Essay Mentors Online

Essay Mentors Online is a web portal for high school level essay writing, serving the Issaquah Schools Foundation. This portal functions as a mentor-to-mentee source for high schools students to get quality feedback on their essay writing skills for moving into college careers.

Team

1 program

manager

1 designer

Role 

Designer

Year 

2015

Design question

"How might we help students get a headstart on the college essay writing process by getting them connected to counselors?"

Research

I was hired as a freelance UX designer near the tail-end of the research phase. This resulted in me picking up in the middle of the project and analyzing previous research methods & data already accumulated for the online portal. I was given a mental model, concept map, video script, business goals & more. I formulated user scenarios based on the data to give me a better understanding of how our users might use Essay Mentors Online. I then took a hard look at what the previous designer had done, and took the core ideas that I thought best fit my own scenarios.

I started sketching ideas for how the user will enter the portal, and navigate to the dashboard based on previous actions under the account. I sketched out 9 different screens and began to prototype them making layout design changes along the way. I wanted to make sure that I was still on track with what my client was asking for, while still incorporating new and innovative solutions of my own. Ultimately, my Axure prototype changed roughly 4-5 times through rough ideation and critique from my client.

Ideate / prototype

"The essay writing process should be exciting and engaging for high school seniors; Essay Mentors aims to change the stigma centered around college application essays and make the process enjoyable!"

Evaluate

The design process was done with a very lean UX approach, therefore the evaluation process was one of the most important. I reviewed my designs with my client and went through very precise details to make sure that nothing was out of place. We ended up collaborating on the changes and aimed to have a workable prototype in time for the crowd-funding campaign. Ultimately, we ended up with a prototype that is workable and has potential for future additions and development.

Results

Essay Mentors Online has had extremely good results from the crowd funding campaign; over $11,000 was raised within the first three months and the beta version of the online portal launched fall 2015.