Ignitus

Ignitus is a non-profit organization built by the collaborative effort of industry experts and students from all over the world, which helps students and professionals get handpicked top-quality global research and industrial internships. Initially, it started with a growing community on Slack.

During my tenure with Ignitus, I was given the responsibility to design the mobile user experience, which would help students focus on their goals and help them find relevant opportunities while connecting them with the right people.

Project
Ignitus
Role: UX Design Intern
Duration: Feb - Sep 2019

User Experience
Interface Design
Research
Prototyping
Figma


Collaborators
Paarmita Bhargava
Ignitus cover
The Challenge
Help students find goal-oriented research opportunities and internships
01
Engage students with the right professors to find relevant opportunities
02
Help new users learn to connect based on their goals
03
Create an experience that guides and is straight-forward

Understanding the problem

Understanding the Problem

Talented students are missing out on internships and research opportunities and leading to a majority of graduates with no experience and low-level skills. My job was to create a mobile experience for an already designed web app that would help inspire students regularly and increase engagement towards better opportunities.
Recent studies worldwide report that most graduates are unemployable even after attending well-structured classes in good universities that are taught by highly-skilled professors and industry experts, which companies blame on the no-application process of teaching. This problem needed deeper insight to understand exactly what are the skills that students are missing, why are they missing, and is it really their fault to miss out on these skills?

Collecting data about different countries led us to understand quantitatively, the scale at which the needs of the industry were missing.
Less than 40% students do projects beyond their curriculum that companies look for. There is a lack of faculty talking about industry application of concepts in class or students getting exposure through industry talks.
Defining the user

Empathy mapping with multiple target users

From the beginning, I knew our primary target users were college students. To gain a better shared understanding, I asked five friends at the university and some other students online about their experiences while they used job searching platforms, how they approached faculty for research related projects and what were the things that they wished were different.
Empathy Map
I also created a survey and put it out to university students and the limited number of students who were being served by Ignitus on their slack group. I got 70 responses.

Taking the common attributes of these answers, I made user personas to focus on the pain points.
Second user persona for IgnitusUser persona for Ignitus
Combining the goals and pain points of the target users, I plotted the user journey to understand how Ignitus can fit in the process.
User Journey
The journey map helped me determine the right steps to turn the graph towards growth and help users gain confidence with Ignitus while initiating a conversation with another user or applying for a position.

The key observation was that users who are inexperienced (mostly students) needed guidance to better connect with people. Unclear information on most platforms led to available features not being utilized. This led to the design decision for creating new sections that provided personal recommendations to connect and better communicate not only how the feature works, but how to use it.
THE Solution

Connecting students with educators and professionals based on goals supported through suggested communication methods.

The app focuses on community and engaging students with similar interests and goals connecting them with previously experienced professionals and academic professors that help them get the right opportunities where they use industry-relevant skills. While connecting, students are also provided supporting messages to help make better and stronger connections.
THE PROCESS

Competitive Ananlysis

The problem of students unable to get suitable internship opportunities was prominent even after these markets had highly active internship and job searching platforms. While there were many competitors in this field like Idealist.org, Internshala, Glassdoor, Indeed, and Gradly, I did a competitor mapping to choose the two good players in the market to analyze their profiles in depth.

I chose to focus on The Intern Group and LinkedIn because they were big players in the internships market and also very popular. Doing a SWOT analysis, I listed the main problems that we needed to solve and had a better understanding of all the opportunities.

User Flows + Usability Testing

I went through 3 rounds of low-fidelity ideation and improvement of user flows: one initially, the second round after discussing with members of Ignitus Slack group, and the third round after feedback from target users outside Ignitus.
User flows showing Onboarding, Profile, Messaging, and Search

Wireframing

After the flows were decided, based on user research, I listed down and sketched the details through 2 iterations that were required to be arranged on different components in order to confidently create a user interface which converts content to greater focus towards interests of students and induces higher engagement.
I created 15 digital wireframes on Adobe Experience Design initially and iterated on them to finalize the UI of all the basic components and sections of the app.

Final Design

Visual outlook of the app is an important factor to blend emotions with user experience. The main visual goals were:
1. Corporate aesthetic
2. Balanced and approachable

The mobile experience also had to be consistent with the already designed Ignitus web app. Bringing these together and after some exploration, I brought together the style guide.
Ignitus Style Guide
Ignitus User profile
Reflection

Takeaways

This project being my first internship experience helped me learn so much while collaborating with other designers and managers. I went through several user testing phases and I learned how importantly, research plays a major role in development of the concept. If I were to do more on this project, I would improve the interface and love to create a design system through A/B testing.

The Slack group of Ignitus helped me testing with real target users and I am grateful to the seniors who gave me the creative ownership.

The two important things that Ignitus taught me:

  • Team work and collaboration is key, it is important to engage the whole team with a mix of developers, and managers to understand a multitude of different views.
  • Functionality of a product is of prime importance, consistency must not challenge the actual goal.
It was amazing to work on an actual product while understanding and eliminating the problems that users told me. I am excited to see how Ignitus evolves and impacts the so many positive people involved.