User problems in context

Ultan Ó Broin (MUGATEAUX)
3 min readJan 24, 2021


The Venus team turned to the Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) approach to frame user wants and desired outcomes for using the app. A problem statement was formed. Stories and scenarios provided context of use. User personas and mappings communicated and focussed design direction.

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Takeaways: Use data to reinforce design decisions. Leverage design tools and artifacts to advocate for the user and to communicate directions.

Task analysis

A step-by-step, “as-is”, task analysis of Indeed Jobs search and application flows was performed. This revealed a less than optimal number of steps, decision points, unexpected data entry, and sequence of user actions.

The problem statement

The research exposed common themes of concern: the search results relevance, the usefulness of the information for decision-making, and the overall tone of the Indeed Jobs experience: a transactional, impersonal, and sometimes abrupt experience about a life-event decision. A problem statement resulted:

“We want to create an easy way for users to search, find and apply for the perfect role with confidence.”

— Problem statement

Humanising users

Each team member created two personas of typical users, including one ‘extreme user’, and two experience maps about what was said, felt, thought, and done in context by each user.

Alisha new graduate persona and empathy map
Tyler ‘extreme’ techie persona and empathy map

Personas were validated by representative users.

The creation of a JTBD statement for the personas enabled team members to deliver a customer journey map for Indeed Jobs across the job search experience.

Alisha customer journey
Tyler customer journey

After team discussion, one persona and mapping set based on the user ‘Zack’, a business analyst, was chosen for the group redesign. This was based on ease of access to similar users for design input and evaluation, and a segmentation process that showed other personas also wanted a simple, mobile, search-driven experience they could relate to.

Zack persona and customer journey

User advocacy

The persona and mappings provided valuable visual communication and ideation tools. Team members were enabled to focus on what the user would do, to make decisions about design direction, to explore different solutions to resolve the problem, and empathize with users. The team also accessed primary data and real users to enhance the persona value during design, reflecting practice (Golz, 2014).

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Ultan Ó Broin (MUGATEAUX)

Un concepteur d’applications mobiles faisant des recherches à Dublin. Je travaille à distance. Étudiant.Content does not necessarily reflect the views of IADT.