Creating a more inclusive and accessible mentorship platform
How can we make our platform more accessible and inclusive for our diverse student audience?
UX Lead (Myself)
Mar - Aug 2021 (6 mo)
CovEd is a small organization founded by university students in the northeast in response to the new challenges of the 2020 pandemic. They identified a need for mentors for k-12 students, particularly those in under-served communities, and created a platform to match them with college mentors who can provide assistance with specific classes and questions about university life.
The website has had general positive feedback on all aspects however, some demographics found that their needs were not being met as easily. In drop down menus, mentees were unable to reach mentors who could mentor in a language other than english or requesting a mentor who has experience working with ADHD. We had to ensure that our website was both intuitive and inclusive.
As the lead UX designer for an iteration of the platform, my focus was creating inclusiveness, accessibility, and visualizations.
The initial design before I began this project with is shown above. The website championed concise branding and overall ui design. However, more concise use of information and keywords along with opportunities for mentees and mentors to find the right match by including more options would allow for a much better user experience from the tutoring portion of the website.
Synthesis & Scoping
While analyzing the website and understanding mentees and CovEd management, I found a list of pain points. They ultimately fit into three boxes, new features, additional inclusionary options, and new static information pages. With this information in hand, we could either add features or consolidate and streamline what we have.
I started by creating a list of pain points that were later on boxed and trimmed down.
What Should We Focus On?
We found mentor information was too text heavy, losing vital information above the fold making it difficult to match with mentees in their skillset. We addressed this by adding additional filter options for mentees and mentors for languages spoken and considerations like autism or ADHD to be considered. We also create a key words feature so mentees can more easily recognize if a mentor fits their needs.
Secondarily on the CovEd management side, static pages throughout the website used to promote the organization and the people who work here were brushed to the side as more time-sensitive projects had come up throughout the year. I stepped in an created additional pages such the contact us and press page for future use.
Let's Get Started
Our personas fell into one of the following three categories
Mentors: College students matched with k-12 students through the website
Guardians: Adult family members who help set an account for their child to match with a mentor
CovEd Management: Someone who currently helps manage CovEd from social media, web development, etc
Surveys were created based on the targeted audience such as for mentors, for mentees, for mentees who successfully have had a mentor, and for mentees who couldn’t find a mentor.
Based on feedback, we found that the features that parents wanted most from CovEd were the ability to request mentors based on their ability to mentor using a language other than English and other special assistance that their child may need.
To begin this process, we looked at the forms currently used for both mentors and mentees and added two questions for mentors and one for mentees asking
Iterated Mentor Keyword Design
The current navigation makes it difficult to understand whether the mentor teaches Spanish as a class or if they are able to speak in that language during their session and a subsection of their bio is shown below their name making it difficult to parse for keywords. I proposed adding a specific section during sign up to add additional needs and showcasing only pertinent information underneath the mentors name with their full bio showcased once clicked on.
Based on user feedback from current CovEd staff, a need to showcase the strong public presence of CovEd along with an ability to access additional resources through other platforms CovEd uses was needed. With feedback, I included additional features such as a Press and Testimonial Page. I also created a more concise contact us page with cohesive branding colors, adding a bio section for the CovEd team, and adding social media to the footer and links to outside pages CovEd is involved with such as extracurricular activities and support groups.