Mission:Graduate has an audacious goal: Increase the number of new graduates by 60,000 in the next several years. Working shoulder to shoulder with Mission: Graduate, local employers, and high school students, we created a new app for New Mexico youth that allows them to map experience they already have and earn valuable incentives for leveling up that experience with badges and quests that hit on what employers and colleges are looking for most.
My role included: Strategy, Creative Direction, Branding and UI/UX design.
The LaunchMe ABQ app was piloted the summer of 2016 with hundreds of youth throughout Albuquerque thanks to a number of partners integrating it into their summer programs.
Bridging the experience & employability gap
There’s a gap between today’s youth and employers. While many factors contribute to New Mexico’s ~70% graduation rate, a large one is the lack of alignment youth feel between their learning and their future prospects.
What we discovered is that youth want to find great jobs, but don’t quite know how to map their current non-professional experiences (such as hobbies, school projects, or temporary employment) to the skills and attributes that their would-be employers are looking for.
The goal became clear: Bridge the youth/employer gap.
Leveling up experience with badges and quests
Quests were designed hand-in-hand with local partners and youth in mind, and the pilot provided enough meaningful content to test whether the program and app are doing their job to help bridge the gap.
A quest in which students complete a number of activities, from watching a video about volunteering to actually volunteering on-site, in order to show they’re proactive and ready to take on tough challenges.
A quest that helps students prep for interviews, practice timeliness, and generally get ready for the world of work.
Financial Wellness launched in partnership with a local credit union and a network of employers who accept completed LaunchMe badges in exchange for job interview priority currently partner with the program.
A quest that helps students fill the gaps in written, nonverbal and verbal communication with practice and feedback.
A quest where students reflect and act upon their newly gained experiences learned through LaunhMe.
Rapid Prototyping & User Testing
Using clickable prototypes I was able to bring early concepts to a point of tangibility that could be validated and tested with students before moving to development.
Initial user testing revealed that students weren't motivated to fill out their profiles and complete activities. Borrowing from game design principals, I introduced the concept of Experience Badges and Quests to incentivize usage.
The result: earning badges for adding experience and completing activities motivated students to share more— knowing that a more complete profile would stand out to employers.
Try it for yourself. Play with the embed prototype on the right.
I created a fresh, bold, and modern brand experience that youth could connect with and enjoy spending time on. The brand brings together bright teals, earthy reds, vibrant greens, and bright yellows to create an energetic pallet which is youthful and positive.