There are regular events in everyone’s careers, like annual reviews or job interviews, that are challenging to prepare for. Career Minder Reviews seek to address this challenge. The project not only introduced a new feature, but it provided opportunities to make other parts of the product more valuable, like Sentiments and Goals.
Reviews provided an opportunity to revisit the Career Minder Dashboard. The Dashboard is already divided into two sections the Horizon at the top, focusing on what is coming up in your career, and the Path below, where you can see a timeline of your career up to this point. Originally the Upcoming Card was called the Activity Card and featured statistics regarding how much you had interacted with the system. The new Upcoming Card instead puts the next important events front-and-center, with their associated reviews to help you prepare.
The Review itself needed meet a few needs:
- The Review needs to feature the most relevant work experience for that review, including work from the time period and what was most relevant to the event. For example, what experience is most relevant to an Annual Review where you’ve made goals with your manager versus what experience is most relevant for a job interview where you’re trying to prove your value to people who don’t know you? This is a task especially suited to embeddings in Large Language Models (LLMs). This functionality became the Smart Sort.
- The Review needs to help the user understand how well their career is lining up with what they care about most. So associating the relevant work to the user’s career Goals and the Sentiments they’ve tracked help the user to know if they are actually doing what they want to do and get a larger perspective of how much they’ve actually enjoyed, or not enjoyed, their work over the period of the review.
- The Review needed to display all this info in an easily digestible way, allowing the user to dig as much as they want without overwhelming them.
The first effort at the Review experience was not as successful. It put too much in front of the user. Experience was next to sentiments, was next to brag sheets. Tying the smart sorting of experience in this way was also not clear. Overall, it was good to have a first idea laid out, but it was overall a failure of hierarchy and clarity. I quickly moved on to a better approach.
The new approach worked much better because it allows the user to focus on one thing at a time. In addition, it made use of the vertical tabs convention established on the Dashboard in the Profile Settings of Career Minder. Anytime you can reinforce an interaction pattern is beneficial to user comprehension.
On the Experience tab all the work experience can be sorted in a Smart Sort by entering a job description, review questions, performance goals, etc. which then reorders all the Reviews experience from most to least relevant. This allows the user to focus on the most important things in their preparation.
The Trends tab provides insight to the user regarding how they have tracked their Sentiments over the period of the Review. They can see their Sentiment rise and fall as well as an average for the time period. This helps the user to see at a glance how they have actually enjoyed their work overall and puts the highs and lows into perspective.
The user can also see how the work they’ve done relates to their career goals. This helps them see whether or not they are actually working on the things they have decided is most valuable.
The Trends tab was one of the most interesting parts of the project. For example, as valuable as Sentiments can be if the user is not tracking their sentiments regularly it won’t actually be very useful. So I realized that part of helping Trends be as useful as possible I needed to make it easier for users to track Experience, even for work long past. So I designed an update to how you track Sentiments on the Dashboard. There were 2 changes:
- I added a Sentiments Card to the Path section of the Dashboard, where the user can easily log a Sentiment with a single click.
- I added the ability for users to add Sentiments in bulk to jobs. They likely don’t remember in detail how they felt about work week by week in a given job. However, they can recollect how they felt overall. Maybe the loved it, hated it, or were indifferent. Perhaps their feelings about their job changed over time. So I designed a way for the user to pick a an overall Sentiment or trend line for each job, which adds a Sentiment to that job for each week the user worked there.
These are my favorite kinds of projects. A simple idea that solves a real user need. Along the way there are digressions and surprising opportunities to improve related things.
Once the design was done, I implemented the front-end and a couple back-end updates and shipped the feature. I can’t wait for people to try it. I’ll finish up with one of my favorite details in Reviews. It’s a simple illustration indicating events along a timeline from the Review creation flow. It’s always a delight to discover opportunities for little embellishments along the way.