Sean's Legacy

Overview

Sean鈥檚 Legacy is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting and uplifting LGBTQIA+ youth with a focus on youth suicide prevention. With a mission to support LGBTQIA+ minority youth in their academic and extracurricular endeavors, the nonprofit is launching an online mentorship program to help them prepare for college and careers.聽

Partnering with TechFleet, an initial MVP of the platform was built in Phase 1, mostly focused on the mentee persona and user flow. During Phase 2, the team iterated on the MVP further, beginning work on the mentor persona and user flow.

Help mentees and mentors understand the purpose of the mentorship platform and its safety features. Provide guidance, personalization and inclusivity via content. As the content team was new in this phase of the project, copy was rather vague and content was not yet standardized. The product voice was not determined, making it difficult to bring personality or a sense of trust to the platform.

My contribution

Content Design UX Writing

The team

1 脳 content design lead 2 脳 content designers

Year

2023

Discovery

Enhancing copy and getting up to speed

During Phase 1 of the project, the research team supported the creation of content and made initial copy decisions based on the insights they gathered in their research. The overall team realized the importance and focus needed on content, especially for a platform designed for LGBTQ+ minority youth users.

We began our exploration with a brief content audit of the Phase 1 prototype (mentee onboarding user flow). The copy was edited mostly for clarity and grammar consistency while we simultaneously started drafting the content style guide for the mentorship platform. This exercise also uncovered some gaps and confusion in the mentee onboarding user flow. We worked with the design team assigned to the mentee experience to implement an updated user flow that had a better flow logic from a content perspective. This user flow was iterated upon throughout the project, though the order generally stayed the same.

Checking out how others approach content

A content style guide was a high priority for the client and crucial in establishing platform consistency. In addition to looking at the mentorship platform competitive analysis and other research that was completed in Phase 1, we wanted to see how other brands approached this living, breathing deliverable (aka the bible for the platform鈥檚 content). As we checked out product style guides, we paid attention to their format and included sections to determine what we wanted to include in ours. A content style guide can be detailed or general, but a balance is key for good content practice. We aimed to learn from brands with established content design practices, even if they're big companies with large-scale digital products. There's still plenty to learn from them.

Takeaways

  • Essential elements: Brand voice, tone, proper grammar, and best practice examples
  • Grammar and principles sections offer opportunities to infuse brand personality and creativity, such as including emojis (e.g., Mailchimp).
  • Format: Structured for easy navigation, utilizing dropdowns, separate tabs, and other formats for better readability.
  • Be human: Guides prioritize human-centered, clear, concise, usable, and accessible content, forming the basis of quality content creation.
No items found.

Define

Establishing a voice for the mentorship platform

Sean鈥檚 Legacy already has a content framework reflecting its mission and goals. We needed to develop a tailored approach for the mentorship platform, ensuring alignment with the established brand. Before creating the content style guide, we first established voice and tone.

Looking at the Phase 1 UX Research Report, we pulled out themes and terms that had appeared often. We also referenced a list of adjectives provided by the client describing Sean鈥檚 Legacy as well as their guiding principles to see additional recurring patterns and words throughout. An affinity map was created to distill our overall direction for the voice and tone. The client approved of our initial direction we were headed, which was our guidepost as we iterated and fleshed out the content style guide.

Creating consistency and standardization

With some takeaways on best in class style guides and our own voice and tone direction in place, we began the content style guide creation. As a living, breathing document, this was iterated upon as we came across applicable scenarios while drafting microcopy.

We made some initial decisions on direction, including the usage of casual, informal language due to the age range of users and optimal readability. If the mentorship platform was like a person, we envisioned it as 鈥渢he cool guidance counselor or teacher we all want to have.鈥

鈥淭hey're warm, friendly, reliable, and make mentees feel at ease. They're professional and knowledgeable, inspiring trust and confidence. They're clear communicators, offering guidance with a sense of empowerment. They promote diversity and a sense of belonging with their inclusive and respectful behavior, and they prioritize safety.鈥

Grammar and mechanics

Within the grammar and mechanics section, we kept in mind the casual, informal language while also taking into consideration simplicity, so rules could be easily understood and applied for consistency.聽

Setting us up for success, some initial guidelines were determined:

  • Using U.S. standards for spellings, date format, etc.
  • All copy should read at a 6th grade level or lower

Tone in use

To provide references to see the tone in use, it was important to us to provide examples, mapping the user's emotions throughout the user journey.

Word List/Taxonomies

We compiled a list of words and categories to ensure inclusivity and accessibility across the platform, creating consistency for both mentors and mentees. We also focused on crafting effective CTAs, considering their impact on gender, identity, race, ethnicity, and orientation.

For example, we decided to use Continue over Next as it feels gentler and conveys we haven't abandoned the user. We chose Sign up over Create account to both simplify the copy and play to user's mental models of what they might expect. These seemingly small changes helped to create more cohesive designs as these subtle differences play into properly conveying our tone.

Developing a blueprint and logical flow

In this phase, we focused on expanding the platform's information architecture for both mentors and mentees. Initially, the mentee onboarding flow was straightforward, so a sitemap wasn鈥檛 needed. However, as we integrated the mentor side, documenting became necessary with the growing complexity. We collaborated with design teams to outline this. Although we initially worked on a sitemap for mentors, the team decided to prioritize user flows. Despite that, this exploration was a great exercise and laid a foundation for future content-focused phases.

Ideate

Proposing new microcopy

After auditing Phase 1 content and refining the user flow, we suggested edits to enhance clarity, trust, and user control, incorporating feedback from Phase 1. We expanded this flow during this phase, introducing new microcopy. Additionally, a last-minute addition of an authentication page was necessary for user security and privacy. In this phase, a new design team started exploring the mentor platform experience (Phase 1 was focused on the mentee experience). While there were some differences in the onboarding flows, we duplicated some microcopy to maintain consistency.

Mentee Landing Page

Based on our review of the Phase 1 UXR report and gathering additional feedback from design leads who were present in Phase 1, we devised insights for initial revisions to existing prototype screens.

  • Users expressed confusion around location 鈥 added copy to state up front the mentoring platform is online/virtual
  • Users expressed confusion in cost 鈥 added a section/copy to state clearly that the program is free

About Page

  • Improving readability and scanning by sharpening copy and creating headers and subheaders
  • Users expressed confusion around jargon, namely 鈥渨hisper technology鈥 鈥 reworked the title (鈥淐ustomizable privacy settings鈥) and copy (before: 鈥淧rivacy is a priority, and messages as well as other users can be hidden in DM鈥檚鈥, after 鈥淢essages and other users can be hidden in our messaging feature.鈥)

Mentor Landing Page

With the mentor user experience being new this phase, we collaborated closely with the UX Research team gathering insights on the mentor perspective to further inform the must-have content and copy. Overall, the copy was rewritten to match the content voice and tone we established using a list of words compiled from our insights.

  • FAQ section 鈥 we prioritized what questions to include. Initially, 鈥淗ow do we support mentors?" became its own section to expand upon this and rework the security and privacy section.
  • Our team felt the question around ending a mentoring relationship may not be the best for the landing page due to user feedback expressing hesitancy, but could exist on the mentor dashboard.聽
  • 鈥淗ow we support mentors鈥 section 鈥 this was an additional section added to provide adequate information for potential mentors and address any initial concerns they might have. This section initially included content surrounding security and privacy, but felt it served better to address the hesitancy prospective mentors might face.

Sign-up, Sign in Modals & Onboarding

The mentee onboarding user flow order was reworked to be more logical based on the Phase 1 prototype. On the flip side, the mentor experience was generally the same, aside from the additional onboarding steps (i.e. background check). Here again, the copy was edited to increase clarity further and build trust with users with emphasis on security at this stage.

Mentor Onboarding Checklist & Background Check Info Page

Unique to the mentor onboarding were some additional steps to take before being approved as a mentor, including a third-party background check. An additional page outlining the background check can be accessed from this checklist to begin the process and learn more. Copy was drafted to educate prospective mentors on the purpose, process, what will be checked and requirements for the background check.

  • A simple checklist showing current status and items to do was created with detailed microcopy for each checklist item. The content outlined the process in an understandable and digestible format.
  • A simple outline of the approval process was also added to demystify any confusion for prospective mentors as they begin the process.
  • Emphasized payment needed out of pocket for the background check and specific copy below the CTA to inform users that it'll be conducted by a third party provider, which will link them off the website.

User Dashboard & Profile Editor

Another part of the experience that differed slightly was the user dashboards for mentors and mentees with some similarities and alignment in the profile editor pages.

We used user research insights to derive what content should exist in the profile. Mentors wanted to know:

  • What experiences shaped mentees
  • What mentees are looking for in mentorship
  • What shared interests they might have

Dashboard Microcopy

  • Simple yet persuasive microcopy encouraging mentees to fill out their profile and take the match questionnaire
  • Aligned copy to mentee user dashboard for profile editing CTA聽
  • Helpful tooltips to explain various sections of the dashboards

Mentee Profile and Editor Microcopy

  • Crafted guided prompts for the 鈥淎bout me鈥 section to help inspire mentees to complete each section and offer insight for mentors to feel better equipped in supporting mentees
  • Buttons and CTA links were standardized based on content style guide
  • Personalized the experience using the first person when editing sections of the profile, providing short prompts to encourage mentees and mentors to fill out sections while including optional fields
  • Chosen name instead of preferred name, name 鈥 initial usability testing on prototype saw positive feedback
  • Helpful tooltips to explain various sections of the profile editor

Mentee Match Questionnaire

Partnering closely with the UX Design Team 1, we drafted the questions as well as brainstormed on various formats and layouts (fill in the blank a la Typeform vs. standard Q&A). Ultimately, the questionnaire will be used to match mentees and mentors.

Search/Filter Mentors Page

For users wanting to manually search for mentors, a search feature was made available. We partnered with both design teams and the research team to understand necessary filter categories and keywords. Curated search results would also be available for those who have completed the match questionnaire.

  • To better understand what content should be covered in the questions and how the search and filter feature would function, we consulted with the Development team on the feasibility of fuzzy search for the keywords that would be used to filter, sort and match mentees with mentors. With such vast potential of keywords used, this was ideal for the feature to function in the simplest way.
  • We changed the name from Match Quiz to Match Questionnaire 鈥 Phase I user feedback expressed the feeling of it being a test, so we opted for something more benign.

Testing

Making the mentor experience better

In Phase 2, while Phase 1 primarily addressed the mentee perspective, the research team shifted focus to the mentor perspective. Before diving in, though, we addressed user feedback from Phase 1. The research team conducted both moderated and unmoderated usability testing for the mid-fidelity mentor onboarding flow, focusing on platform purpose, information architecture, and user expectations. Insights from this testing guided our finalization of copy and content for the high-fidelity prototypes in this phase.

No items found.

Outcome

So, what鈥檚 next?

Due to time and feasibility constraints, we deprioritized certain areas and items this phase. However, we prepared a handoff document for future phases, outlining completed tasks and recommendations. Here are some key highlights for consideration in the future:

  • Content audit of mentee and mentor designs: Since the mentor experience was introduced in this phase and two design teams worked on each separately, Phase 3 should conduct an audit to address any content discrepancies and ensure consistency using the content style guide.
  • Error states and edge cases: we barely scratched the surface in this area and focused our efforts on the microcopy for both mentor and mentee designs. Edge cases also came up as the project went on (ex: mentees having multiple mentors or mentors having their own mentors).
  • Follow up on larger discussions around contentious features: there were certain features our team felt needed a larger discussion with other teams and further research like the inclusion of race filters in the mentor search.

What did I learn?

  1. Asynchronous collaboration 鈥 My team was spread out across different time zones (one of them in Singapore!). Establishing communication and ways of working processes early on increased efficiency and overall ease in collaborating.
  2. Agile processes 鈥 Working in agile sprints allowed us to accomplish a lot in two months time, working cross collaboratively in a simultaneous manner. Breaking up tickets and items on the product roadmap into smaller tasks allowed for efficiency in the work. It was also helpful to participate in retrospective meetings at the end of each sprint to identify what worked, what didn鈥檛, things to try and action items based on those.
  3. Being comfortable with uncertainty 鈥 With the content team being new in Phase II and it being a newer discipline within UX design in general, we had to figure out how to best collaborate with other teams and essentially start many deliverables from scratch (i.e. content style guide). We had to establish our own processes, which was tough at times but a great exercise in decision-making and figuring out what worked best for the team to produce the best work. I learned to be comfortable with uncertainty and felt confident about setting up our own processes going forward.