The Venus team used a range of research methods to shape an understanding of job-seeking users, applications and task flows, and to identify needs and opportunities.
Takeaways: Use a broad research landscape; find real users. Be creative; leverage personal networks and resources. Choice of words and tone matter in UX.
Choice of app
Six mobile apps were discussed for the redesign: Blackboard, Funimation, Indeed Job Search, LinkedIn, Microsoft Teams, and Trash Nothing. After team review, the Indeed Jobs Search mobile app was selected using an IDEO-based combination of desirability, viability, and feasibility factors.
A selection of qualitative and quantitative, attitudinal and behavioural, and direct and indirect research (Rohrer, 2014) approaches followed. This provided a broad scope of perspectives to draw on (Sauro, 2015): usability heuristics, online surveys, interviews, usability studies, and competitive reviews by industry analysts and users.
10 industry-standard usability heuristics (Nielsen and Molich, 1990) provided an initial insight into user issues. 9 remote users, of different demographic and professional profiles, were asked to explore the Indeed Jobs mobile app UI and to talk-out loud as they did so. Studies were performed by remote video conferencing with participants.
175 respondents identified through networking provided answers to 3 short surveys distributed over email and social media. Survey questions were designed to discover key parts of the job application user experience, and to expose potential areas for a redesign.
Moderated usability studies
Remote usability studies were conducted with 4 users through the Microsoft Teams platform. Users were asked to perform a job search and application task using Indeed Jobs, as they would normally, and to talk out loud. Moderators took notes and explored points of interest with non-directive questions.
Remote personal interviews were organised with users. These explored a diversity of users and their needs, such as accessibility requirements, the experiences of returners to work, and of new entrants to the job market. This primary research was supplemented with third-party interviews.
“Indeed doesn’t speak to me as a person”
— Graduate job seeker interview
The Indeed Jobs competitors, Monster, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn were compared and contrasted. This analysis assessed market strengths and weaknesses, functional footprints, and consumer ratings. Indeed Jobs was the market leader with its large user base and range of frequently updated job opportunities. However, competitive gaps were discovered: lack of consistent information, missing job details (such as salary), no provision of insights into a company’s work experience, and a dated, transactional user experience.
An analysis of the data by the Venus team uncovered several possible areas to redesign. Common themes of a less than optimal search, information inconsistency and incompleteness, onboarding obstacles, and an off-putting, mechanistic, tone of voice emerged. Given the complexity of the overall process, the team focussed on how the app functionality for searching for relevant jobs and then completing an application could be enhanced and assisted.