Preview of Final Deliverables
Founded in 2016, WeSolv is a web platform that connects diverse MBA students and companies to tackle business projects and challenges. Students get the opportunity to work on real problems with top companies, while companies get the opportunity to recruit and vet diverse candidates through performance metrics and data, that help remove the biases in hiring.
Our two contacts at WeSolv were Stella Ashaolu, CEO and Founder, and Brittany Canty, Director of Product and UX. WeSolv’s mission is to challenge the traditional resume-based hiring process, inspired by Stella’s experience as an MBA candidate in the past. Stella was being overlooked in her job search and found the case competitions she completed provided a better way to set herself apart in the eyes of employers. Before working with my team, WeSolv had recently partnered with Salesforce to hire product marketing interns and also graduated from Techstars Seattle 2018.
WeSolv has two sides to its platform, one for the MBA candidates and the other for the companies looking to hire them. My team of three designers was tasked with:
Improving the company-facing platform, with a particular focus on company onboarding, the challenge creation process, and candidate performance data.
WeSolv identified their target users as talent acquisition practitioners from small, medium and large enterprise companies, including: University/MBA recruiters, HR leads, and hiring managers. This presented my team with a broad scope to work within and the opportunity for a narrowing of focus as we began to think about our research plan.
Kickoff Meeting Prep
From the brief and even after the first glance of their website, we assumed WeSolv was primarily a diversity hiring platform. This spurred us to research the advantages of diversity in the workplace and the possible reasons as to why companies are having difficulty increasing the diversity of their employees. We conducted a brief heuristic evaluation of their current live site before meeting with our client for the first time, to get familiar with the different features of their platform and to see where there were any usability issues from our perspective as designers.
Some key takeaways from our meeting were:
• That WeSolv wanted to know what was the hook that would get their users, the companies, to become paying customers.
• They wanted to know how much their users thought a challenge would cost to create and how do those figures match up against what their actual pricing was.
• They saw themselves as more of a performance-based hiring platform that produces more diverse candidates as a result.
To the last point in this list, it was surprising since our initial research on diversity and inclusion in the workplace unveiled how important and difficult it was for companies to meet their diversity goals. We assumed companies would see more value in WeSolv as primarily a diversity tool rather than a performance-based hiring platform since the current hiring market was saturated with big players such as Linkedin and Glassdoor. WeSolv’s reasoning for their position was that from their perspective, diverse candidates would rather be hired based on their skills and not because they're filling a company’s diversity quota.
We began our research by looking at a number of companies that we saw as direct and indirect competitors to what WeSolv does and the space they occupy. The direct competitors were chosen based on their challenge or competition based hiring methods or how close to being a diversity hiring platform they were, which included: Pymetrics, Jopwell, The Consortium, Betterific, ZipRecruiter, and Toptal. The indirect competitors were chosen within the general online hiring field, which included: LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Hello Alice.
Looking across all direct and indirect competitors, we found three keys trends:
1. Companies didn’t show pricing upfront but they offered a free trial or lighter version of their product with a clear distinction of what the user can get out of each option.
2. Companies "show off" what they offer in their marketing strategy, whether it’s by showcasing access to diverse candidates or how many companies they’ve already partnered with.
3. Although companies compete with each other in certain areas, they are all distinct in their own way to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Room for differentiation or improvement:
• Although tactics of showing the value of the product before showing pricing were widely used and considered best practice, we saw it as an opportunity to separate WeSolv from the rest. If they could show the value of the platform and show pricing, it may eliminate the need for consultations, free trials, or any extra steps in the way of customer conversion.
• Continue to position WeSolv as a challenge and competition based hiring platform but go “all in” on this stance to not confuse users and have them think the platform was primarily a diversity hiring tool.
• Conversely, instead of trying to compete with companies’ current applicant tracking systems, WeSolv could position themselves as primarily a diversity hiring platform. They would be competing with companies such as Jopwell, but their challenge based assessments could be the differentiator.
Speaking with users
Our client had access to a selection of their target users and helped set up times for us to meet them for interviews. We showed them static screens from WeSolv’s company marketing page, onboarding and company portal pages, student preview and pricing pages, and their challenge creation pages. These screens were chosen to give users an idea of WeSolv’s language and positioning to spur a discussion about the methods users were using to hire candidates.
We asked users questions such as:
• How could they see WeSolv fitting into their current recruiting process?
• What they think can do on the company portal, after they have signed up?
• How much do they think a product like this would cost?
• How do they think challenges work and what information would they need in order to pay to create a challenge?
Company Marketing Page
“How does putting an exercise out there save me money and give me more diverse candidates? They don't explain that clearly.” - User E, Staffing Specialist
Users need more information on how the platform works so they can better understand how it will help them with their recruiting needs.
Onboarding and Company Portal
“When I first signed up, I thought I was getting more information, but I got an account. Then, I thought I was creating a challenge, but now I'm getting a call from a WeSolv Manager instead? I'm a little disappointed.” - User C, VP of Talent
While the onboarding process is straightforward, it is not encouraging challenge creation and showcasing the value of the WeSolv platform.
Student Preview and Pricing
“If you’re using the platform to hire a person exclusively, I would say maybe 15% for the hire. But if you’re using it more broadly, then I would guess $500 for a challenge.” - User R, Sr. Manager of Talent
Consider alternative ways to preview or test the platform before paying and provide more information on how pricing works.
Create a Challenge
“Is this like Upwork or Hired? It feels a little bit like both, but I’m not sure what the focus is right now.” - User P, Talent Manager
Throughout the platform, clearly explain how challenges work and provide value to companies. Also consider simplifying the overall process.
Overall, what would get users to sign up?
“I think just having a tool where you can easily go to look for more diverse candidates doesn’t exist. So, that alone would be incredibly useful and amazing.” - User M, Director of Talent
“If you can figure out the diversity and inclusion play, that's a much more viable long term path and need for the industry.” - User J, VP Recruiting
Consider focusing the product positioning on how this platform helps companies to improve their diversity & inclusion recruiting efforts.
With these five insights we gathered from listening to WeSolv’s target users, we decided that given the amount of time we had left with the project, we could confidently take on and deliver results for the:
• Company onboarding.
• Ways to preview the platform.
• The challenge creation process.
We didn’t tackle repositioning WeSolv as solely a diversity platform because we felt Stella and Brittany’s reasoning for challenge-based hiring, as mentioned earlier, was valid and an important part of their company values.
Narrowing our focus
With these insights in mind, we created a problem statement to reflect what we heard from our users.
We decided to back our problem statement up with three design principles to provide consistency in our design decisions as we moved into the ideation phase:
Explain how WeSolv and provides value to companies by further clarifying challenges and user benefits.
Encourage users to seek more information, sign up, and create challenges throughout the website and onboarding process.
Ensure that users feel secure in using WeSolv by providing a free demo, example challenge, and information on how it works throughout the process.
We created concepts that challenged WeSolv’s existing business model based on our research, the three insights we uncovered from interviewing users, and guided by our problem statement and design principles. We put our concepts in front of WeSolv’s target users and presented our findings to our client, which spurred a discussion into how we could move forward with the results. We ultimately decided to not move forward with implementing our concepts into WeSolv’s current model and took what we learned from users during concepting to improve the current onboarding, ways to preview, and challenge creation processes.
Prototyping the solution
Our goal for testing our mid-fidelity prototype was to find out how usable it would be next to what WeSolv was currently implementing. We asked our users to complete two tasks with our prototype and WeSolv’s platform:
1. Sign up to use the WeSolv platform.
2. Create a challenge on the WeSolv dashboard.
We tested both prototype with eight users, mostly supplied by WeSolv and all within the recruiting and hiring field. Although the feedback we received from WeSolv’s current flow was being received almost simultaneously with the feedback on our own prototype, we coincidently found that the action items as a result of that feedback were already being addressed through the positive feedback we received on our own prototype.
Action item: Provide a free demo for users to try the platform.
WeSolv's Current Flow:
“Seems like I would have needed to know a lot about the company and bought in already to do this sign up process, but if I’m coming from a marketing page, I feel like I need more information before I sign up for the portal.” - User J
Our Updated Flow:
“My favorite part is the free demo. If I can’t see the cost of this before I enter my info, then this would be the only incentive to get me to sign up.” - User B
Aligning with our expectations, users liked having access to a free demo to find out how WeSolv can help their companies with their specific needs.
Action item: Start users with a video on how the platform works.
WeSolv's Current Flow:
“Pretty heavy on the text. A good way to present some of this information could be like a short animation or something like that.” - User S
“I don’t really know why I’m creating a challenge.” - User P
Our Updated Flow:
“I like the video, would be super helpful.” - User M
Users liked that there was a mock video that would introduce them to the WeSolv portal. They felt it was a quick way to onboard new users into a separate part of the platform.
Action item: Provide an example challenge for users to preview.
WeSolv's Current Flow:
“I would like the ability to see a sample challenge or sample template to see how this works.” - User B
Our Updated Flow:
“Being able to look at an example challenge is super helpful. I just need to learn more about challenges. I don’t have a good mental model of them.”- User S
“This screen allows me to see an example, so I can understand what I’d be signing up for... and with that understanding, I can work on creating my own challenge for my company.” - User P
Users appreciated having a sample challenge to get an idea of what was expected from them in terms of setting up their challenge and what kind of results they could expect WeSolv to deliver.
Action item: Clearly display challenge creation steps.
WeSolv's Current Flow:
“I feel like the logic of the pages and the amount of information and how it’s presented did not make a whole lot of sense.” - User E
Our Updated Flow:
“Really like the way that they have made the digital timeline - 1, 2, 3, 4 in front of me, it seems super easy.” - User M
Users enjoyed knowing where they were in the challenge creation process. They liked seeing how much progress they made and how much work was left in each step of their journey.
Action item: Provide sample copy or explanation in text fields as part of the template.
WeSolv's Current Flow:
“I would want to see an explanation on what is the expected output in the text box.” - User J
Our Updated Flow:
“I like how some of the text fields are already populated for me.” - User K
Users liked having guidance on what was expected from them in the fields they were required to fill out.
Action item: Simplify the sign up and challenge creation process.
Our Updated Flow:
“Much easier. Thought this one was way better.” - User S1
“Much much better, like way better.” - User S2
“100% definitely this one, for sure!” - User J
Users felt our updated flow was more usable than WeSolv’s current flow. Some users expressed excitement after using our prototype.
After presenting our final prototype and usability testing results, our client expressed their gratitude and thanked us for our work on this project. They thought we did a good job in the three weeks that we had to work and the slight change in direction we had in the last week didn’t seem to phase our progress.
Given our short timeframe, we included future considerations based on what we uncovered from research and testing throughout our entire three-week project. These recommendations will make WeSolv more competitive in the hiring and recruitment field through the adoption of best practices found in their competitors and unique features that will set them apart.
Our user research and competitive analysis revealed that WeSolv should provide some type of free demo or trial to incentivize companies to sign up for the platform. The current site did not offer enough value through its student previews. There were discrepancies between what they priced their product and what users thought their product would cost, so a free demo can help Stella and Brittany show users the benefits of using their platform before requesting payment and alleviate the amount of selling they are currently doing for their services over email and in-person.
Many users want to know about pricing before they are willing to consider trying the platform. Either through a consultation with WeSolv or a “try before you buy” feature, our prototype allows WeSolv to try both methods out, thus opening up an opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors that do not show pricing.
Individual vs Team Challenges:
While the current platform was focused on team challenges, many users expressed interest in seeing individual challenges as well. While HR managers do value teamwork, they are more concerned with seeing how the individual addresses their particular challenge. Having individual challenges over team challenges will put more emphasis on the work of the individual candidates and will alleviate any need for WeSolv to step in if issues occur within teams.
Remove all candidate details from the submissions while companies review, in order to remove bias from the evaluation process. Once top performers are identified, candidates’ information would then be revealed. This is would be a unique way for WeSolv to attempt to remove some of the biases of the hiring process while also making them stand out among their competitors. We didn’t find any other hiring platforms with this feature through our research.
Expanding beyond MBAs:
Most of the users we spoke with did not explicitly hire MBAs. While several of them were interested in what WeSolv offered, their recruiting efforts were focused more on a broader range of candidate background and experience. WeSolv expressed that they were planning on expanding beyond just MBA candidates in the future, but from what their target users said, they might want to consider expanding their platform now to be more inclusive to the companies they are trying to partner with.
I felt that my team did very well in the three weeks we worked with WeSolv. Our client was very responsive to all communication and was on top of scheduling our time with their target users. They made the time to meet with us in-person or remote each week as we presented our finding to them and they weren’t afraid to give us feedback to help guide our direction. It was great to interview users and put our concepts and prototype in front of them to hear their thoughts.
I’m proud of the work that I did individually and as a team. I was able to grow as a researcher, taking on multiple user interviews and conducting multiple concept and usability tests. I was able to grow as a presenter, presenting our findings from each week to our client. And I was able to grow as a designer. By bringing my past experiences and skills I developed before I became a UX designer, I was able to offer my unique perspective to a group with other unique perspectives and help my team deliver a final deliverable worth sharing with others and more importantly, worth handing off to Stella and Brittany.