This project was created while working through IDEOs "Foundations in Design Thinking" program. It began with the prompt to design a product or service for today's 70 year old demographic.
During my initial discovery work, I conducted ethnographic research. My observation focused on elderly workers in the service industry. I took a few research trips to local grocery stores - and picked up some groceries while I was at it.
The most significant finding that emerged was the pride most older employees took in their work. They were attentive and careful as they worked. Most that I interacted with seemed happy to be where they were.
To follow up on that research, I spoke with an unemployed individual around age 70. Despite a depth of experience in the secretarial and office staff world, they struggled to find meaningful work. They communicated that a big source of difficulty was matching their interests to a position. They had their basic needs covered by social security. With that stressor out of the way, it was hard to justify doing work they didn't get anything out of.
At this point, I took my findings back to a group of a few colleagues working through the same challenge. We did a group ideation session, with ideas ranging from feasible, to more wild and crazy. Below is our virtual sticky board.
I began the prototyping stage with some quick sketches, getting a few thoughts out and exploring a couple initial directions before diving deeper.
My concepts circled the idea of a two sided employment marketplace. Although the idea was spurred by a prompt to design for the 70 year old audience, it seemed to have broader appeal. Essentially, this arrangement would let an app play the role of a traditional temp agency. On the employee side, they might search for jobs, or connect with other employees to split a full time job they were both interested in.
On the employer side, they could post a job, but outsource the bulk of the talent acquisition work to a combination of the app's filters/verification and the workers self selecting and forming teams.
As this was a fairly quick "few hours over the weekend" type of project, my next step was to go for a mid-level of fidelity. I worked in Adobe XD to build out some screens that would be enough to get a reaction, without investing too much time in anything granular before proving viability. Illustrations came from Undraw (which is fantastic for this sort of thing) and some of the assets were from the Apple Design Resources.
Employees and employers started on one screen in the prototype, with audience selection approached through the buckets of "I have a job that needs to be done" and "I have skills I'd like to utilize". Employees then landed in a 3 step process, for concept testing purposes: Giving some information on work preferences, verfying experience, and browsing jobs that meet their selections.
A few interactions were key to include. Selecting interests and skills is a core part of the app, and I find that using emojis can frequently provoke stronger, more vocal reactions.
A few brief filters to probe around "what else would you like / expect" seemed like enough for an initial MVP.
To verify skills and references, essentially I wanted to convey a "quick option" and a longer option and see what resonated and what didn't. No need to get too in the weeds - just gauge how much users are willing to enter.
Selecting jobs through a "Tinder" style interface is probably a little predictable. But, Tinder is resonant for a reason - it's kind of fun, and pretty effective for certain types of filtering.
On the employer side of things, I kept things quite simple. My (perhaps fallible) reasoning was that the bulk of the interaction would be on the employee side. Employers would mostly be responsible for posting jobs, filling out the right fields, and then giving applicants the final okay after viewing their profile.
I didn't go further than prototyping for the purposes of this project. The exercise of working from observational research to a clickable prototype in a week or two was good practice, and figuring out how to use existing resources for much of the "production" work was something I applied to future concept testing. But, in retrospect, I'd probably change a few things.
I think where I ended up represented a pretty substantial pivot from the initial ask. That's not a bad thing – but to justify it, bringing my final idea back to those I'd spoken to during initial research would have been a good exercise.