beyond students.
Reframing the Problem
While interviewing students, job-seekers, teachers and industry professionals, I learned that face-to-face conversations were of the most value to a positive experience when exploring various career paths.
I also learned that direct exposure and engagement in skill-related opportunities is an important part of the job seeking process. These key insights helped me determine what the essential features of the application should be.
Understanding Stakeholders' Values and Needs
How might one get to the point of direct exposure to skill-related opportunities?
Where can these opportunities be found?
What are their expectations when attending these engagements?
What do they value most?
What motivates and enables them to actively look for these opportunities?
Utilizing Google Venture's Design Sprint process and product design frameworks, I was able to ideate through various ideas and came up with potential product goals to design within.
1. Encouraging students to become more engaged within the community
2. Communicating the value in attendance and calling out specific skills you may gain from an event
3. De-mystifying the fear of "networking" and approaching it confidently as an "experience building opportunity"
4. Providing guidance in how to approach new people at an event
5. Foster a community willing to continue the conversation after the event and develop meaningful relationships
Competitive Benchmarking Analysis
Evaluating existing solution to better understand the problem focus area and how to incorporate or improve existing features from similar products
Popular platforms such as Meetup, Eventbrite and Slack communities that have regular event postings are mainly targeted towards young adults to seasoned professionals, though high school students are not restricted from attending the events, they are generally not on these "adult-oriented" platforms and as welcomed.
There seems to be a disconnect in discovery of event happenings:
User must already be active on the existing platforms
Facebook's suggestion algorithm curates events related to your recent related search activity but this in turn requires having a registered account.
general pain points
Limitation of known event posting platforms welcoming to high school students
Language of websites particular to mature crowds and existing industry professionals
Students may navigate through multiple platforms at a time in order to find events
Outreach + Surveying
design process and time management
Project Timeline ―
Mobile Information Architecture ―
First-Time User Flow / on-boarding ―
UNDERSTANDING USER PREFERENCES
DESIGN Iteration 1 —
ON-BOARDING Feature Exploration ―
01. On-Boarding Personalization
Students are able to select which events appeal to them. If clarification is needed to understand event type, students are able to select an option to better define the benefits of each event. Personalization allows for a custom feed suited to the students existing event search needs.
02. Location-Based Event Exploration
Events are curated mainly based on nearby events but also provides suggestions for similar events in nearby cities or previously visited cities. Students are able to directly search within different areas and are not limited to their current location.
03. Visibility of Friend Activity
Social integration feature allows students to see popular events based on friend networks. If enabled, friends also within the platform will be able to see activity of upcoming event attendance and vice versa.
Design Iteration 2 —
Options to search event by location or directly login with e-mail are provided.
Searching event by location brings a user directly into the app to browse through what they're interested in and view events, but will be prompted to create an account when they wish to access specific event details.
Users are able to select which events appeal to them. If event terms need to be clarified, users are able to select an option to better define the benefits of each event.
Personalized selection allows for a custom feed suited to the users existing event search.
Based on the on-boarding selection of a users selected event interests, a customized feed is curated with suggested events nearby organized by date.
Users are able to add additional or remove existing types of events within the search bar. In addition, they may go through advanced search options that are organized by cost, recently viewed, popularity, type of event, etc.
Visual Considerations ―
Mood Board ― related terms, theme and visual art inspiration
Sketch, Adobe XD, Principle, Google Forms