SVA x Citi Ventures Studio (Corporate sponsored grad school project)
Winner of Strategic Innovation in Product/Service Design, SVA IxD 2020
Project duration: SEP, 2020 - DEC, 2020 (Please note this prototype is built as a progressive web app)
SVA students collaborate with Citi Ventures studio team to tackle a design challenge using the techniques learned in "Strategic Innovation in Product/Service Design" class. Our goal was to Redesign Worthi™ by Citi. This online tool helps you to explore qualitative & quantitative data insights on job titles and calculate your market worth. Then understand your current skills and connect with online courses to grow your career or see which existing skills can transfer to new roles.
Team: Nikhil Singh, Cyan Guan, Sarah Ann Jump and Yuxuan Hou.
My Role: Led the project as a principal product designer and product manager.
Introduction: Problem statement and objectives
Recently, Citi Ventures Studio launched Worthi, a free tool that leverages data on 1,800+ roles and 17,000+ skills to provide users with personalized insights that can help them confidently pursue their career goals. While Worthi generates some market-level insights on skills, Citi Ventures studio teamed up with SVA students to drive this even further.
Currently, no marketplace allows users to see the demand for specific jobs and skills. The student team was tasked with designing a new marketplace and user journey that incorporates market data & metrics of jobs, skills, comparative metrics and learning skills online.
We framed our problem statement in the format
- Subject: Job seekers and working professionals: Students and Entry level, Mid-level, Senior-level workers.
- Needs: market insights into workforce data: salaries, career trends, skills in demand, industry job benefits, location, etc.
- To: make informed decisions to achieve upward mobility in their career(personal growth, career satisfaction and financial well-being).
- Because: currently, no platform provides data insights and connects them with the online resources.
Understanding the Market
Before we had set to understand the user needs, we wanted to know the opportunity in the current market through secondary research. Some of these facts below validate the need for such a platform in the market
People in the formal workforce in the US, as per US BLS report of February 2020.
People in the world's 12 largest economies may need to be retrained/reskilled as a result of AI enabled automation in next 3-5 years (IBM report).
Average number of job switch in a career. About 27% of them were more prone to hop, holding >=15 jobs, while 10% held 0-4 jobs (US BLS Data, age 18-48).
People who change jobs each year. US BLS stats show that more than 41 million americans are searching for jobs and being recruited every single year.
Conducting User Interviews
We interviewed six people from six different cities to understand their needs and study common behaviour patterns. Our interviewees ranged from age 18 to 52 including Undergraduate and Graduate students, people pivoting careers due to pandemic or seeking career advancement, people of colour, Immigrants, First-Gen Americans, LGBTQ+ people and an Army veteran.
User Interview: Dave Ellis, 52 yrs, Army Veteran
Card sorting activity for Dave Ellis
User pain points and Design principles
After concluding our 3 week long user interviews and research activity, we moved to the affinity mapping exercise to cluster the raw data under several different themes. That led us to highlight some common user pain points and list our design principles to tackle them.
Job Search, Industry/Market Data
• Keywords, search results are inaccurate. Feel frustrated & lost
• Lack of general response & feedback from the job poster
• Job market data is daunting. No personalization factor
• Job search is an exhausting experience. Overwhelmed by so many search platforms
• Job listings are full of jargon
Suggested Design Principles
- Web optimization: contextual search and keyword suggestions
- Incorporate application tracking and feedback system
- Humanize job data with more qualitative factors
- Single, Integrated platform with simple navigation and easy user experience
- Verify and vet employers and job postings
Learning & Acquiring new skills
• Unclear on skills to learn, online courses and new roles to explore
• Tend to be laid-back. It's not rigorous enough. Challenge with motivation
• Fatigue from the video lecture
• Weighing cost and time of learning skills vs earning potential in future
Suggested Design Principles
- Facilitate skill based exploration of online courses and new roles
- Maintain motivation: Provide constant feedback & build a reward system
- Mix different rich media types: Interactive quiz, Visual documents etc.
- Visualize earning potential based on a skill's cost and time to learn
Career support & other job factors
• Lack of professional career support. Need feedback on Resume
• Hard to learn about workplace culture, job stability and flexibility
Suggested Design Principles
- Offer support from career coaches. Analyze & score the resumes using AI
- Include indicators of job stability, work-life balance and workplace culture
After discussing these insights with Citi Ventures, we further refined the scope of our project into three key areas
Humanized job data and Personal worth calculator
Explore online courses and new roles through skills
Basic profile capabilities with a bookmark feature
Personas and Customer Journey
Insights from user interviews had informed us that our product should serve three customer type - an explorer, an advancer and a switcher. We documented these personas and mapped a customer journey using the 5E model, i.e. Enter, Entice, Engage, Exit and Extend.
Persona: Ethan, a college student exploring different career options and skills needed
Persona: Ellie, a mid level professional who wants to advance her skills
Persona: Jennifer, a senior level professional who wants to transfer her skills to new roles
Customer Journey for Jennifer using the 5E model
This product architecture includes various sub levels within the humanized job data, find courses & explore new roles via skills and a basic profile section.
Sketching Lo-Fi wireframes
Get market insights on any job title
• Search for data on any title for your specific location
• Data info on salary trends & top paying location
• Scoremeter for work life balance & job stability
• Qualitative info on job market growth, a day in the life
• List of necessary skills and recommendations for similar role
Calculate your personal market worth
• Input personal info like name/email or sign up with Google
• Input your job title, salary, experience and current skills
• Comparitive metrics: Market value graph, Percentile score
• Scoremeter comparision of your current work life balance, job stability with average trend
• Data on top paying location, similar roles and distinguishing/salary boosting skills
Grow skills with online courses
• Choose an individual skill or job title to begin
• Choose from other recommended skills or all skills within a job title
• View all the online courses to help you grow those skills
• View course details, bookmark for later or start the course(external link)
Find new roles based on skills
• Select find new roles tab. Choose an individual skill or job title to begin
• Select your current skills from the list of recommended skills
• View all the different job roles based on your current skills
• Click on the job role to get market info and skills needed to pivot your career
Deploying Business Model
As a part of our design challenge, we worked on a business model which covered the estimated cost to launch and market the product, revenue model, projected growth, market map to analyze against our competitors and an innovation framework (Based on Doblin: Ten types of Innovation)
Insights from usability testing and next steps
We conducted a qualitative test on 4 different users by providing them a task scenario. Some insights we captured were:
- While the product felt easy to use & navigate through, users felt confused with immediate purpose of the worthi platform as the information on the landing page wasn't clear.
- The entire form field and set up process for "Calculating personal worth" felt like a daunting task. Users also felt uncomfortable sharing sensitive information like salary.
- Product copies felt unclear at times. Clicking on "Start the course" button opened an external link(Users felt this as an unexpected behaviour).
Due to a limited timeframe, we couldn't incorporate the feedback to improve our designs. My ideal approach would be to analyze customer dropoffs by creating funnels in platforms like contentsquare/hotjar and conduct focused group usability testing sessions to understand the problems. Then list down design iterations on the scale of engineering effort(low <--> high) to improve conversions(or reduce dropoffs).
Down the product roadmap, we wish to expand our current offering to include new features like a learning tracker, resume scoring/feedback, professional career coach, Linkedin job integration etc. They would be a part of our premium product offering compared to a freemium model that we've built currently.
Key learnings and takeaways
It is still a fragmented market with an opportunity for a new player to dominate. Although there are key players like Glassdoor, Linkedin, Coursera etc., who are trying to solve a part of the problem, none of them seems to focus on the more significant objective: "Help people achieve upward mobility in their career".
User research shook up my preconceived notions about how people look for jobs, what factors influences their decisions and the frustrations they encounter. What we achieved in this 12-week long product design exercise felt like the tip of the iceberg compared to all the insights that we received through research.
I learned that skills could be further classified into: necessary, distinguishing and salary boosting. Acquiring new skills is key to remaining relevant in a rapidly changing workforce. Our traditional e-learning platforms must include a way to help users maintain motivation while learning and acquiring a new skill.