Using Research to Enhance Shared Lane's Digital Careers Toolkit
04 Final Thoughts
Testing insights and iterations
Established visual identity and product style guides
Led market & user research and usability testing efforts
Delivered information architecture, user flows, use cases, wireframes, high-fidelity UI, prototypes, and more
Worked with a team of three UX Designers from research, ideation, team formation, to completion
Shared Lane is a company founded by a lifelong educator to help today's youth in career readiness and post-secondary planning. Shared Lane Toolkit is an online resource that specializes in primarily digital careers. It's a resource to help broaden the reach of career pathways and give the youth a better understanding of not only possible careers, but the tools they already have to thrive in them.
What I did
Shared Lane wants to redesign their Toolkit site to better serve both teachers and students. Existing websites has a lot of valuable information but it is not structured or personalized to user needs.
A high-fidelity prototype that creates a seamless educational experience for both groups of users: students and teachers.
New experience filter that helps users find information depending on who they are.
Reworked visual identity and product style guides.
To create a service that will put a human experience in the center of all solutions, I started with research.
I made a list of features available across websites that help users to organize and personalize information. I pinpointed Ways to Donate, Login&Create profile and Filter Content as a possible area for better personalization and organization of the website. This practice helped me find inspiration and highlight Shared Lane's lack of organization and separation between users. Shared Lane's problem is that the user doesn't have an understanding of what sections are made for teachers and what for students, together with confusion about a path to navigate through information on the site.
I set up a competitive overview to understand Shared Lane position in the market of educational services. I identified four main direct and indirect competitors: Understood.org, The Marcy School, JFF, Get Schooled.
Click here to see full competitive analysis
Current site UX/UI Audit
Lack of style cohesiveness between pages
Lack of emphasis of the Toolkit Learning Platform
Overwhelming Information Architecture with dense menus
Text heavy articles without visual rest
User Research Plan
My team planned 12 remote interviews with existing Toolkit customers, together with new users from teaching or student backgrounds to define the needs and frustrations of Shared Lane Toolkit users. Our interviewees were: educators, students, curriculum writers, career readiness managers, UX designers.
Insights after interview
We found out that the majority of existing and new users said similar things. We condensed all insights into three main I-statements to better demonstrate pain-points:
"I want the toolkit to include more visual elements"
"I want to reduce the amount of text on one page"
"The website should consider different kinds of users"
The research resulted in two distinct personas: one is a Teacher looking to learn about digital careers and present to her students and another is Student looking to learn about possible future career paths.
Scenario: Mary is preparing for presentation about career opportunities for her high school students. Mary's colleague shared with her a Shared Lane Digital Toolkit link. She is logging in for the first time to research information for her presentation.
To identify genuine emotions and frustrations of our users, I created a retrospective journey map of my primary persona Mary using Shared Lane Digital Toolkit.
I started to visualize different ways to structure information for different kinds of users. Before sketching I identified main focus points:
Site Navigation and Personalization:
Interactive filter that sorts information depending on who you are and what are you looking.
Prioritize frequented sections.
Relabel menu items with industry terms.
Add a section that prompts users to contribute or purchase, which addresses the business goal to monetize.
Commonly used labels like "Your Resource Center" and "Workshops" help users understand and locate what's offered by Shared Lane.
Consistent menus connecting both domains.
Adding "Partner" gives a dedicated space for monetization opportunities.
Divide information into two Portals: Educator and Student.
Click on mid-fi frames to zoom in
I created a mid-fidelity prototype around filtering the information depending on who you are and what you are looking for, continuing to a personalized portal where users can find a clear path of their learning journey.
I tested my design on 6 people to see how well they understood my design decisions.
Task: Select options on the journey filter exercise on the landing page. Then log on to your portal to find the full UX Designer Toolkit.
Number of misclicks
Three of the six thought didn't find way to Toolkit right away. Also two users said that they would prefer to have filters higher up and more emphasized, because it brings clarity to the experience. Number of misclicks (diagram on the right) is pretty high. So let's continue to iterate!
Usability Testing Insights
I iterated using user feedback and did two more rounds of testing.
I added experience filter higher up on the page because users found it useful to navigate.
I added more clear navigation to better understanding where user is in the process.
I added a clear navigation for UX Design Career Learning Portal.
More interactive information for students is at the top.
Final Thoughts and Next Steps
Working with Shared Lane was a great opportunity to discover the true needs of educators and young adults. Shared Lane has an important mission to positively impact the lives of students and educators. Working with a cause that can help so many people truly inspires me to continue building on my UX skills.
Given the time, I would develop a portal for students. I was focusing mainly on the primary persona - The educator, but the student experience has the same level of importance. I would collaborate with UX writer to deliver more clear language for the toolkit. Together with the CEO of Shared Lane, we could plan potential monetization of the site by selling archived videos of workshops and promoting other means to partner.
Shared Lane CEO's Review
You've done a fantastic job understanding Shared Lane clients' real needs! The new site serves both audiences, that's exactly how I envisioned it! All the insights you gathered from your deep research will help me in my business development. Final version looks so bright and esthetically pleasing that I can't wait to this site!