What resource could Linkedin create to help high school and college students find their career paths?
LinkedIn has grown from a catalogue of resumes to a resource. However, the brand is struggling to engage younger high school & college students who are still in the career discovery phase.
High school students spend an average of only 38 minutes per year talking to a guidance counselor about college planning. "Guidance" counselors, with 400 student caseloads, are forced to become more like collaborative co-workers, giving students resources to discover their own paths. (Bill and Melinda Gates Study).
Duko is a digital guidance tool, by Linkedin, that translates a student's social media actions into potential career paths. This platform will begin Linkedin's initiative to reach students earlier in the career process.
THE PATH WE TOOK TO GET THERE
Quantitative Research (read studies identifying issues facing this audience and current work being done to help solve various problems) -> Interviewed Students and Guidance Counselors -> Brand Building Exercise To Cement Purpose and Design Goals -> Initial Prototyping with Experts -> Design Workshops with Students -> Refined the Prototype -> Presentation & Feedback -> Develop "Mentor" Connect Feature
FIRST, WE IDENTIFIED THAT REACHING A YOUNGER AUDIENCE WAS A KEY OPPORTUNITY FOR LINKEDIN
We have seen the Linkedin brand expand beyond being a house for resumes through actions like acquiring Lynda.com and their on-going attempt to further mentorship efforts. We imagine their expanded brand purpose is something like:
Equip a person to become the best professional they can be.
Professionals look to Linkedin for insight and opportunities. Yet, most people do not discover Linkedin until after they are in the midst of the job search. LinkedIn showed an awareness of this issue and an interest in attracting a younger audience when they lowered the required age to 14 in 2014, but Linkedin still has low engagement with this audience.
So we asked ourselves, how might we help students discover Linkedin earlier by providing opportunities and insights that are useful for them right now?
Reach a younger audience by designing a platform that helps meet their needs.
WE SPOKE WITH STUDENTS AND COUNSELORS TO IDENTIFY OUR GOALS FOR THE RESOURCE
We discovered a cultural conversation about "useless degrees." Our culture's obsession with aptitude has made choosing a major less about the career resulting from the degree and more about finding the perfect personal fit.
We identified three opportunities, from the conversation, as our "design goals" to guide us as we developed a platform to help students in their career discovery process.
Students look to parents and teachers to help them discover the "perfect major" without necessarily thinking about what they want for a long-term career.
DESIGN GOAL 1: Inspiration
Students want authentic voices to guide & inspire them.
"Guidance" Counselors do not have the time or resources to sit down with each student at each step of the process. Counselors are becoming more like collaborative co-workers who give students the resources to figure out their own paths.
DESIGN GOAL 2: Curated Options
Students want real choices that match their personal interests and goals.
Students mentioned that they felt they had to do the most of the research themselves. We wondered if students are apathetic or if they are just overwhelmed trying to find their next steps in a culture obsessed with perfect fit?
DESIGN GOAL 3: A Way To Get There
Students want an action plan that shows their progress.
WE BUILT A BRAND, NOT JUST A PRODUCT, TO HELP MEET THE STUDENTS' NEEDS THAT WE HAD IDENTIFIED
CRAFTING OUR PROTOTYPE
We used our three design goals (curated options, authentic inspiration and a way to get there) to map potential platform experiences. We crafted and re-crafted our menus and overall platform flow.
DEVELOPING DUKO'S BRAND
The root word of education is educare (latin), meaning "bring up," which is related to educere "bring out, bring forth what is within, to bring out potential." This led us to the name "DUKO."
DUKO'S PURPOSE: Help students find their path.
THE AESTHETIC: We designed the aesthetic with our audience in mind: inviting (almost Instagram-like), yet sleek enough to feel like Linkedin's sibling.
WE WORKSHOPPED OUR PROTOTYPE WITH STUDENTS, EXPERIENCE DESIGNERS & COUNSELORS
We initially took our prototype to two different professionals: a guidance counselor and an experience designer. We walked them through the prototype and they gave us great feedback that we implemented before our workshops.
We loved the ideas that came out of our design workshops with students. We picked three ideas to develop further.
WE USED OUR GOALS TO SHAPE THE THREE STEPS OF THE PLATFORM EXPERIENCE
THE PROTOTYPE STEP ONE: CURATED OPTIONS
Students will begin the DUKO experience by signing in with their social media handles because we wanted to provide our students with curated options without tacking on yet another aptitude quiz. A Crimson Hexagon-like software will calculate potential career opportunities based on the student's social actions: likes, tweets ect.
After a student links their social profiles, they will be given a few different paths they can explore. At any point they can always toggle back and select a different path. The idea for the final page: "Make sure it's right for you" came directly from a student in our design workshops. She pointed out that there are many other facets to a job besides the work: such as salary needs, work/life balance and the amount of team collaboration on projects.
THE PROTOTYPE STEP TWO: AUTHENTIC INSPIRATION
This second part of the App Experience It was created to help students go beyond their typical sphere of influence (teachers, parents, counselors) to learn about specific careers and industries through applicable social feeds, podcasts and articles.
PROTOTYPE STEP THREE: A WAY TO GET THERE
The third step in the DUKO experience is designed to help students navigate academic opportunities (university, community college, trade school), skill opportunities (Lynda tutorials) and industry opportunities that will help them reach their specific goals.
Finally, the students will have access to a "guide" or pseudo-Linkedin page that shows everything they have selected during their DUKO experience. This page can be emailed to a trusted advisor or can be used to request a mentor within this field.
WHAT WE ARE WORKING ON NOW: EXTENDING THE MENTOR FEATURE
The idea of requesting a mentor came directly from a design workshop with a student. She mentioned that she could not have imagined going through this process without her mentor. We are working to extend this idea to benefit both the mentor and mentee.
We are curious if being a mentor could somehow become another "skill" that Linkedin members would add to their profile, almost like the heart that appears on someone's license to denote they are an organ donor.