Year: 2018


NextPlay is a mobile application that is used to help pair and connect mentors and mentees within tech companies in the Bay Area. Their product provides thoughtful pairing of mentors and mentees and holds mentees accountable for further development of their relationships.

The Unvalidated Problem

The current issue NextPlay is having with its users is that they are unhappy with their initial match. The most common reason is that they felt their personalities did not mesh. Another problem they have with the current platform is that it is not sticky enough. Users have a tendency to find their match, but they never use the application after the initial matching process.

My Role

While working in a team with my partner, Nicole, my role was to provide research that would help discover problems current users were having with the application and validate solutions through user testing.  My primary focus included the on-boarding, while Nicole focused on the matching process

Learning Goals

To take advantage of the pool of internal mentors and resources to share contextual advice and institutional knowledge. How do we educate best practices for mentees/mentors? How can we get mentees to set/ follow through with to-do’s and goals?

The Interviews

4 interviewees felt it was important to have real world context when it came to connecting with their mentor or mentee. The interviewers wanted to see profiles that helped to humanize their match.

5 mentors said they prefer organic relationships. However, they also felt it was important for the mentees to be the ones to drive the relationships.

5 people felt that the icons were unclear. After some time and consideration they could deduct what each one meant, but it did not click right away.

4 people thought that the verbiage between milestones, to-do’s, and goals was confusing. Although each one could easily define these terms, each interviewee had different definitions for each word.

The Solution

After understanding the trends and patterns that we discovered in our user interviews, we formulated some potential solutions to the problems: 1.) Redesign the on-boarding content and process in order to gather essential information and reduce cognitive overload 2.) Orient the user for next steps 3.) Design the app with human touch points 4.) Make the experience more organic 5.) Emphasize the person 6.) Enrich the matching process with user profiles.

Additional Wireframes

Paper testing helped me find a direction that was visually appealing and more clear for the user. I then created low-fidelity wireframes to prototype and test against the original application flow.

Usability Testing

I tested my new designs against the current platform as my control with nine users. Seven of those users identified the following:

In the control users had trouble understanding the to-do's and milestones.

In my new design the users were able to understand how the to-do’s and milestones worked together to reach final goals.

Additional Usability Testing

Nine out of nine users felt that the profile in the control was very limited on valuable information and did not understand what the check marks meant.

In my new design eight out of nine users felt that they had enough information which added humanizing factors to the profile, as well as helpful navigation for personal tools.

User Testing Conclusions

After completing A/B testing, it was clear that the new on-boarding process was more engaging to the users. The interviewees also appreciated the new format for the profiles. They felt that there was more information that could help them understand why they were matched with their mentor/mentee, as well as see how their match was accomplishing their goals and to-dos.

Final Design

View My Prototype