FutureFit AI is the ‘GPS’ for Work & Education Pathways – FutureFit AI use AI to help people make faster, smarter, and more successful career transitions from high school to retirement.
About the project
I was the product designer and for the project, I was responsible for User research, Concept design, wireframing, UX design, UI design, Usability Testing, and Front-end Development. I also collaborated with the product management and business intelligence team and was involved in planning, strategy, and product Road map.
FutureFit Ai is a product of Audacious Futures, FutureFit AI mainly focuses on providing the ‘GPS’ for Work & Education Pathways. FutureFit AI widely uses a workforce development strategy to support workers’ transitions from education into and through the workforce.
This strategy has been adopted at the federal, state, and local levels to increase education, training, and learning opportunities for America’s current and emerging workforce. In a world increasingly defined by digital technologies and automation, our old models and tools are ill-suited to the changing landscape of work and learning.
FutureFit AI puts AI-powered tools in the hands of people, organizations, and societies to become and stay FutureFit. FutureFit AI has an integrated collection of programs and services intended to develop students’ core academic, technical, and employability skills; provide them with continuous education, training; and place them in high-demand, high-opportunity jobs.
FutureFit Ai had a ton of features spread across mobile application and as well as web, one piece of it was the end-user mobile application which was used by different users for choosing a right career pathway, The other was an enterprise version which is used by companies to help their employees grow.
We wanted to focus on the Upskilling of the workforce using our AI-based algorithm for faster, smarter, and more successful career transitions from high school to retirement, but designing an enterprise Application with AI comes with its challenges. As humans, we often have unrealistic expectations from artificial intelligence, while in reality, it’s still in its nascent stage of development. AI use in applications is great, but we have to tell it exactly what to do and to develop it using feedback.
Once we tune it to its performance, only then can it become effective. One of the major problems that we wanted to address was how to make the experience and Artificial Intelligence of this data-heavy system go in sync. There was a lot of data collected from various resources that was distributed into many clusters like skills, jobs, Demand of jobs in various locations, and as well as the profiles of the Employers. So dealing with this huge data and coming up with an experience that can complement this design was a challenge on its own.
A well-designed app solves the real problems of real users with the help of user research. It understands user behavior, user requirements and preferences, and pain points that existing software has not been able to address.
empathise / understand
“User-centered design means to understand what your users need, how they think and how they behave- and incorporating that into every aspect of the design process”
We wanted to build a solution that would be beneficial for the users, employees, and as well as organizations. The task was simple. We wanted to focus on building a simple solution to their complex career pathways. We started at the ground level, i,e we started our research and made a note of all the insights that would help us to understand the user’s needs. We conducted a series of 1:1 interviews and started building our empathy maps, but another major aspect to which we wanted to align ourselves with business goal. to ensure we are on the right path we started interacting with our stakeholders and business leaders, we also reached out to the specific subject matter experts to ensure we our requirements are correct. Once we got an idea on the requirements we wanted to build the next big piece was creating a product strategy and planning our product and after multiple meetings we came to a conclusion that we would a robust platform that the users can leverage to make transitions in their career and we wanted to build a platform that can be white labelled to different companies who can use the platform for their employees internally inside the organization.
“the only sustainable competitive advantage is the organization’s ability to learn faster than its competition”
After phase 1 the next important step of our design process was analyzing our product requirements and looking out for competitors in the upskilling market space, We thoroughly analyzed our requirements and started prioritizing the requirements, After careful analysis, we created a clear project road map with the list of features we wanted to build. We decided to build a mobile application for the users and employees and a fully functional dashboard for the enterprise folks who want to buy the solution from us. We started researching we couldn’t find any direct competitors but there were multiple indirect competitors like guider, Udemy, degreed, Coorpacademy, etc. they all provided access to the users to upskill their skills but none of them provided options to make career transitions, We started using advanced AI techniques to understand the current career stage of the user and provide him with various pathways to make a smooth career transition. Our data science team started collecting data from various sources and started building algorithms.
“designs never begins with some preconceived idea, rather the idea is a result of careful study and observation”
We started our design process by putting all our ideas together, We conducted a lot of whiteboarding sessions where we involved multiple teams and made a collaborative effort in putting our ideas on how we wanted to build the product. Then We started storyboarding the ideas and reviewed them carefully. The storyboarding made it easy to decide on the various user scenarios. Once we had clear user scenarios for both enterprise and end-user applications we started organizing the user journey flow. After we gained control of the user journey flow, we proceeded further to create the information architecture. We involved the members from business, engineering, and product while we started working on the information architecture. This phase helped us in prioritizing the content and helped in creating the hierarchy for various features we wanted to build. Once we had the information architecture and the list of screens in place we started to sketch out our ideas.
Design / prototype
“Good design is good business…”
Sketching with the traditional pen and paper was the most convenient and fast way to produce ideas. We started with a basic pen because we wanted to come up with the most cost-effective idea and a method in which all our teammates could contribute their ideas. It also helped us in communicating effectively. Once we made the paper prototypes we used Adobe XD and to convert the low fidelity wireframes into proper high fidelity designs and started creating the clickable prototype of these screens. The clickable prototype of the wireframe gave us a clear idea of how the final application would look like. We started sharing the clickable prototype across the team, this is where we started identifying what could be the major challenges that we might run into and how to implement the overall design. We also shared the prototype with the stakeholders to make sure along with the goals of the user our platform also solved the business goals as well.
“styles come and go but good design is a language, not a style.”
After the collaborative team effort on finalizing the high fidelity wireframe, we proceeded to build out Visual design, as the first step in the UI design we wanted to make our platform in the standards of material design, though initially, we wanted to come up with our own standards but for the initial release and considering the engineering effort which goes in building the platform we started following material design standards. Initially, we built our design system where we defined our colors and the fonts since the platform was a solution that can be white-labeled. We ensured that there was minimal usage of colors and provided room for customization for the clients. After the design system, we started building our final mockup screens for both mobile and web. We ensure the overall system is consistent on both mobile and as well as desktop. The mobile application was specifically for the users and the desktop version was built for the organizations and our enterprise customers.
Test and learn
“designs are the silent ambassadors of the brand”
After the UI reviewing of the design played a vital role in enhancing the overall platform. Along with a rich look and feel, we also made sure that the application is usable and passed all the usability tests. The stakeholder reviews and the subject matter expert reviews helped us in refining the ideas. Once we froze the final mockups we started documenting the specifications for developing the product. we ensured that the spacing, margins, and paddings were clear to the development team. We used the traditional way of generating assets and since the platform was going to be white-labeled we ensured that the design document was crystal clear. After building the initial product we used google analytics and our internal analytical tools to study the heatmaps and the user journey this helped us identify the problems faced by the users. Along with it we also conducted a series of user testing internally and by eyeball tracking method we could identify the screens where the users faced problems and fixed them immediately in our next release.
We understood that recognizing that creating the best enterprise application with the strongest UX we are capable of is an ongoing effort. Right from the start, We told ourselves (and our team) that you won’t get it right the first time. We encouraged collaboration and transparent communication in our team to ensure nobody felt too intimidated or shy about raising issues before a user does—this saved everyone time and reduced frustration.
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