Design and inploi inploi Team | 18.08.2016
Design is central to everything we do at inploi. It is the vehicle through which we can express our brand culture and values, but more importantly achieve our core mission - creating a frictionless jobs marketplace in which a trusted community of job seekers and employers can communicate and transact.
As a team, we see design as an ongoing dialogue between us, our users and all the people who are not yet part of the inploi community.
Matt and I founded inploi for one simple reason: the process of finding a part-time job in hospitality sucked. We spent our fair share of time walking around handing out CVs, and received a variety of responses from, “Sorry the manager isn’t in today” through to “The position is filled, we meant to take that ad in the window down a while ago”.
After looking at the hospitality recruitment industry more closely, we learned that the experience was no better for people looking for full-time positions. Furthermore, our frustration was mirrored by employers looking to find good staff quickly, reliably and cheaply.
Looking at this problem through a design lens reveals that staffing in the hospitality industry and indeed the rest of the service economy is a fragmented process - combining traditional ‘offline’ journeys (paper CVs, window stickers and agencies) with generic online solutions (search engines and classified boards).
Solving this problem is at its core a design challenge, and this is the challenge that drives the inploi product team: connecting people looking for work with employers who have positions that they need to fill, and helping them to establish secure and equitable relationships.
So that was the design brief. After 1 year, 2 names, 5 versions, close to 4000 Adobe files and enough flat whites to sink a battleship of hipsters - we were ready to start ßeta testing our product on iOS and web, and gather feedback – arguably the most formative stage of the entire process. This revealed some invaluable insights into the critical overlap between design and user experience (UX), as well as exposing problems which stemmed from getting ‘too close’ to the product. Assumptions like, “Of course the user will know how to find ‘x’ button” can be dangerous.
Maintaining a degree of objectivity is essential and made possible by real user testing. As a small team, externally-testing every interface pattern and UX path can eat into a startup’s most valuable resource – time – but it is essential, and can be done efficiently using rapid prototyping tools, such as Invision and Adobe Experience Design.
Keeping abreast of what your users think also helps you to stay focused. It is easy to get carried away with design which is, at its heart, a creative process. But sometimes, “Wouldn’t it be cool if it could do ‘x’” conversations can obscure the key brief: are we solving the core issue for our users? In our case, are we bringing job seekers and employers together and giving them the tools that they need to engage?
The inploi iOS app has been available for three weeks now on the Apple App Store, and we are thrilled to see that the app and web platform are in the hands of a great community. More interviews and trial shifts are being arranged every day and the inploi community is growing fast.
But the hard work has only just begun, the iOS has been overhauled and the Android app is almost ready to go - both will be live in mid-September. Design will continue to drive us towards our goal, and the dialogue between the inploi team and our users continues.
If you enjoyed this article, check out Alex's other post on design at inploi: 'Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery'
If you are a designer, and would be interested in joining the team please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.