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I started brainstorming for initial ideas in order to understand the topic of mentorship at a high level and gathered my initial thoughts. With research being the first part of my design process, I wrote down an overview of my research process to determine my methodology and questions  to see people's take on the concept of mentoring and being mentored.



Mentoring can be a great way to share knowledge and help someone be successful in their personal or professional life. But many potential mentors are often too busy to commit to regular meetings, or they have a hard time connecting with people seeking help.

Design an experience where prospective mentors and mentees can be matched, based on similar interests, location, and availability. Show your process and how you arrived at your solution. Please include a sequence of high-fidelity mocks from your design solution.


Research — Insights —  Explorations — Solution 


To understand the user's needs I looked at a couple of existing products that are either designed, or being leveraged for the purpose of mentorship currently. I kept my competitive analysis general and focused on platform features, functionality, main objective and general usability. I found a few mobile apps for connecting with mentors.


To better understand the area, I spent time looking for existing research and literature. It would have also acted as a way to validate the problem, but for the assignment, I parked this step.

Some interesting findings below.



After validating the problem, and trying to look at existing alternatives, I wanted to gain an even deeper understanding into the challenges that the two important stakeholders in our context - mentors and mentees - faced.

I reached out to professionals in my network with a survey. The average work experience was 8 years, and below is a categorisation of the responders. Link to Survey Results


As much as I would have liked a more diverse set of responders, especially for the mentees, this set acted as a reasonable proxy as some have been mentored during their professional experience, and some also got a chance to mentor.

LinkedIn’s platform is not specifically meant for finding mentors, but users can search members and browse connections to find a potential mentor. 

The biggest advantage of LinkedIn is its vast network, but it falls short for us by being a jack of all trades.


2. Identifying the problem 

The research data shows that people have trouble finding  the right mentor or mentee. This is a huge problem because having a mentor to provide advice, guidance and encouragement is imp for career growth.


Below are key issues discovered in the initial research :


  • Don't know the value of a mentor

  • Don’t know when they need a mentor

  • Approaching for mentorship is very difficult

  • Where and how to find right mentor

  • Shy/ not comfortable to open up

  • Not getting enough time

  • Concerned whether the mentor will give them enough attention and remember details or they need to take any extra effort.

  • What to expect out of the mentorship program

  • No consistent feedback loop with the mentor

  • Following up on suggestions


Journey Map

With a fairly decent understanding of the problems faced by the Mentors and Mentees, I wanted to understand where they fall on a customer’s journey. By trying to understand their emotions during this journey of connecting and working with a mentee / mentor, we can identify the right interventions required at each stage and create an experience that resolves them in the best way.


  • Very hard to find free time 

  • Don’t want to babysit & spoon-feeding

  • Too many requests from mentee

  • Mentees have too many expectation

  • Seeking help beyond my expertise

  • I needed to understand their interests and motivations

  •  Wants to validate their ideas with other mentors 

  • Understanding headspace of mentee

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  High level ideas:

  • Self assessment on app Onboarding understand their current state and make better decisions in finding the right mentor/mentee

  • Help users find their mentor/mentee based on similar interest, availability & location

  • Gamification: Badges &  Reward points to motivate both mentor and mentees

  • Feedback system for both to maintain the system quality?

  • Recommend other mentors/mentee 

  • Status tracking of the goal or a meeting request

Phase 1: Bringing Mentors and Mentees on to the platform.

For the platform to be successful, the most important challenge is to define the value proposition for the Mentors and as well as the Mentees.

At the core,

  • Mentors will be here because they care about their area of expertise and want to share knowledge, as long as it doesn’t burden them.

  • Mentees will be here because they want to grow in their area of interest.

So, giving a sense of quality to the mentors and mentees is crucial for the network to work long term. Taking care of the quality of mentors, and letting them choose who they mentor can solve the demand / mentee side of the quality problem too.



  • Mentors can be “invite only” to start with, to maintain the quality of the network. 

  • Mentors can be handpicked to cater to specific areas, with conscious choices to reduce bias in demographics. Once a person gets the invite they’ll go through a set of questions to onboard. Questions will be asked to understand more about the mentors, their expertise, their type of mentorship they offer etc.

  • Once they join the platform, they can over time invite people they think are appropriate to the platform. Since mentors are inviting new mentors on their guarantee, they’ll make sure they invite relevant people.

In the future, we can allow anyone beyond a certain experience (a known bias) in specific domains to apply, with existing mentors approving the requests to remove algorithmic and moderator biases. Another idea can be to ask Mentees to choose who they would like on the platform, and beyond a certain no. of votes for a person, we can reach out to get the person’s interest in being a mentor.



  • One assumption is Mentees registering on the platform are aware of their goals and have a fair idea of their strengths and weaknesses. They do not need any hand holding or spoon feeding about the mentorship program or about their goals.

  • Verification with a professional network like LinkedIn is required to add confidence for people on the network. However, users are usually more skeptical about providing access to a professional network sign in without knowing the benefits. This can be solved by providing an option to login using Email or a popular sign in option such as Gmail. These users can use the network, but can send a request to a Mentor only after verification with LinkedIn. 

Even though getting users to connect with mentors is the ultimate goal, recommending the right mentors can only be done after we have the right information about the user / customer wanting to be mentored.

This is where onboarding comes into the picture. This is required to make the platform useful, but should not be a blocker for users who are short of time or would like to find a specific mentor.

So, we’ll communicate the importance of the flow. If a customer does not want to spend time on the onboarding flow then he/she can skip the flow and can land directly on the "My network". 


For users who skip Onboarding, the "my network" page  will be almost empty as the app doesn't have any information about them. They are just reminded that they need to complete their onboarding journey to be able to get the most from the application.


We’ll not block the customer from connecting with mentors, in fact we'll start building the customers profile by observing the kind of mentors the user sees.


  Mentee’s core goals on the app are to

  • Find the right mentors

  • Send requests for mentorship

  • Make plans and record progress for the approved mentorships

  • Communicate with the Mentor regularly

  • Look / explore for new mentors

Mentor’s core goals on the app are to

  • Look at requests from future Mentees

  • Record and Track progress for approved mentorships

  • Communicate with the Mentee as required

As the no. of core goals were not too many, I chose the bottom navigation, a standard pattern on both Android and iOS as the primary way to segment the application.  I also tried to evaluate the idea of a common navigation for both sets of users, but with actions relevant to them.

I designed and tested 3 versions of the bottom navigation bar, with each version displaying a different set.


Based on user feedback, I chose the bottom most approach with these tabs

Dashboard - To track active the user’s mentorships
My Network - Mentees can see all available Mentors, and Mentors can see the people they are mentoring
Messages - An easy way to communicate with Mentors & Mentees, something users wanted to do with ease.
More - For less frequently used areas such as Profile, Settings, Calendar etc.

Phase 2: Helping Mentees find the right Mentors

Finding a mentor:

Customers land on their “My network” tab after completing their Onboarding.


Based on their interest & goals filled on their assessment system will recommend them few mentors. But, an important detail to consider is - how do we measure the performance of sorts for the mentors for an area such as mentoring, without measurable metrics (like in the case of coaching).


Rating would not be appropriate considering the nature of the platform. It can in fact be regarded as rude to rate your mentor. No of recommendations may be an approach that can help us understand this information without being too direct.


What are the benefits and downsides of providing location information. If there are more benefits, what is the right fidelity of this information - For example Distance vs City vs Country.

Viewing a Mentor’s profile:


In the More > Profile section, Mentors can add more details about their work, showcase their personality and thoughtfulness. This can help to differentiate Mentors from other profiles and also establish credibility and trust. 


This information can be seen by a Mentee on visiting the Mentor’s profile from the My Network section. This page helps them to learn more about potential mentors and help them in making informed decisions on which mentors to request. 


  1. Availability of a Mentor will be displayed only when the last few slots are available. 

  2. The current mentee list can be seen, which acts as social proof and builds trust.

  3. In addition to Requesting for Mentorship, Mentees can “follow” mentors


Mentees who are yet to validate their account using LinkedIn will be requested to complete that, only post which they can Request for Membership.

Requesting for Mentorship:


During research, a couple of concerns raised by Mentors were

  • Limited time and too many requests

  • Few mentee needs spoon feeding


To solve these problems, whenever a mentee raises a request for mentorship , the mentee will be asked to answer a subjective questionnaire, which would have been added by each mentor during their onboarding process. Questions can be related to mentees goals, aspirations, interests. This helps in 2 ways.

1. Only genuinely interested mentees will fill up the form and raise the requests.

2. Mentors can understand the mentees goals and needs and basis on whether they can decide to take the mentoo or not. Easy to decide if the mentee is a right match or not.


These requests can be seen by the Mentor in his / her My Requests section.

Phase 3: Post Approval / Actual Mentorship

First meeting:

After the Mentor accepts the request, the mentee will have the option to schedule a Meeting with the Mentor based on the Calendar availability.


While scheduling the call, the Mentee is made to add the meeting’s broad purpose or agenda. Though the first time is about getting to know each other, they can also mention the inputs the mentee is seeking, or ask for feedback or measure progress later on. This will help the Mentor prepare for the session in advance.


After the first meeting, the Mentor will create a Growth plan to track the progress, which can be seen by the Mentee. The Mentor will also have the option to set a frequency for check ins.

  • Mentee will follow the plan to achieve the goal.

  • Mentee will update the meeting notes after each session.

  • Mentee can also add notes of his/her progress . Mentors can track the progress of mentee.

  • A plan can be modified at any point and time if the mentor or mentee feels a need for doing so.


Measuring Satisfaction:


Considering that Rating a Mentor is deemed inappropriate in many cultures, a softer way to measure the quality of Mentorship is by asking for the Mentor and Mentee’s satisfaction scores.


After each session both the Mentee and Mentor will be asked how satisfied they were with the session. Data will be captured for each session against the agenda / topic, and over time, a cumulative recommendation score can be calculated for each Mentor and Mentee.


Next session can only be scheduled only when the mentee has given their satisfaction rating for the previous session.














Communication between mentor and mentee will determine the success of this app. As pointed out by the mentees in the study, the biggest challenge is to get the mentors’ time. 


With this app, in addition to the regular meetings, the mentee and mentors can connect anytime, with specific comments over their action plan. This contextual communication can make it easier for a Mentor to respond to the Mentee’s questions.


The Messages section can also be used by the Mentee to connect with other Mentees of the Mentor.

In addition to message based conversation that is asynchronous, there would be an option for an audio call between the mentee and mentor.


The platform provides a clear value proposition for the Mentee in terms of learning and growth, and that in itself can be an incentive for the Mentee to be on the platform.

This may not be as direct for the Mentor. Appreciation / Social validation provided by the Mentees and the network may act as a motivation for the Mentor to dedicate more time for future Mentees.

In line with this, the Mentee would be provided a way to Send appreciation for the time dedicated by the Mentor after every session. There can also be an indicator on the Mentor’s Profile for the time dedicated to Mentoring others. The system can also send occasional appreciation based on the time spent by the Mentor on the platform.


3. Solution

Onboarding journey


Connect with a mentor

Measuring success of the platform:

To validate the numerous assumptions made in the building of this platform, certain metrics can be looked into.


  1. Number of mentor referrals

  2. Onboarding and Questionnaire completion rate

  3. Number of meetings scheduled

  4. Low number of unverified accounts

This quantitative information can be used for further qualitative understanding of potential gaps in the solution.


Thoughts for the future:


Specific areas / ideas for future enhancements.

  • Identify how Mentors and Mentees use the app and design specifically for each of their needs.

  • Design features for mentors to enhance their mentoring skills, as it is an area that not many experienced professionals have experience in. 

  • A lot of mentees don't have a clear idea on what they are looking for, they need a lot of hand holding or spoon feeding to make them understand the whole idea about mentorship and how they should go ahead. In the next phase I would like to design flow for such users.

  • Learning or career growth doesn’t end only at 1:1 mentorship program. People learn from their peers, online courses etc. If given a chance I would make this app as one stop for all career related queries and events. Be it an online course , conference, peer discussion, everything should be available under one umbrella for the users.

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