A tool for high school students and administrators to find internships that align with students' career interests.
Mobile + Web
0-1 Design
4 months, Fall 2021
UI/UX Design Lead
Xinzhu Wang, Research Lead
Joanne Chui, UX Researcher
Kelly Yang, UX Designer

Our client, City of Bridges (CoB) High School, has an internship program designed to provide students with real-world experience for career exploration. As a team with interdisciplinary backgrounds in education, design and business, we were challenged to identify opportunities and envision a technology intervention to support their internship experience.
How might we support high school internship experiences to empower individualized career exploration?
To support their internship selection process, I led the team to conceptualize a tool, InternMatch, that scaffolds students to make informed choices through self-exploration and internship recommendation. Additionally, InternMatch makes it easier for school administrators to collect students' needs, which helps align expectations between students, organizations, and the school. Our solution was well-received among students and faculty, and we were invited to present for MTC (Mastery Transcript Consortium).  🎉
0-1 Design: Frame the opportunity before defining the solution
The internship program is a central component of CoB which aims to provide students with the opportunity to explore future career paths through real-world experience.
Internship experiences are important for high school students to:
  • Learn about themselves
  • Discover job opportunities
  • Establish networking connections
  • Apply classroom learning in professional environments

Interview 4 stakeholders to get the big picture
To gain a holistic understanding of the internship program and identify potential opportunities, we conducted 4 interviews and 1 contextual inquiry across 4 main stakeholders - students, the school principal, internship mentors, and school advisors.
Contextual Inquiry: Interview the student at the fire department where he was interning

3 key stakeholders - students, the school principal, and internship mentors
Through our research, we pinpointed 3 potential users and understood their goals and needs:

Identify pain points throughout the internship program

Translate pain points to 3 ideation directions:

Test 10 storyboard concepts with 20+ students, advisors, and the principal
We generated 10 storyboards and went through five 10-minute speed dating sessions with 20+ students, the school principal, and the school advisor at City of Bridges High School. By asking for their preferences and priorities on these concepts, we were able to tap into their primary needs and values.

Both the principal and students indicated that the 2 concepts related to internship selection would be most helpful to them.

To maximize the benefits to both students and administrators, we narrowed down the design direction to internship selection, and reframed our functional goals on the following areas where we can add the most value:

To keep students engaged, easy to start, low cognitive load, and fun are highly appreciated.

To meet these goals, the defining characteristics of our platform (student side) are: (1) mobile app, (2) simple, easy to use, (3) engaging for students, with a friendly & playful tone.
Clarify the core features and user actions in the system by service blueprinting
Following our targeted direction, we consolidated the functions into a journey through service blueprinting to specify the experiences and touch points for 2 types of users, students and school administrators, throughout the system and how the system reacts to user input. We then defined the core features as an MVP for prototyping and validation.
Click to enlarge 👆

To ensure the feasibility & validity, we grounded our design on Holland's theory of career choice.
We developed the quizzes and recommendation logic based on the Holland Code Quiz and the O*Net Interest Profiler. Below shows how a student will be matched with a list of internship opportunities based on their interests, skills, and personalities:

To demonstrate our concept in terms of its role as well as look and feel, we developed 3 prototypes of different fidelity and explored key design decisions:

How might we guide students onboard?
Onboarding is necessary because students need guidance to start the first quiz and move on to the next step. Below shows how we iteratively refined the onboarding flow.

How might we make the quiz engaging while making students to think deeply about themselves?
We explored different interaction designs for the quiz questions:

How might we organize internship details in a way that is informative but not overwhelming?
High school students have limited attention span and cognitive ability. On the other hand, it's important to provide them with enough information so that they can make informed decisions. Here are some strategies I used to help them absorb information better.

A multi-sided tool to support students and administrators in selecting internships to empower students' career exploration

Light up the self-discovery journey with vibrant visuals

Students, the principal, and advisers love it and want to adopt it immediately 🎉🎉🎉
We arranged a virtual demo session with 20+ CoB students, the school principal, and 3 teachers to show them our concept video and let them play with our hi-fi prototype. Here are some of the comments we received:

  • Identify authentic challenges and scope the problem space properly
  • Balance and maximize the benefits of multiple stakeholders
  • Elaborate the front-end & back-end flows for multiple types of users
  • Convey the tone of the product through visual styling and user experience language
  • Design attractive, engaging, and approachable user experiences for Gen Z

Future Work
  • Elaborate the recommendation mechanism by incorporating theoretical supports
  • Specify the mechanism for data input, management, and maintenance
  • Expand users to internship organizations - create a scalable and sustainable ecosystem for broader audiences
  • Consider more personas as the audience expands