Product Design Intern
UX Research, Usability Testing, Wireframing, Prototyping, Visual Design
4 Weeks (Design)
New features for recruiters to facilitate the follow-ups process to ideal candidates
Multiple follow-ups and scheduled send in Eightfold AI's email function are two critical features for recruiters. Recruiters can reach out to ideal candidates at the ideal timing more efficiently through these additions. The challenge of the project was how to add features to an existing platform incrementally. This project was my first project during the product design internship at Eightfold AI in the summer of 2019.
matching qualified candidates through AI
Eightfold AI is an enterprise platform that uses artificial intelligence to identify promising candidates, reach diversity hiring goals, and retain top performers.
The general users of the email client are the recruiters from our clients. They have mentioned the following behaviors in their work routine:
Tracking multiple positions
May source after working hours
Want to follow their leads automatically
The old email client was not efficient for recruiters to follow their leads
Usually, recruiters use the email on our platform after they found qualified candidates for their open positions. However, two major issues stopped recruiters from continuing using the email client throughout the hiring process.
1. The need of auto-followup emails
The old email client on the Eightfold platform could only send one email to the candidate right away. However, candidates are more likely to reply to the third follow-up for reaching-out emails according to the response rate. Before we implemented the new features, recruiters had to set reminders to follow up those unanswered reach out. Not only the action required manual effort from the recruiter, manually checking unanswered emails might result in missing out qualified candidates throughout the process.
2. Can’t schedule emails for future delivery
In addition to multiple follow-ups, some recruiters might stumble across desirable candidates on LinkedIn and wanted to reach out outside of working hours. However, reaching out to candidates outside of working hours might misrepresent the work-life balance of the company. Thus, recruiters, once again, had to set reminders to reach out to those candidates they discovered at night.
Understanding needs and behavior patterns
To further understand the problems and expectations of the clients, we scheduled three client interviews and usability testing of the old design before I started ideation. Aside from the initial feature requests, we discovered a particular insights:
Current User Flow
Breaking down the major steps to contact a candidate
Preliminary Research Insight
Different approaches to customization
While one client sent bulk contact usually emailed the candidates without customization, the other two clients preferred more personalizations for a better response rate. In addition to the ability to edit the content of each follow-up, two clients also mentioned the need for granting access to send follow-ups from management roles to optimize the follow-up experience.
Building customizations for enterprise users
From the insights of user research, I concluded the following design principles while developing these features.
Systematic by default yet customizable
To facilitate the contacting process, we would design an email client that is ready to reach out by default. However, we also wanted to enable the editing feature for each email for fully personalized content.
Explicit information presentation to prevent errors
Designing on an enterprise platform, we prioritize accuracy rather than efficiency. If the scheduled email is sent outside of working hours or sent after the candidate responded, qualified candidates might question the company’s culture or attention to details. Preventing sending emails inaccurately would be crucial to these features.
Visually consistent with the rest of the platform
In addition to adding new features, the old email client design looked outdated compared to other UI on the platform. It was a great opportunity to update the aesthetics to provide users more coherent visual experience.
Developing from the current modal
How might we design a multiple follow-up navigation that does not derive from the current user behaviors?
The team began by thinking about how to integrate a multiple follow-up feature into the current user flow with the addition of a scheduled send button. We have come up with some ideas such as tabs vs. lists or top vs. bottom navigation, and we started making some mockups for initial user testings.
Proposed User Flow
Enabling new features into the current user flow
Testing and iterations
Based on the three external with our clients and two internal user ability tests as well as three design reviews, I went through many different explorations and iterations according to the feedback from the clients and directors.
As the most technically independent new feature, we designed the scheduled send first. From designing the most idea interaction to scoping down to an MVP, the development of the scheduled send button aligned the user goal and technical limitations.
A familiar button design
Adopted an existing style of schedule send button inspired by Gmail's design to reduce the cost of transition.
Ideal scenario: following up at the highest replied time
Suggested an optimal delivery time from our prediction to achieve the recruiters' goal.
MVP: following up in the next two days
Default send time to the next two days (rather than highest replied time or business day) for the initial launch.
Multiple follow-ups template
Expanding from the existing email template with a single follow-up, I added a management system for all the follow-ups. How to present time to the users' desire was the most significant change throughout the iteration.
Be more explicit to prevent possible errors
Explicit showing the relationship between initial contact and follow-ups to reduce possible confusion.
Sending as a specific person rather than a role
Keeping sender to a list of people with permission rather than their roles within the company to minimize the technical requirement for the initial release.
Optimizing the order of information for the user
Finalize the sequence of delivery time based on multiple user feedback.
The challenge of adding multiple follow-ups into the original user flow is how to simplify the navigation system while being able to manage the individual information of every email. From subject, sending time, to the content, I iterate the layout and the user flow according to how recruiters compose their reach-out emails.
Utilizing tabs organize different follow-ups
By adding a tab navigation, users can manage information of the initial email and each follow-up individually.
Preventing accidental overwrite
Separating the original "Save Template" button into two buttons to solve the pain point of accidentally overwrites the currently-used template without a confirmation.
Moving tabs to the bottom to match how users compose emails
From usability testings, we discovered that most users thought about the follow-ups after they finish editing the initial outreach. Thus, we moved the tabs to the bottom of the window to accommodate users' writing behaviors.
Multiple Follow-up Email Modal
Integrating tabs to track multiple follow-ups
By using a tab system to the email modal, users are able to keep track of the initial email and multiple follow-ups easily. They can also edit individual follow-up without changing the template. For the initial launch of the feature, we limited the ability to edit the number of follow-ups to not only reduce the adaptation period but also prevent spamming.
Operating within the platform
Multiple Follow-ups Template
Collapsing multiple follow-ups while showing the essential information
Similar to Gmail, the schedule send button is located on the side of the original send button as an alternative. Users can decide an ideal time themselves or select one of the given recommendations based on the following working hours.
Customized scheduling with recommendations
The design for this template editor focuses on making sure that the users understand each customization, such as sending time and sender. Also, I minimized the information load on a single page for the amount of content through accordions.
Successfully launched at the end of August
The schedule-send feature was launched in July, and the rest of the redesign email features were launched at the end of August.
"Looking forward to playing around with the new feature. Thank you for all that you, your team and the company are doing to accommodate and push innovation on your platform. If I haven't said it before, I want to say that is an absolute pleasure to be working so closely with Eightfold!"
— One client after testing the demo
Learning from designing for Eightfold AI
It was a pleasure to intern as a product designer at Eightfold AI. I was able to own most of my projects throughout the internship as an intern, which means I got the opportunity to design in a realistic environment sooner than other interns. Thus, I found two major takeaways from this internship.
Constant communication is the key to a smooth development process
During the time of working as a product designer on all projects in the summer at Eightfold, I found myself valued communication even more than before. Because I was often the only designer for these new features, I checked in regularly with the PMs and the engineers to not only update them about my progress but also see if there were any blocks that I need to be aware of for continuing my design. Having this kind of constant communication made my design process extremely adaptive, and it also encouraged others to approach me with any issues.
Tradeoffs between technical limitations and ideal designs
Compared to school projects, I learned a lot from how to negotiate the tradeoffs between technical resources and user expectations. There were clients that expected a comprehensive product, yet there were also other technical priorities within the company. How to distill the core features and interactions that the users satisfy was one of the best learning experiences I got from this internship.