The B2B Project for Your UX Portfolio
The long version:
TL;DR: A public exercise aimed at UX Designers looking for an enterprise/complex system project to add to their portfolio.
The long version:
Many UX juniors maintain portfolios consisting of a couple of mobile apps and a trivial marketing website or two. No matter how good they are, they all look the same and they are practically indistinguishable from each other from a prospective employer’s point of view.
The main thing that they typically lack is an example of a real challenge, a UX task that’s difficult to just copy-paste from an existing product, or, worse, Dribbble, give it a fresh coat of paint and stick it into your portfolio. Namely, a complex system of some sort.
A single page of a complex system can truly shed light on the candidate’s level of skill and thought processes, and provide a much better understanding of her abilities than a dozen mobile apps and veterinary clinic’s websites (now, a veterinary clinic’s management software, that’s a different matter).
The problem with adding a complex system UX design to your portfolio is usually that you didn’t get to work on any, and you can’t just come by some requirements for you to design by. So I’ve decided to run a little experiment and to provide a set of requirements for people to design by. They are free for all, and all I ask is that the work not be presented as a real project for a client — because it wasn’t. There is quite a long list of crucial differences between this and a real-life project. But I believe that it’s still considerably better than nothing at all.
TANGATA — a Human Resources Management Software
A. The goal of this project is to provide junior UX designers with an opportunity to design a complex system, so as to improve the quality and variety of their portfolios.
B. Whenever an offer to “design something for your portfolio” comes up, it usually raises the concern of the offering party taking advantage of your work and using it for their own purposes. This is not the case here for a number of reasons: a) because I said so; b) because I’m not affiliated with any organization that’s developing HR systems (to the best of my knowledge).
My spouse is an HR professional, which allows me to do the necessary hi-level research. I do admit that this only leaves me the trivial matter of setting up a company, and developing and running the product, before I have the opportunity to do anything useful with your work.
Finally, and probably most convincingly — c) the requirements are right there, there’s no registration involved, and I do not request to see anybody’s work. It’s yours, do with it what you will. Should you choose to share your designs after all, feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to provide feedback.
C. There’s one thing that I do ask of you — as mentioned above, please do not try to pass this exercise off as a real project done for a client. To this end I’d like to ask you to keep the name of the software as Tangata HR. “Tangata” means “people” in the Maori language.
D. The HR domain was chosen because on the one hand it can get super complex and rich in various kinds of content and processes, and on the other hand it’s something most of us can easily relate to, and have experienced it first-hand. This sets it apart from most other complex systems which usually take place in highly technical domains, requiring a steep ramp-up in the domain. Also for the reasons mentioned under #B above.
E. There are plenty of HR systems in the world. Some are huge ancient dinosaurs and some are newborn startups. Some of your have worked with them, or have even designed them. Most processes we’ll cover already have excellent solutions in place. I am not trying to innovate nor to offer a real product for this market. The sole purpose here is to publish a set of requirements which can be used to design UX solutions to the problems described in these requirements. Some of them will probably not match the way HR is managed in some organizations, and that’s absolutely fine. Having said that, I am investing effort in making them reasonably realistic.
F. The nature of the solutions and of the deliverables, the depth, the amount of work and pretty much everything else — are entirely up to you, it’s your portfolio.
G. There’s currently one module ready and another one being planned. I will publish the second one as a follow-up to this article, if I see that the first module is getting traction.
Thanks for reading this far, now let’s go!
1. System Description
Tangata is a centralized system for managing Human Resources processes and needs. It is a B2B system marketed primarily to medium-to-large software companies.
In the long run it’s expected to include modules managing Recruitment, Training, Welfare, Compensation and Benefits, Organizational Development, and other related domains.
This is a SaaS product, to be used primarily on desktop web, as the primary work tool of the main user, a common work tool of a number of secondary users, and a single-to-rare-use tool of a large number of occasional users. Specific flows will occur on mobile devices, but they’re not on the “roadmap” for now.
The primary user is the organization’s HR specialist, whose specialization might differ according to the modules mentioned above.
Secondary users are various roles in the organization — middle management of the professional departments (such as R&D, Product or Customer Success managers) and various representatives of the cross-organizational departments, such as Finance, Logistics, Administration and others.
Occasional users might be employees who do not play a central role in HR management processes, as well as the organization’s vendors and candidates.
2. Recruiting Process Management Center
Each candidate undergoes a recruitment process until they are hired (or rejected). The process involves a number of steps. Each role and each department in the organization have different recruitment processes.
2.1. The user: a Recruiter or a Talent Acquisition Lead.
2.2. The user’s task: Manage the recruitment processes for the different departments in the company.
2.3. The designer challenge: Design a solution for the creation and management of recruitment processes.
2.4. Assume that the company is already set up in the system, meaning that its org structure and lists of employees have been imported and can be used.
2.5. Full management of the ready processes must be supported — creation, editing and deletion.
2.6. Types of steps:
- CV review (one or more)
- Professional interview (one or more)
- HR interview
- Home exercise (one or more)
- Referral interviews
- Background checks
2.7. Possible information regarding each step:
- Location in the process. Some of the steps can come at different points in the process, while others must come in a certain order.
- Owner, other optional attendees.
- Relevant information and materials
- Outcome in case of success and of failure.