THE MENTORING PLACE

UX/UI Desktop Website

August 2020

BACKGROUND

The Mentoring Place is an online service designed to help women achieve their career goals through free, one-on-one executive mentoring from industry executives, board members and entrepreneurs.  The Mentoring Place is a “give back” initiative built upon the generosity of over 100 executive volunteers who serve almost 3000 women (and growing).

CHALLENGE

As women look to advance in careers to achieve their personal and professional aspirations, they are looking to overcome common challenges like understanding the “unwritten rules” of the game, increasing leadership impact, and asking for a promotion.  Women also balance many demands on their time and energy, so are seeking career guidance that is “Real World, No BS” from experienced executives that have been there and succeeded.

SOLUTION

Design an updated website for The Mentoring Place to effectively communicate and market new program offerings for their growing membership, while creating an online presence to promote and engage during the COVID pandemic. The site should be engaging and differentiated by targeting career women and by featuring the founder and executive mentors who have proven success from Fortune 100 companies.

The Mentoring Place mandated a business model change, including updated marketing positioning, program and services offerings, messaging/copy, which required a complete reboot and transformation of the website design approach. See the details below.

NOTE: COVID-19 IMPACT

RESEARCH 

Career service offerings focused on the professional advancement of women are in high demand, growing rapidly and fragmented, based on varied business models. The Mentoring Place landscape assessment consisted of domain research, competitive analysis and user testing which exposed opportunities to differentiation in brand and program offering. 

 

Competitive Assessment included a review and analysis of direct and indirect competitors’ brand personality, logo, color palette, overall feel and program offering.

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DIRECT COMPETITORS

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS INSIGHTS

Create vibrant, credible, and balanced visual content with intuitive navigation system to improve user-flow and consistency throughout the website:

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CONSISTENCY

Maintain a thematic consistency within the site with regard to aesthetics and design

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CONCISE

Keeping information concise and comprehensive to prevent overwhelming confusion for the user.

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INTUITIVE

Create an easily navigable and accessible site for precise call to action buttons and important information.

DESIGN PROCESS: FIRST ITERATION

The design process for The Mentoring Place was based on landscape assessments, competitive research, internal member surveys, and proprietary market research. More importantly, the CEO/Founder, Denice Torres, and Co-Founder, Sandy Babey, guided their new business strategy from for-profit to non-profit status with changes in the services offering.   Additionally, as with almost every business worldwide, COVID-19 disrupted initial plans and required dramatic changes to The Mentoring Place’s business strategy.  The business model change included an updated marketing positioning, program and services offering, messaging/copy, which required a complete reboot and transformation of the website design approach.

ENHANCE EXISTING CONTENT

  • Imagery

  • Navigation

  • Buttons & Layers

  • Typography

  • Layout: Spacing & Margins

  • Color Scheme

  • Iconography

NEW CONTENT TO BE CREATED

  • Mentee of Month

  • Mentor Profiles

  • Professional Services

  • Podcast Page

  • Footer Segment

  • Navigation

USER TESTING 

Two rounds of user testing for The Mentoring Place design and services functions were conducted. Based on existing and growing membership, the target profile for The Mentoring Place user design testing consisted of women, mid-career, ages 35-50, with diverse functional expertise and demographics, and working in a corporate environment. The prototype design was presented to the participants, where their interaction, observations and desires were documented through a carefully created detailed questionnaire. The users were instructed to think out loud and share thoughts throughout the test to maintain clear direction.

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FINDINGS

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VISUAL CONTENT

  • Website was clean, well-structured

  • Stock Images were preferred over illustration

  • Color scheme: vibrant, playful, professional

  • Profile cards: very effective, well laid out

  • Required more whitespace for legibility

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MESSAGING

  • Clarify Homepage marketing message

  • Provide shortcuts to services

  • Improve program descriptions and “how to” secure services

  • Improve banners as prime real-estate for all messaging

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SERVICES

  • Profile cards with actual executives conveyed trust, expertise, and credibility

  • Upcoming programs and services were not clearly displayed

  • More background information needed for the Professional Services providers

  • Create “easy-to-use” forms for auto application process, and include FAQs

MARKETING MESSAGING

The STORY BRAND Framework was used to develop and implement a new marketing copy to clarify the message and attract users through a compelling storytelling approach.

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IMAGERY

Vibrant and bold imagery was used as a stark contrast to the generally clean and white layout of the site to reflect the “Real-World, No BS” brand.  Compelling stock images of career women were carefully selected to convey diversity and professionalism; without any sexual connotations (which was more difficult than anticipated).

SERVICES

COVID forced significant changes to the services offered, transitioning from the live, in-person programs and gatherings to online and virtual engagements. New pages were created to feature the keystone 1:1 Executive Mentoring and novel third-party Professional Services.

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PROFILE CARDS

A principal competitive advantage of The Mentoring Place is a deep expertise and proven success of the founders, executive mentors, and service providers.  Fact-based, attractive Profile Cards were designed to feature their extensive professional background from Fortune 100 companies, and to demonstrate trust, credibility, and inspiration.

NAVIGATION & FORMS

The site Navigation was restructured to provide an intuitive system and organize pages while applying the new marketing framework. Drop downs and page navigations were arranged for clarity and ease of use.  Additionally, member applications and information forms were created and integrated into the site to capture information efficiently and automatically for communication and social media.

WEB DEVELOPMENT & PLATFORM SELECTION

Given the transformation in The Mentoring Place’s business model offering and STORY BRAND Framework, a new site was developed using the WIX platform.   Additionally, new content was built and implemented in Ascend by WIX, an all-in-one business solution that allows for seamless interaction with customers, to create useful automations, and to enhance marketing capabilities to grow business.

CONCLUSION & GRATITUDE

Working on The Mentoring Place project was a tremendous learning experience with many challenges, successes and adjustments throughout the process.  What was supposed to be a site update became a complete business model overhaul and design transformation.  While I enhanced my design skills and expertise, the most critical learning came from working alongside and frequent engagement with the Founders who have achieved undeniable success. Denice Torres’ mentorship and investment in me; through day-to-day commitments, STORY BRAND training, and IDEO Insight certification, was an invaluable experience. I am very grateful!