Empathy Jam 2017 was a one-day UX Design hackathon, held on October 28 at Fordham University, Lincoln Center. Participants formed teams of up to five people and selected from two challenges.
Challenge: The JourneyApp team addressed Challenge B. How might we create tools and platforms that utilize AI for New Yorkers to learn and practice soft skills for a JOB SEARCH?
Problem Statement: Tom is a job seeker who wants to keep his professional hard/soft skills relevant to stay competitive in a job market that is becoming more automated. Tom needs a way to assess, collaborate, and identify needed hard/soft skills so that he can build connections with others, and leverage/improve upon existing skill sets.
Role: My role was to serve as the Lead UX Researcher. I led the team through research exercises including developing assumptions about potential users to test in the field and synthesizing our assumptions with our research findings. We split into two field study teams and my group, including Jen Green and Daniel Cho interviewed people on the plaza at Lincoln Center and on the Fordham campus about their use of technology for self improvement and job search and their concerns about potential displacement from automation.
We found that while most people we interviewed were unconcerned about automation, and in fact had a rather positive view of AI and assistive technologies, they were concerned about improving their soft skills and wading through an abundance of information to find the right programs. Interviews seemed to confirm that an AI would be a welcome tool to help sort through opportunities.
As a team, we ideated features of our application, which would employ an AI to interview users about their skills and experience and the types of new skills and occupations they would like to pursue. We decided the AI would then offer a roadmap for developing skills to help the job seeker grow into professions that interest the user, based on the interview and iterative feedback. The AI would suggest courses, professional networks, mentors and communities, and track completion of suggested tasks.
From these exercises, a teammate created a proposed user flow for the app. The next step was to map the user journey to our proposed user task flow. I created a journey map for onboarding as well as the overall tasks a user completes in the application. We then went outdoors again for more field testing to validate our assumptions.
After refining our user flow, my teammate Kristin Bodkin created a mock-up of the web application while Vanessa Sanchez prepared the presentation deck for the final demos.
Here is a twitter post from @EmpathyJam showing our presentation.
We didn’t win any prizes, but we learned a lot about the UX research and product ideation processes, made new friends and had a wonderful day of developing empathy for our local community.