A research project to learn how people seek information and guidance from experts. 


Our Genau app users need a simple way to choose the most applicable advisor, because they are dedicated to advancing their studies or personal knowledge of a subject. 

The target audience is a range of 18-40 year-olds. 18 is the minimum because it is typically the beginning of college for many people where extra help and advice is needed. 40 is our maximum target, for those who may be in a transition career-wise.

Initial competition has been identified as Wyzant and Varsity Tutors. Wyzant aims to differentiate itself by focusing on the immediacy of finding an advisor, while Varsity Tutors operates by one-on-one phone calls to connect users with advisors. 

We are creating a simple yet beautiful app; connecting eager learners with advisors. This is a great opportunity to position ourselves in the market by personalizing the experience and above all, promoting a curiosity to push our users to meet their personal and professional goals.


The research spanned the course of eight weeks.


I was the lead User Researcher for this project.


Learn how knowledge seekers approach experts for guidance.


I was the project lead and only researcher for this project. I planned user surveys and interviews as well as personas, user journeys, and user flows.

For the 2-minute surveys created via Survey Monkey, I determined that the research goals were determining the simplest way to contact advisors, the frequency of use in apps, what students look for in advisors, and their browse and phone capabilities.


I discovered that the participants viewed expertise as being weighted more than years of experience and cost came in as the least-important factor. I found it useful to interview people who would engage with the app outside of the realm of design, because ultimately the app would provide a range of categories for students seeking advice and mentorship. I was able to learn important points to inform these next steps. This in conjunction with user surveys, I was able to gather certain insights.


In order to fully understand and define the app, Genau, there needed to be competitor analysis to get a feel for what was already on the market.

For this process it was essential to take note of what was successful and what wasn't working for these similar apps. Equipped with this knowledge it was time to outline and write down a problem statement to better focus the overall goal of the app.

During this stage there were three user interviews to figure out their needs and goals through user research. With their input, thoughts, and pain points, it was helpful to further define the potential of the app. I also conducted a user survey as part of the process.

VMorrison 1.7 Competitive Analysis 20190


Some of the most-significant aspects of the research process were involved creating surveys and interview questions through task analysis and user flows.

USER INTERVIEWS. Conducting user interviews is the most-valuable research method because it was important to speak directly to potential students. The users I looked to speak to were students or lifelong learners in our target range. I believed it helped me learn the pertinent and real needs of a user through a conversation on past experiences or ways they learn. I wanted to get real statements of frustration in order to gather information for an opportunity to further position the app in the market.

USER SURVEYS. Conducting a survey gave a glimpse into many individuals’ habits with at times less bias since they could choose to be anonymous. After reviewing the analytics I learned about shortcomings in where students were not using certain features, where they are spending the most time, and the clickstream data. 

USER PERSONAS. Through developing user personas, I was able to bring the users to life and consider their needs in order to develop their user flows.

VMorrison 2.2 Surveys & Interviews 20180


User Personas

After interviewing three people and surveying 18 participants, the persona of Jodi was created as one of two personas. Having a person with goals, needs, motivations, and pain points helped to develop the user flows.

user personas jodi.jpg

User Journeys

After assessing the Jodi's learning goals and application needs, I determined that some of the major goals would be finding the best rates, determining how of an expert's time was needed, and an overall feeling of being secure with guarantees in place before finalizing a booking session.

User Flows

It was essential to determine which user flows were the appropriate for the personas in order to prioritize and streamline the user flows that were to

be explored.

Mobile-First Design

When it would be time to choose a delivery method, mobile-first was the initial goal with the intention of adding in a desktop component in order to provide flexibility among the users.

VMorrison 2.5 User Personas 20181101 REV
VMorrison 2.4 User Personas 20181104 REV
VMorrison 2.5 User Personas 20181101 REV



Through user research, I was able to compile key insights into the way our users view learning in order to better inform Genau.

Although search engines are relied heavily upon by all participants, this provides an opening for Genau to explore the instances that Google is unable to cover, such as human interaction and tailored advice.

​All participants show a self-reliance and ability to figure out a lot on their own. Since reaching out to people is inevitable, the users may benefit from the instances where they’ve exhausted a lot of their other options.

If reviews matter a lot to the student, then encouraging reviews and requiring a minimum number of reviews for mentors to be verified could be a S.M.A.R.T. Business Goal.

There is a need to provide platform that encourages video chatting/conferencing for those who may exhibit a certain shyness or apprehension to in-person advice.

Any questions?

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