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Mentorship feature: This feature was developed to enable professionals to easily connect with experts to seek career advice,  feedback, and coaching.

Mentorship Search Page Screen Thumbnail
Mentor Profile Page Screen Thumbnail
Mentorship Search Results Page Screen Thumbnail

Introduction

Overview

LinkedIn is a social networking platform that enables professionals to connect with one another. Many users of LinkedIn use the platform to seek professional development, connect with other professionals in their field, and to seek career advice (in the form of mentorship, feedback, and advice).

Although professionals use LinkedIn to seek career advice, feedback, and mentorship, Linkedin does not have a clear way for professionals to connect in this way. Therefore, I decided to add a feature that enables users to easily find professionals on the platform that are willing and able to provide mentorship, feedback, and career advice. 
 

Mentor Profile Page Screen Thumbnail

View the LinkedIn Mentor Feature in Action

My Process

01

User Research

02

Ideation & Prioritization

03

Information Architecture

04

Interaction Design

05

UI Design

06

Prototyping & Testing

My Role

Research, end-to-end UX/UI Designer 

Tools

Figma, Otter.ai, Mural, Optimal Sort, Miro

Timeline

April 2023 - May 2023

Research

Problems Explored

Time wasted in reaching out to experts for advice and not knowing whether they will be willing and able to help. 

Although many people are encouraged to join LinkedIn to meet others in their field, or prospective field, it can be very challenging to actually find experts on the platform that are willing to mentor or help provide guidance on things like: how to navigate the nuances of landing a job in a specific field, how to switch into a particular field, what employers in a particular field are looking for, what the job landscape currently looks like, and providing feedback on resumes, portfolios, and profiles.

Lack of clear expectations and understanding between mentees and mentors

Users often feel that they may be asking too much from a mentor and often feel unaware of what a mentor's boundaries or limitations may be. 

On the other hand, mentors can feel uncomfortable telling someone no despite already having too much responsibility on their plate as it is. 

Goals

01

Reduce time wasted in endlessly messaging experts on LinkedIn by making clear which users are willing to mentor.

Enable users to sign up to be mentors on LinkedIn. Each mentor will have a designated icon on their profile that shows they are a mentor. 

02

Make the connection process easier and less awkward for both mentors and mentees. 

Enable users to request sessions with mentors, to state the purpose of the meeting and to list questions they want to discuss. Enable mentors to accept or decline booking requests, and set their availibility

03

Enable users to easily find the best mentor to fit their specific needs.

Create a  mentor profile that details the mentor's expertise, skills, services, languages spoken, reviews, and availability. 

Research Methodologies

User Interviews

Three in-depth user interviews were conducted with people of varying ages, backgrounds, and cultures who have or currently use LinkedIn.

 

This method was beneficial in determining what tools and processes users already implement when seeking professional career mentorship, and what their pain points are with their current process. 

 

The user interviews also enabled me gain a deeper understanding of user needs, behaviors, and patterns.

Competitive Analysis

In order to position the mentorship feature on LinkedIn as a desirable and viable  solution for professionals seeking career advice, I conducted a competitive analysis. This involved researching the current market, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, and identifying how LinkedIn could stand out from the competition.

 

Through this analysis, I was able to determine user needs, collect design patterns, and identify opportunities to optimize the user experience.  Additionally, I looked at how competitors addressed user needs and identified potential gaps where I could improve upon their solutions.

User Survey

Twenty LinkedIn users of varying backgrounds participated in taking a user survey.

 

This survey was beneficial in determining how many of the users have sought professional advice on LinkedIn, what kind of advice they were looking for, what is important for them to know about a mentor ahead of time, and where else they may have sought mentorship besides LinkedIn. 

The user interviews also enabled me gain a deeper understanding of user needs, pain points, and how they currently use the platform.

Competitive Analysis Findings

ADP List Logo

User Interview Key Findings

01.

Users want to know before reaching out whether or not another expert on the platform is going to be willing and able to talk to them or help them out. 

02.

Mentees often feel that they are asking too much from their mentor, especially if the mentor is helping them for free.

03.

Sometimes mentors feel uncomfortable because they want to help but they may be too busy to help in the way that someone needs or they may not be available at the time that someone needs.

04.

​When working with a mentor, users want to know the following about a potential mentor: 

  • Availability to mentor indication on profile / indication of when they are available

  • Job History

  • Services offered

  • Ratings and reviews 

  • Years of experience

  • Academic background

  • Bio or purpose statement

Define

User Personas

After analyzing all research findings, I created user personas which encompassed the goals, pain points, and motivations of those interviewed and surveyed. I also included a visual representation of the users to help visualize their characteristics and needs. These user personas formed the basis for the design decisions I made throughout the UX design process.

Below are two personas, Hana and Timothy 

User Persona #1
User Persona #2

Design

Wireframes

Next, I used the user research data gathered to begin developing wireframes.  I first created low-fidelity wireframes using pen and paper. After receiving feedback from peers and my advisor, I began developing high-fidelity wireframes using Figma. 

Low Fidelity Wireframes

Mentor Profile Low Fidelity Wireframe

High Fidelity Wireframes

Mentor Profile Page Screen Thumbnail
Mentor Profile Page Screen Thumbnail
Mentor Page Screen Thumbnail

Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

Brand Identity & UI Kit

In order to ensure that I stayed true to LinkedIn's brand identity and UI, I first studied LinkedIn's branding and design system. I determined their font usage, color palette, information architecture, icons, spacing, and components. I then recreated each to use within my wireframes.  Featured below are some of the styles and components used  in the screen designs. 

LinkedIn Branding Kit

Prototyping & Testing

Prototyping

After studying LinkedIn's branding and UX design, I began developing my high-fidelity wireframes for the task flows that I would like to test. After receiving feedback from my mentor and peers, I used Figma's prototyping feature to develop my first prototype. 

My prototype included 3 task flows: 

  1. Navigate to the mentorships page

  2. Search for a mentor

  3. Request to book a session with a mentor

Mentor Search Results Page Screen Thumbnail
Select Available Appointment Time Page Screen Thumbnail
Confirm Booking Page Screen Thumbnail
Upcoming Appointment Page Screen Thumbnail

Usability Testing

In order to determine the areas in which my design needs further iteration, I tested my prototype with users. This helped me discover areas in which my design needed some refinement, parts that worked well, and things that could be added or removed from the design. This process helped me to ensure that my product is user friendly, accessible, and a viable solution that meets the needs of the target audience. 

Below are the results and findings:

Priorities:

Add services offered to mentor profile

  • Users want to know what kinds of help a mentor can or is willing to offer. 

Make mentorship page location more clear. 

  • Potentially by adding a link or promoted post on the homepage.

  • This could help users get to know more about the mentorship program.

Remove flags and add location / languages spoken

  • This could help users better understand the potential mentors available, because they can more clearly select a mentor based on where they live and what languages they speak.

Conclusions:

  • Overall there were no glaring issues among users. They were able to easily complete each task. 

  • Users indicated positive feelings towards the feature and especially liked the purple mentor icon that each mentor had on their profile to indicate that they are a mentor.

  • Users also indicated that they like the information listed/shown for each mentor. Users felt that the information shown gave them a great understanding of who the mentor is, their career history, skills, and how it has been for others that have worked with them.

Final Prototype Features

Finally, I took the insights and takeaways gained from usability tests, and applied those as I iterated on the final prototype displayed below. 

Search Results Page Screen Thumbnail

Search for mentors based on job title, experience, skills, ratings, etc.

Mentor Profile Page Screen Thumbnail

View each mentor profiles to find best match.

Mentor Profile Page Screen Thumbnail

View each mentor's experience, skills, education, availability, languages spoken, and reviews.

Confirm Booking Page Screen Thumbnail

Request mentorship sessions with mentors.

Upcoming Mentor Session Page Screen Thumbnail

View upcoming and pending mentorship sessions

Menu Page Screen Thumbnail

Easily accessible through the menu on the homepage.

Mentor Card with Mentorship Icon

The mentor profile indicator icon helps users easily identify experts willing to help give career advice, feedback, and coaching.

Final Takeaways 

Adding a mentorship feature to LinkedIn was something that I personally felt strongly about. I knew from my own experience trying to switch careers it can be incredibly daunting and overwhelming to try to figure out what career next steps are best to take, how to build a portfolio, what information should be on a resume, etc. When trying to navigate a new career path, it helps to have a mentor that you can reach out to for guidance, support, and feedback. 
 

Throughout this process, I continually relied on the user interview and survey data that I had collected in order to develop the mentorship feature in a way that met the needs and goals of users. 


Developing this feature was a passion project; however, there were some challenges faced along the way. The biggest of those challenges was remembering that in creating the feature, it is important and essential to keep the brand’s existing UX and UI features, components, and architecture. Sometimes this meant changing the initial formatting of my design in order to fit the existing structure and design elements. Other times it meant making sacrifices.


Going forward, I feel that because I have a much deeper understanding of the UX design process, especially as it relates to adding a feature while keeping in line with existing UX design, I will be able to better prepare for and analyze the existing branding of a company while designing a feature to be added.  

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