Information Architecture and Homepage Redesign

The Problem

Currently on Handshake, students have to actively search for events/career fairs to attend and access to this information users must navigate multiple steps. How might we surface relevant events/career fairs on the student homepage in order to promote the events/fairs, drive attendance, and further help students build the relationships needed to land their next opportunity.
Graphically duplicating the navigation bar with NUX cards takes up valuable space. How can this first impression space be put to better use?

My role

As the lead designer on the project I worked closely with a content strategist for the Information Architecture phase. Then I partnered with a project manager, copywriter and a team of 8 engineers to redesign the web homepage. I ran a design sprint with cross-functional partners to understand the business needs across our three sided marketplace.

The Product

1. Isn’t intuitive. Features don’t live where students expect them to live.
2. Doesn’t help users prioritize. Contextual and secondary features are competing for priority with core product functionality of job search, discovery and application.
3. Doesn’t communicate clear value. It’s unclear how features such as “student search” are related to the overall objective of finding a job.
4. Isn’t performing well. We’re getting negative feedback from students and seeing little to no engagement, high bounce rates and low task-completion rates.

User Testing

Through user testing we were able to assess issues in the current site information architecture and homepage experience.  Testing two prototypes resulted in the following recommendations:
1. Remove duplicated graphic navigation cards and utilize space to drive user engagement
2. New placement and component for Career Center homepage entry point
3. Update Top level nav, sub-navigation, account drop down content.

“The UM hiring website used before Handshake was easy to navigate, the search feature was effective, and it allowed certain filters on jobs. Handshake is extremely non-user friendly and difficult to navigate.”

Design Sprint

I designed and lead a week long design sprint with designers, engineers, a project manager and engineers. We spoke to cross-functional partners and stakeholders to understand the three-sided market place and identify opportunities. 

North star results: Empathetically guide students through personalized steps and connections that help them achieve career success.
       Directive – students know what they need to do to be successful on our product
       Inspirational – we inspire students to take action rather than increase anxiety around job search
       Human – there are people on the product that care about helping students find opportunities
       Fresh – there are new things to see and students come back because they find value
       Scalable – works across different types of students, institutions, career journeys

The Solution

Task based homepage to get students to complete core tasks that will guide them on how to successfully find their first job or internship.
       Dynamic list of actions a student should take
       Collect data to increase student matchability
       Direct students toward key actions: Jobs, Events, Messages
       Encourage students to build relationships and apply
Clearly communicate the value of the product beyond just jobs.
Layer in the human elements and tie jobs and events to people (e.g. ambassadors, contacts and recruiters), explore including social elements (e.g. show # of students in your major/school who are attending events, viewed the same job, share jobs/events with your classmates).
Interactivity and refinement of personalized collections.