My first project in UX Design focused on the support of immigrants by the administration in France and wishing to obtain a work visa. Today, I am happy to have had the opportunity to work again on a project related to this issue !
We have spent, me and Ariane Gaudeaux, working with Anemo, a young French start-up dedicated to the development of cultural intelligence (or “CQ”).
CQ is the ability of a person to use his intelligence in a foreign cultural context, and to adapt their behavior to it.
Anemo is notably supported by the person of Juan the CEO who, during our first meeting (kick-off meeting), spoke out during the workshop for the creation of a user journey map :
“Entrepreneurship is like sailing, it’s fun at first, but soon you don’t see the shore anymore, and then a storm comes, and the uncertainty turns into fear, it’s trial and error but you might really mess it up.”
Through this metaphor, we understood how much his own experience had driven him to create Anemo. It is precisely to avoid going through this kind of situation, which can lead to abandonment and discomfort, that Anemo was born, and in particular the aspect on which we worked for 2 weeks : the EDGE Program.
This program is aimed at highly qualified migrants or “extrapreneurs” as the Anemo team has called them on several occasions. Through our user research, we therefore looked at the question of the care and path of these migrants to be able to start a business in France.
In general, Anemo offers to develop QC within organizations (private and public) through coaching based on a European model of diversity management. The offer is aimed in particular at organizations with one or more multicultural teams. It provides these organizations with an innovative educational solution allowing them to develop the transversal, cognitive and behavioral skills of employees through a flexible and individualized approach in order to make diversity a real lever in the service of the performance of these structures.
This coaching takes place both face-to-face and in the future also remotely, via an innovative micro-learning app : this complementarity is necessary and essential. The Anemo teaching team has also developed its own scientific cultural intelligence test with the aim of systematically adapting the content of their micro-lessons to the level of the learner and responding to the promise of an “tailor-made” offer.
Anemo therefore asked us to create its first MVP of the micro-learning app in order to provide their customers with targeted educational content and facilitate their follow-up during the different learning phases. This involved, among other things, designing the CQ test, the format of the lessons and offering an engaging experience so that the learner does not give up along the way.
Stakeholder’s kick-off meeting
Our kick-off meeting was first of all based on an interview to learn more about the brand, the people who make up Anemo and their expectations.
Then, we focused on explaining our approach based on Design Thinking using the Double Diamond, as seen below, as well as the various tools that we will be likely to use.
Finally, we had prepared, on the online collaborative tool Mural, a series of 3 mini workshops : creation of a User Journey “as-is”, definition of one or more How Might We followed by a Problem Statement. Unfortunately, the program was a little too ambitious for the time that we had so we put the Problem Statement aside.
We were thus able to clarify their expectations, and at the same time, the Anemo team also took advantage, for example never having thought of clearly defining their brand attributes. This interview was essential in order to lay the foundations for a work of trust between their team and us UX Designers. Obviously, the results of these workshops were only hypothetical, although they were based on the experiences of people having lived through arrival in France and the steps taken to create their business. Despite everything, we still had to check them… Still, it was important for us to keep our customers’ expectations in mind while finding a balance with the reality on the ground with our future user research.
In addition, we had a constraint given by the Anemo team : to respect the existing graphic charter. It is true that our first impression of the graphic charter, based on the Anemo website, was not totally positive, especially concerning the typography (not modern enough) and certain illustrations not based enough on the human factor. Using a moodboard would have enabled us to come up with a new graphic charter which, I think at first, would have been more appropriate. But, as you will see later, at the end of the desirability tests, we realized that, despite an unchanged graphic charter, the users’ impression closely corresponded to the attributes of the Anemo brand !
Users & Audience
Anemo has given us access to part of its customer base. We therefore contacted some of them in order to interview them remotely. Note that 4/5 people questioned corresponded to Anemo’s target : highly qualified migrants with an entrepreneurial project. The 5th person having succeeded in setting up his project.
- Helena, 25 years old, Portuguese, Project Manager
- Nica, 26 years old, Filipino, Facilitator for students
- Priya, 29 years old, Indian, Yoga coach
- John, 34 years old, Filipino and Australian, Student in Business Master’s degree
- Ibrahim, 40 years old, Guinean, CEO of an e-learning app.
The first part of our interviews dealt with their arrival in France and the problems encountered.
Language barrier and lack of tolerance
We found that our interviewees all faced a lack of kindness and consideration when arriving in France. Although showing great enthusiasm at the idea of carrying out an entrepreneurial project that is dear to them, they quickly pay the price for the language barrier but above all for the lack of will to communicate on the part of some French people : whether at the CAF (Family Allowance Fund), at the police station, at the Post Office or at the bakery, the reactions are similar. Refusal to help the person, or even to discuss, even if it means sometimes being aggressive. Very few of them spoke good French when they arrived and naturally expressed themselves in English to try to be understood, not finding their words in French. All of them showed the desire and willingness to learn French, especially since not mastering the language can be a brake on professional activity.
Take the example of Helena who, during her first meeting at CAF, was kicked out by the woman who should have helped her with her procedures. The latter refused to speak English. She broke down in tears as she left the building. Following this experience, she returned there, this time accompanied by a French speaking friend.
Likewise, John had his bag stolen and wanted to file a complaint in the nearest police station, but the police officers present did not speak English, so they refused his complaint. So he went to another police station where the answer was the same. It was necessary to go in a third so that a police officer finally agrees to receive him for his complaint. According to him, he is made to pay for the fact that he does not speak French and, this time, it is his rights that suffered.
The complexity of administration and access to information
Another major pain point is the very complex administrative procedures in France. In the present case, it appeared very difficult to choose the appropriate entrepreneur status, not to mention the fact that it is difficult to find reliable information on this subject.
The search for social bond
One of the people interviewed told us very clearly that the psychological and emotional aspect should be taken into account in a migrant encountering financial or administrative difficulties upon arrival in France. Twice a bad experience linked to racism has been shared with us, the feeling of being isolated, of not always being able to count on people, the lack of social bond that is felt. On this point, several people have expressed the desire not to be compartmentalized in their home community and to meet people from different backgrounds. On several occasions, some mentioned the Meetup networking platform which allowed them to meet people around their passions, to create links (professional or personal), to feel less alone and to be able to count on people to help each other, something very valued.
The second part of our interview focused on e-learning practices.
Several issues and expectations were clearly raised by the interviewees. There was, for example, the need to integrate their learning as well as possible into an often busy schedule. Some believe that the ideal times for micro-lessons are in the morning at breakfast and in the evening after dinner or before going to bed. They clearly displayed the desire to have engaging content : to have various types of content (videos, podcasts, gaming, schemas, etc.), a reward system, to be able to take up challenges, to be able to visualize progress in order not to get bored. In addition, all spoke directly or indirectly about the fact of evolving in a living/humanized environment, allowing interactions with teachers and other learners.
After having collected a lot of data from extrapreneurs, it was now a question of downloading them, processing them and extracting as much information as possible for our project. To do this, we performed an affinity diagram because it would allow us to organize these different data into groups, according to their natural relationships. In this affinity diagram we have categorized into major themes or ideas and then we have done a work of sub-categorization in order to be as precise as possible. We therefore had an overview with the major categories and a more precise view with the subcategories. Finally, we carried out a dot voting session in order to agree on the subjects on which we would look more closely for our solution.
Note : the post it notes have different colors depending on the type of remark : positive, negative, neutral and verbatim.
User Journey Map
We have also created a new User Journey Map “as is” but this time based on our testimonials collected during the interviews. We noticed that it was very similar to that carried out during the initial workshop with the Anemo team. It must be said that they both (CEO and Learning Experience Designer) experienced this arrival in France as expatriates, then launched into entrepreneurship. And it seems that things haven’t really changed since… So, we notice that the person is first of all filled with excitement and joy at the idea of launching their business, but they come up against a harsh reality, that of a French administration which does not seem to make sure to facilitate the process, quite the contrary since a certain moral violence is exerted there. This seems quite surprising knowing that they allow the country’s economy to develop by injecting money into it, by investing in the future. Finally, since they are not helped and supported, some slow down their enthusiasm, start to doubt, sometimes paralyze themselves and end up simply giving up. Others end up asking for help from those around them. In this case, they are finally relieved by a friend who will accompany them in their process.
It was important for us to reiterate a User Journey Map so as not to be biased by the assumptions made following the first one. It was important to truly understand the emotions of our potential users, to choose the most appropriate emotion felt and to show empathy.
The creation of a persona went in the direction of a better understanding of our users, of their real needs, and thus to make better decisions for our design.
The context : Lea, a young 29-year-old Filipino, has just arrived in France to settle there and create her own travel agency in order to introduce the French to her distant and beloved archipelago. Since her arrival, she has encountered many obstacles and has therefore struggled to truly launch her business.
“I would like to have a real social experience, I don’t want to be in a small circle, I’m curious and I’d like to get exposed to everything I can !”
The quote comes from our interviews and reflects very well this openness so characteristic to the expatriates we met : they took the plunge to come to a country whose language they did not necessarily know, all learn French as best they can to be better integrated.
How Might We to Ideation
After taking advantage of our research during the empathy phase to identify ideas and needs discovered in our potential users, we began the problem definition phase by downloading the data collected. Our problem statement had to be broad enough that we could start thinking about solutions that go beyond the status quo.
The strength of the How Might We (HMW) method is that it is constructed in such a way that it opens the field to new ideas, admits that we do not have the answer to our question and encourages an approach collaborative problem solving. This is the best way to experience an ideation session !
With my teammate, we created five HMWs each on our own, then we put them together to harmonize them and keep only a few. During our ideation session, we used the Worst Ideas method with other UX / UI Designers. Finally, we used the Crazy 8 method with a senior UX Designer this time around.
In order to prioritize the features, and avoid featurities, we used the MoSCoW analysis tool at the start of the product design phase.
P.S. : as a reminder, the featurities is the overflow of features on the same product. This happens when stakeholders and / or designers add too many buttons, clicks, phases to their product. The user may then feel totally overwhelmed and, at the same time, find themselves unable to use the product correctly.
We also carried out a User Flow “to-be” in order to understand and anticipate the behavior of target users. Here, the objective is obviously to offer the most suitable navigation experience for the user. Since the primary objective of the app is learning through micro-lessons developed by Anemo, we have focused on a simple and straightforward path from the first opening of the app to access and realization of the first lesson while insisting on messages or guarantees that reassure the user during his journey. In reality, many branches were possible before arriving at the final stage but it is a simplified version that I present here.
P.S. : like any UX method or tool, the performance of a User Flow can be analyzed and its operation questioned if the profile of our users changes or if points of friction are observed.
PROTO & TEST
Mid-Fidelity prototype & Usability Test
To illustrate the User Flow presented above, here is some feedback from our usability test session (6 users). This session was very informative and allowed us to correct our design, here are a few examples :
Important point, we had not taken into account the community aspect, so dear to our users, for our mid-fidelity prototype. This part is indeed supposed to meet the needs of extrapreneurs who feel isolated and also looking for support for their project. We have therefore added additional cards on the home page under the banner “Your Teammates” in order to be able to discover the profile of the other people of the cohort : their photo, their work, an anecdote, their passions… Namely, the Anemo team does not wish, for the moment, to set up a chat between learners. Communication is initially made possible by the presence of the e-mail address on the profile.
After iterating, we performed a 5 second test online allowing us to get insights on first impressions, about what users feel when looking at our design.
The results confirmed our design because we wanted something serious, professional but also convivial and social !
High Fidelity Prototype
And here is finally a small video allowing to get an idea of our deliverable for the micro-learning app of Anemo !
What’s next & key learnings
It was a real pleasure to work on a project such as the one led by Anemo. As I was able to say at the beginning of the article, this project allowed me to continue the work started during my first project at Ironhack : but this time, it is above all high qualified immigrants who are concerned. However, it is a socially engaged project which fights to allow people coming from abroad to realize themselves in France despite the many obstacles standing in their way. Due to their entrepreneurial actions, the impact on growth in France is clearly favorable, but the government lacks initiatives to welcome this undeniable wealth … Anemo’s offer is therefore to be welcomed since it meets a real demand for support administrative and business side as well as emotional side. It is also a matter of creating a link between these different profiles to allow synergy around their different projects !
The Anemo team have been a great help throughout the process. I want to thank them for their confidence and the freedom they have given us. They understood very well the formidable issues that can lead to UX research and our various exchanges during the two weeks were very enriching for us as well as for them I presume.
Obviously, if we were to continue our work with Anemo, the first thing to do would be to test again, this time our prototype hi-fi. Especially since many potential customers have shown us their desire to test the app.
Several points would need to be reworked, for example :
- the choice of illustrations and photos to give them more meaning and consistency.
- the UX writing part so that the content is clearer, concise and impactful. The goal is to deliver useful and instructive information in order to guide the user through a coherent journey.
- information architecture, lightening the content even if it was important for Anemo to explain its research around the test. In fact, in places, the information is presented in a difficult way. One solution would be to replace with pictures, schemas etc., I am thinking in particular of the test results.
- the presentation of the test, I am thinking in particular of a question per screen, and seeing the users’ reaction. Indeed, having several questions on the same screen could make the reading somewhat scattered.
- the categories of the various resources, in particular those concerning the useful things of daily life to know for the immigrants.
- Search system and filter system.
- accessibility to certain places, I am thinking in particular of the “Lessons” screen (between locked and unlocked content).
In addition, I regret the fact that we wasted time on user research for interviews and usability testing because they were not available at the right moment and we had to wait for some of them... It caused us harm on the design of the prototype hi-fi because we ran out of time and rushed a bit. In the future, it will be important to consider a plan B, a plan C… the hazards have quickly arrived !
Still, this experience was very enriching and made me mature as a UX / UI Designer. Looking forward to share with you the rest of my adventures with Anemo and my other projects.