The platform connects business owners and agents to assist low-literacy job seekers in finding and applying for jobs.
4 Master's students
How can we assist a low-literacy job-seeker to find a job with minimal use of technology?
We designed a platform that facilitates the connection between business owners seeking a workforce and agents who are willing to assist low-literacy job seekers in finding and applying for suitable vacancies. The main aim is to minimize the use of technology for these job applicants.
Primary users - Business owners and agents
Beneficiaries - Job applicants
Field research and narrowing down the problem, ideation, storyboarding, paper prototyping, and agent module app design.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), as of 2017, 5.6% of the global population was unemployed. In 2018, the total number of unemployed people remained high, at above 192 million, and it was difficult to find decent employment opportunities that provide productive work, fair income, and security in the workplace.
Our prototype social computing system aims to address this important challenge by promoting sustainable economic growth and decent work for all, as outlined in United Nations sustainability goal 8. We have created a platform that allows agents from Indiana State's Department of Labor to assist low-literacy individuals in finding employment by connecting them with businesses.
After conducting secondary research, interviews, observations, and field studies, I narrowed down the following findings.
Absence of an equitable system
"I got hired through my friend's referral as I had no idea whom to approach."
Existence of a language barrier
"Couldn't fill the application form as it was in English and I have limited reading & writing proficiency, so had to seek help from a friend."
Absence of a feedback system
"I wasn't aware of the work culture when I applied to this job"
How can we assist low-literate job-seeker to find a job with minimal use of technology?
Upon analysis of user pain points and brainstorming numerous solutions, I decided to test out a platform that serves to address our problem statement.
Johannes, a recent widow and mother of two kids who is passionate about textile weaving, finds a job through the app with Blaire, a small textile business owner who is seeking weavers at a budget-friendly price.
Josh, a builder in need of construction workers, and Jeffery, a contractor with a surplus of workers without ongoing work, use the app to connect and complete a successful contract together.
Initially, the platform aimed to accommodate three modules, including one for an applicant.
Below are the paper prototypes that were developed to understand the user flow of business owners to post a job vacancy, for hiring agents to assist applicants to find a job, and for applicants to apply for open positions.
I suggested removing the module for applicants after learning that applicants with low levels of literacy had limited access to technology.
Volunteer agents from Indiana State's Department of Labor (DOL) will help job seekers find employment through services like ours.
Many business owners may be more familiar with the technology and infrastructure required to create and maintain a website, as it is a more common and established platform. They are more cost-effective, have wider reach and searchable and are more flexible.
Thus the business module was designed as a web platform.
The option to communicate with the agent over text message allows for a more comfortable and familiar form of communication for these applicants, who may not be comfortable using computers or other technology. The agent can help them to understand the job requirements, and also apply for suitable jobs on their behalf.
This arrangement is beneficial for low-literate and non-tech-savvy job seekers because it simplifies the job search process, and eliminates the need for them to navigate technology.
Include an onboarding process to provide clarity about the purpose and use of the application.
Use consistent spacing, icon style, and dimensions, and a limited number of colors to improve the overall aesthetic and usability of the app.
Include a feedback system to enable users to highlight any grievances or issues.
Conduct a UX audit to identify and address any additional issues with the design and functionality of the app.