Categories UX, User Research Duration 1 week Tool Sketch, Principle, PS
Google Exercise: Design an experience where prospective mentors and mentees can be matched, based on similar interests, location, and availability.
Before digging into this general problem, I narrowed down the problem and design scope. I selected the specific user group and real needs as my design problem.
Problem Because of the limited social network and lack of thesis mentorship experience, design students are hard to find a suitable and excellent mentor to get guidance for their thesis design.
Target User Design students who are doing their thesis
Why I choose this problem?
There are two reasons why I choose this problem. Firstly, I am a member of this user group. I have strong empathy and needs to solve this problem. Second, it’s convenient for me to find the target user to interview.
Beyond is a pre-mentorship matching online interlocution community to help design students who are working on their thesis by asking thesis relevant questions to find a suitable and excellent mentor.
Design goal: Create a product that makes the mentorship matching process easier and break the wall between students and experts, what’s more, through question answering to give design students assistant instruction.
For Mentee (Design Students): Find an excellent and suitable mentor to get feedback and professional answer for a specific domain to achieve thesis design successfully.
For Mentor: Match with the right mentee who has specific needs and goals to help based on their thesis topic. They can share their knowledge by answering questions and find potential talents.
How it works?
Ask/ Answer Thesis Question - Online Interlocution Community
Mentees write down their thesis questions, then they can get to the match page to invite potential mentors(who are matched by system according to thesis topic and question) to answer the question.
Mentors can choose the questions they want to answer or browse any questions they are interested in to answer.
After asking questions and get feedback from professionals, mentees could select someone who inspires them as mentor.
Both sides(Mentor and mentee) have the opportunity to know more about each other and make their own choices.
Mentor - Step One - Set Preference
Fill Out Basic Information
Fill Out Mentorship Type (What help could offer). Set Up Availability Situation
Mentor - Step Two - Answer
Find the invited questions to answer. Mentor could Ignore/ Answer/ Invite other to answer. Write down answer to share knowledge.
Mentor - Step Three - Talk to Match
Receive messages from mentees. Talk with mentees to know more about their thesis. Click mentee headshot to their profile page.
Mentee - Step One - Search
Fill out basis information. Use keywords to describe thesis topic. Ask a question related your thesis.
Mentee - Step Two - Get Answer
Beyond will give mentee suggested mentors based on their thesis question.
Get answer from potential mentors and find which is the most inspired answer.
Mentee could check all answers and like, appreciate, talk with the answer owner. Then they could talk with potential mentors.
Mentee - Step Three - Talk to Match
Low Fidelity Prototype
Login and Fill Out Mentor Profile
Mentor log in first, and choose the role “mentor.”
They could fill out the personal information, mentorship offering type, and schedule situation.
Click “Done,” they can get to the home page to check questions asked by students.
2. Mentor Homepage - Explore
Mentor could choose the invited questions to answer, or they could browse other mentees questions to answer.
When they click the question, they could ignore, answer or invite other professionals to respond.
The mentor can check other mentors’ answer. They could like, appreciate and talk with the answer owners.
Search - Answer Questions
3. Mentor Homepage - Talk
Mentor could click “talk”, then check chat list and click into each chat to talk with potential mentee.
Mentor also could click mentee headshot to check their profile to get more information about their thesis design.
Talk more to decide to match
Login and Fill Out Mentee Profile
Mentee log in first, and choose the role “mentee.”
They could fill out the personal information, thesis topic and the biggest question about thesis they want to ask.
Click “Invite,” they can get to the match page to invite potential mentors(who are matched by system according to thesis topic and question) to answer the question.
Search - Ask Questions and Invite Professionals to Answer
2. Invite Mentors & Home Page - Explore
Mentee could invite mentors to answer their questions.
Go to home page to check answer or browse other mentees answers. Mentee could like, appreciate and talk with the answer owners.
Search - Read Answers to Find Potential Mentors
3. Home Page - Talk
Mentee could choose a mentor to talk more who answered their questions which may inspire them a lot.
Click mentor headshot to get specific mentor information.
Talk more to decide to match
Ask Questions to Myself Before Dig into the Research
Who am I building it for?
When and where will it be used?
Why am I building this?
What am I building?
I researched and analyzed existing service for design students to find their thesis mentor.
How do design students find their thesis mentor?
How do these services work?
What are the benefits and disadvantages of them?
For students, it’s hard for them to get connect with experts and professionals in the outside of school. Because the school website, Linkedin and personal network are overlapped and break the social circle is hard.
Linkedin is an excellent way to find an expert; however, if there is no acquaintances introduction, it will be useless to direct message on Linkedin.
School website, Linkedin and network are suitable for finding familiar professionals. Social media is fit to find outside network circle professions.
To have a better understanding of the target user in this case, I conducted interviews among 7 design students, 3 design experts (potential mentors).
Based on the interviews, a clear portrait of my target user(mainly is mentees) was created as a result, answering the question: who am I building for? By understanding their motivations, approaches, challenges and needs, I defined the design opportunity for this project, and kept them in mind all the way through the design process.
Mentee - Takeaways
For design students, when they create a thesis topic, they do have some questions to ask, and they want to get diverse insights from outside school experts.
It’s hard for them to get a connection with experts because they do not know how to reach out professionals without any information and conversation trigger.
Most mentees do not know how to find a suitable mentor, or they don’t understand their own needs. Sometimes, they prefer to get help from short term mentor(question and answer).
WHO - Target User - Design students (For example: SVA graduate students who are doing thesis work)
WHEN - After the problem Definition of thesis work
USER NEEDS - Looking for out of school mentors to help with their thesis work
USER GOAL - Get useful and different suggestions(helps) from Mentors to finish their thesis work well.
Mentor - Takeaways
Mentors are willing to offer help to young students, but they need the mentorship goal are specific and clear.
They care about the schedule and communication method.
What is the motivation of mentors? How do they want to help mentees?
Most mentors cannot guarantee regular meeting and contribution, but they would love to instruct students for short term and answer their specific questions.
Linkedin is a good website to know mentor/ mentee information.
Before directly jumping into designing, I believed that it was important to understand the information and features that mentees could use. I mapped, grouped and prioritized all the possible information and features and kept asking myself: What am I building?
For design students, when they create a thesis topic, they do have some questions to ask, and mentors have desire to share knowledge — Ask & Answer — Conversation Trigger.
For both side, they don’t know how to choose a suitable mentor/ mentee, and they need to talk with each other to know more — Talk — Decide.
How might we help design students to get pre-mentorship conversation trigger and match with suitable thesis mentors?
Beyond has two groups of user, mentor and mentee.
Beyond mentors are invited from school professors, their social network, and school social experts resources. They could find questions asked by mentees(design students) to answer, by answering to find and talk with potential mentees to guide.
Mentor motivation: 1. Sharing knowledge and help young generation designer. 2. Building personal social impact and industry reputation. 3.Knowing more new mentors and mentees to broaden social network.
Beyond mentees are came from schools or colleges. Because they have a thesis topic and specific mentorship goal, they could ask thesis related questions to get answers from professionals, then they could choose which mentor is the most suitable people to learn.
Mentor System Wireframe
Mentee System Wireframe
I may want to know the mentors’ mentorship experience or their mentees review.
Maybe I should develop the communication part( message tool) more detailed. I want to use app message tool to communicate with my mentors(safety, clean).
The location is not considered. Do I need set this as a factor?
Buttons should be larger.
If there is no people can answer mentee’s question, how should mentees do?
I do like this idea because it is not only for finding a mentor but also to get more connections and knowledge from the community. I believe most mentees( design students) need feedback from different people and some thesis topics are too niche to find the suitable mentor. However, the online community is a public space which means users could see a lot of opinions from different people; everyone can share knowledge and learn from each other.
Mentorship Chatbot Assistant
I want to design a message extension( AI chat robot) to help mentees to facilitate the conversation with mentors. Because I want to help young people to ask right questions and get efficient connections with mentors.