I designed a dashboard experience for mentors that established a data driven mentorship culture at Pathrise.
Pathrise is a paid mentorship program helping people land their dream job in tech. By mid-2020, the program had grown substantially, with multiple mentors reporting the stress of not being able to keep track of fellows in our free trial and paid program effectively.
Over the next few months, we set out to better understand the problem, and iterated over the build of a mentor dashboard which was unanimously loved by our mentors.
User Research, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Visual Design, Design System
1 Product Manger, 2 Developers, and 1 Designer (myself)
Figma, Coda, Zoom
Nov 2020 - Jan 2021
When Pathrise started it was just a few fellows, but by 2020 there were 700+ active fellows and counting. This meant each mentor had to guide 40+ fellows each week.
Hence we decided to focus our efforts on creating a back-end fellow management dashboard, something we had never done before. This would allow mentors to monitor and manage their fellows in real time each week, freeing them of the stress of having to mentally keep a track of fellows.
Each mentor has to help in a week making it difficult for them keep track of fellow progress
Were experiencing this problem with many reporting their stress. Our mentors were to grow by 2X
While we completed a prior project, our developers had hacked together a temporary solution. So we kick-started our research by conducting contextual inquiries to see how it was used. We learned that mentors didn’t think of it as a solution as the data needed was either overwhelming, missing, or incomprehensible. Below is a synthesis of our insights.
Import Information was Missing
For trial fellows, mentors wanted to know if they had signed documents and completed trial sessions, whereas for fellows beyond the trial it was important to know their health, total interviews, and jobs applied to. This was missing! Instead 50% of the screen was information on fellows mentors were not even mentoring!
Lack of Alerts Delays Mentors in Resolving Concerns
Multiple mentors shared that they didn’t know if a fellow had signed important documents or had important interviews coming up until they spoke to them. This in turn delayed the time it took for such concerns to be resolved.
Easy to Lose Track of Fellows Placed and on Break
Mentors lacked a sense of achievement as they could never see where they placed fellows and reflect where they could do better.
No Search, Filtering, and Bulk Messaging was frustrating
Each mentor had to monitor & help many fellows. To discover fellows, the mentor had to always scroll long lists and could only send messages individually.
We continued by conducting remote participatory design workshops with mentors to define what information was needed for each phase of a fellow’s cycle in our program and how it would be interpreted.
💡 A key insight we gained was that instead of seeing a fellow’s total interviews, mentors were keen to see a fellow’s total unique opportunities with at least 1 interview. This would mean that even if a fellow had 3 interview rounds tracked for a single job opportunity, it would count as 1 QAP (Qualified Application Processes).
As this was our first dashboard, it was critical to learn best practices for dashboards & tables. I reviewed many case studies and expert articles about card designs, condensing columns, accessible color choices, appropriate cell sizes, and more. This ensured I leveraged existing patterns to make an intutive interface.
Refactoring UI taught me to make status pills visually accessible to all readers while still using reds & greens.
Molly Helmuth showed how to maintain context with a fixed column while still allowing a user to see many columns.
Muzli helped me discover & validate card patterns with mentors. They aligned most with the above card pattern as it gave most context.
Since we were building this from scratch, it was important to collect early feedback on our designs. This helped us make two key changes:
Our initial designs had the trial and active tables on the same page.
This made it difficult for mentors to differentiate the two. We refined this by introducing tabs to toggle between different tables.
Mentors reported difficulty differentiating number columns as they saw a sea of them.
To improve scannability we added icons next to each number to signify what they represented
Before this project, Pathrise already had existing interaction and visual design guidelines. However this project had many new parts and would be scaled in the future. Hence I added new components to our design system which I would then consistently use in the final build of the dashboard.
My goal was to design an experience would make mentors always feel that they are in the know about their fellows. Below is a look at the final build.
Now mentors could easily monitor their fellows via 6 tables representing different phases of the program - trial, active, on break, MIA, placed, and withdrawn.
To ensure mentors didn't have to do the cumbersome task of sending updates individually to each fellow we introduced bulk note creation. Now they can send important updates to all concerned with just a few clicks.
Numbers don't always indicate a fellow's job search health. With health triage drop downs mentors can now make a qualitative status update for everyone's reference.
When a fellow hasn't signed document or is over-scheduling meetings, a mentor now gets alerted on the dashboard itself versus in their next meeting with the fellow.
Note: The alert library is something we are rapidly iterating on.
Since its launch in February 2021, the dashboard has been actively used by Pathrise mentors with many sharing how viewing the data transformed the way they deliver mentorship. Below are a few snippets of the love they sent across to our team.
"The mentor dashboard has been key to effective and efficient fellow management in my book. I now have a source of truth I discern important information from efficiently. Scannable, concise data is everything when moving quickly in a start-up."
"I would not be able to do my job as a Career Mentor as efficiently and effectively without the mentor dashboard. It's given me quick access to information allowing me to save time and stay both engaged and on top of my fellow case load."
"As a manager of career mentors, the dashboard has allowed me to keep track of fellows that should be withdrawn, placed, etc. to ensure capacity is accurate for admissions in enrolling new fellows. This is very helpful for me as a mentor manager who is overseeing capacity bottlenecks!"