My First (Official) Design Challenge
I recently applied for a UX/UI design job for a company that essentially helps find gig work for nurses. My application was accepted, and I was asked to complete a design challenge as the first stage in the interview process. Great! However, for the challenge I was asked to redesign an existing feature of their product.
As a junior designer, I don’t have much experience in design challenges, but I knew that this kind of request is a red flag. Although the initial invitation did state that if my designs were used, I would be compensated for my time, but how would I really know if they were used or not? I reached out to my career advisor, but the request and deadline for the challenge was during a holiday week so I didn’t hear back right away. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I decided to complete the challenge as requested, but I chose to submit my work as part of a powerpoint presentation, so I could both describe a bit of my process and so it would be harder to extract my work.
Ultimately, I was not invited to interview or given the chance to more fully explain my design process, but I thought it would be a good addition to my portfolio. Although I did ask, I did not receive a response from the company to get permission to use their original design as a part of this case study. Because of this, and because I don’t wish to disparage the company itself, I will only include a few reference images and quotes to support this retrospective.
The feature I was asked to redesign was that of the Documents feature. In order to be eligible for work, users have to submit a certain number and type of documents. According to their project overview, most users don’t proactively check this section to see if documents are missing or have expired, and so I was asked to answer a number of questions and rethink the existing flow in my redesign.
Questions and Tasks
The first thing I did for this project is write down the questions I needed to answer and what tasks users needed to be able to complete. Questions included:
- Where does this feature need to appear in the flow of the app?
- How does this feature allow users to choose the shifts they want?
- What tasks do users need to complete to be eligible for any shift?
This led me to the tasks I needed users to be able to complete.
- Upload documents
- Re-upload updated documents
- Check status of documents (including what is required, what needs updated, what is pending, and if documents have been approved)
In the existing flow, users only get notified when documents are missing or expiring from the company’s customer success team. Finding out if this process could be automated was outside the scope of this project, but I wanted to find a better way to keep users informed of their current status. I wanted to know why users weren’t actively checking this section themselves and redesign the feature accordingly.
With these questions and tasks in mind, I began just jotting down ideas about how to help users more easily interact with the Documents feature.
- Change the language of document categories
- Clarify document status
- Expiring documents will move to the top of the list and will include an “expiring in” date (including 60, 30, 14 days, etc)
- Notify users on the homepage when a document requires attention
I felt that the foundation of the feature was solid, but needed clarification and transparency for users to feel more confident and be more proactive.
One of the most important aspects of any UX design project is to identify your users and design for them. With the limited scope of this project, I identified a spectrum of users: the regular and the casual user.
- Regular User: The regular user uses the app more than 3 times per week, keeps their account regularly updated, and sees notifications more frequently
- Casual User: The casual user only uses the app 1 time per week or less, does not receive notifications regularly, and needs reminders when logging back into the app
Both types of users (and everyone in between) need to be able to complete the same tasks and have similar experiences. Our regular user should not be bogged down by unnecessary notifications, while our casual user does not miss out on vital information required for success.
Having identified my spectrum of users, I then sketched out two user flows, one for a new user, and one for a regular.
The most important thing for users with these flows is that they need to be notified right away if documents need to be updated or submitted in order to be eligible to apply for shifts.
To begin the final stage of the redesign process — wireframes — I began by creating very rough sketches on paper. This was less to organize information as it was to clarify copy and allow myself to play around with layout. I then went to trust Balsamiq to create some low fidelity wireframes.
This updated design included notifications from the homepage that allowed users to respond immediately to tasks that required attention. I also re-organized the Documents home page to users to know immediately which documents needed to be updated or were missing. The updated homepage then adjusts to show which documents are pending approval and which still require attention.
I chose to jump right to high fidelity wireframes, because the original design was simple and didn’t require a lot of adjustment from the low fidelity. I adhered to the style of the company’s original design while adding my own adjustments in color, composition and flow.
While ultimately I didn’t get a chance to interview, and received a somewhat vague rejection email, I am pleased with the work I’ve done on this project. I’ve improved my visual design skills, and this exercise allowed me to practice producing a mini case study in a short time period with limited resources.
Every design, even if it doesn’t get used, is an opportunity to practice the skills I’ve learned, and to remind myself that I can do this. I’m excited to continue to learn and practice, and hopefully soon I’ll be utilizing these skills in the real world!
Curious to learn more about me? Check out my website at https://www.rjwhittakerdesign.com/