Working as a user experience designer with Ashoka, I helped design a better way for people to get involved, engage, and be hired to work with the organization.
During the summer of 2015, I worked with Ashoka as a user experience design and research intern. We were joining the team at a pivitol moment in their organization, and their web presence was in desparate need of an update. Our task as interns was to help reimagine the Ashoka.org platform. My partner and I were specifically tasked with designing a better way for visitors to Ashoka's website to become engaged with the organization in a way that made the most sense for each of their many different users.
Before drilling down into our specific focus areas, my team did some general research on important considerations Ashoka would have to make with their redesign. Ashoka is a global organization with users visiting them from all over the world. Aspects like language flexibility and accessability, while important in all web design, were of even greater priority in our circumstances. Since Ashoka is a multi-faceted organization, they hired an outside design team to help with the process of reimagining the website, but all of their decisions needed to be informed by our team's research. Our first task was to research accessbility constraints and report our findings in a compelling way. Check out the full version of my infograph on accessibility here
Everyone a Changemaker is Ashoka's slogan. To explore a new visual design for Ashoka's web presence, we dissected this slogan to better understand its meaning and created mood boards that reflected our findings.
Next we got down to talking to different teams to identify shortcomings with the current website. After analyzing previous research and talking to many different teams, we identified the top pain points of the current site that would need to be addressed in a redesign. We identified that Ashoka.org in the past was treated as a "brochure" - a static site filled with information, rather than a tool for learning more and exploring Ashoka's network. Different teams had a lot of trouble accessing their sections of the site to edit or post information relevant to their audiences. Ashoka's mission was complex, and would be better understood through stories and examples rather than just endless text. These and many other painpoints we discovered needed to be explained to our internal team and outside design firm. In order to explain these insights in a compelling and interesting way, we created a research summery video. I was in charge of putting the video together and creating informative motion graphics (in less than a week!) You can check out the full video here.
In addition to identifying painpoints, the team had to explain our solution. In order to do so, we created a video prototype to walk our stakeholders through our thoughts. Addressing the painpoints, the new site would be personalized based on a user's geographical location and language. We also proposed to divide the site's contents based on issue area so that users could find content relevant to what they were interested in easily. The teams that worked in these issue areas most closely would be able to take charge in delivering this content to their audiences.
The next phase of our research was focused on exploring the hiring process at Ashoka, and how we could make the process more streamlined and stress free for everyone involved. We started by talking to all the teams involved in the "Search Process" for hiring talent, as well as some new employees who went through the current process themselves. From our research we found that Ashoka's process had become so complex that it included a lot of communication lapses and features that, although well intentioned, were either not being utilized or didn't belong. We had the Search team walk us through their process as we mapped it out and learned rather quickly what was working and what wasn't.
I addressed the problem in three parts - the first was a modular design for navigating to the different ways a user could "get involved" with Ashoka. Interviewees from the candidate side explained that finding out information about Ashoka's hiring process was daunting and unclear. Candidates would apply blindly without any idea what team they would be assigned to or what those teams did. We decided to provide an information structure that allowed for additional information to be accessible as the user navigated the site. From our research we reasoned that Ashoka's current model of a general application form for all candidates was not allowing the search team to efficiently match applicants with positions. Why not have a job board that would allow candidates to apply for specific positions and teams to have control over job descriptions for positions relevant to them? The job board would have to be unique to the typical model - while candidates would be applying to different teams, sorting job posting by team wouldn't make much sense to someone unfamiliar with Ashoka's structure. Instead, we decided to filter the postings by the applicant's interest areas. Check out the prototypes below.
My last project with the team was to create a service blueprint that mapped Ashoka's hiring process. The following blueprint is a hybrid of the current system and how it would integrate with a job board that gives individual teams more control in the hiring process.