You are working for a new startup that is looking to launch a software as a service (SaaS) desktop web app for companies to use internally for their onboarding process. You will be researching the market and meeting with employees to determine the needs of the business and then developing an MVP based upon your findings.
So far, we have been designing for customers as the end user, but now you have to consider multiple kinds of users:
- Businesses that make the purchasing decisions, so you will need to convince them that this is a valuable service
- Employees at the company who will actually be using the service
A good example of a SaaS is Gusto
You will be designing a new product. If a company you research is already using a product, then that product is a competitor, and you should design something superior. Don’t try to change the existing product.
Because you are launching this product, you need to ensure that this is a service that would be useful to multiple companies.
- Prototype of the MVP for desktop (high-fidelity)
- Roadmap for next 2 post-launch phases (additional features beyond the MVP that will be rolled out in the future, along with how you plan to validate your product)
- Presentation of research and final design proposal
- Research and design report as a PDF (landscape or portrait, ~20 pages)
- Optional, but encouraged: Landing page mockup that explains what your product is and its value (desktop layout; responsive as a bonus)
You will need to find people inside companies to talk to. You should focus on tech-forward companies that have grown to a number where they are starting to need some onboarding-related tools (probably at least 8-10 people). This is why it is critical to start now so that you have time to plan and visit offices in the first week of the project. Research can be done remotely over video conference if you are connected to companies elsewhere.
As you research
Considerations as you investigate how companies currently accomplish onboarding:
- Are aspects already functional? Is there a system already in place and working well? If it is, what can you learn from how that system works to design our product?
- Are any aspects dysfunctional? A system may be in place but there are lots of complaints, it’s may not be well executed, or may be working poorly. How can we make this better and compete in the space?
- Are any areas ad-hoc (thrown together) or non-existent? Maybe there is not yet a complete system or process or nothing concrete is in place. There is a lot of room for innovation and ideation and these are great areas to explore further since the bar for improvement may be lower.
- Expand your research to at least 2-3 companies to try to find as much variety of information and needs as you can.
- Find someone who works in HR to get their perspective, as well as managers and employees (preferably low-level).
- Look to LinkedIn, Slack, or leverage your existing networks to find potential contacts and interviewees.
- Run usability tests with real users—try scheduling these in advance.
- Early in the process try to visit companies and shadow employees to observe their current process, behaviors and pain points.
- Project plan
- Start networking to schedule interviews and site visits at companies
- Interviews and observation
- Competitive Analysis
- Desk research
- Continue interviews and observation
- Affinity Diagram Use post-its on a wall!
- User Persona
- Problem Statement
- Feature prioritization
- Task Analysis
- Use cases
- Card Sorting
- User Flow
- Paper Prototype
- Digital Wireframes
- Style Tile
- Start with high-fi screens
- Desirability Testing
- Finish High-fi
- Prepare your research and design report
- Build your presentation
- Practice your presentation
- Print your reports
- Practice presenting with a classmate
- Be fabulous in front of the jury!
You will present in front of a jury panel composed of 2 UX/UI designers. Think of this as an opportunity to get an outside opinion from someone who is actively and currently working in the field. Working in a high pressure situation in a safe environment is going to be great practice for you ahead of your job interviews.
You should be prepared to answer the following questions:
- What did your research show you?
- What variations on your design did you explore?
- How were your design decisions connected to your research findings?
- How would a user operate your final design?
- How did your design change based on testing with users?
- What features are on your 3–6 month roadmap?
- How did you determine which features to ship first?