Redesigning Upworks hiring flow

The hiring flow is how customers find and decide which freelancer to hire. Its really important that the flow is efficient and easy to use. The problem is, it's currently disjointed.

There’s no clear way to navigate between the different parts of the hiring flow. It’s easy to get lost and go off track. The main goal of this redesign is to make it easy to understand and navigate.

Research & Discovery

I began with a ton of research, going through a truck load of NPS comments & customer support tickets. Following that up with customer interviews, jammed it together with metrics to make this a journey map.

I had to remove some of the metrics so I don't get in trouble, can’t share everything :)

Then I took all the problems I found and prioritized with the product managers. We mapped the business value to the user value for each problem.

These aren’t all the requested features, just the ones I saw & heard the most at the time of the redesign

Core issues

From the above research we distilled the issues into just the ones that would have the most impact. Although we'll eventually solve all them we needed a good foundation first.

What about the flow makes it disjointed? Each step in the flow is on a different page, making it hard to navigate. There's no place that outlines the steps to hiring, leaving clients to figure it out.

Why is it inefficient to search, invite and review freelancers? Currently inviting a freelancer, it's a one-way flow. Clients have to figure out how to get back to the merchandising page to continue inviting. Its common for clients to invite one freelancer and leave. On top of that, the march page only shows ten freelancers. There is no explanation as to why these freelancers, with no options to filter or refine.

Design goals & principles

The flow should outline a clear process to hiring, with every action and step easily accessible from one place.

How did I go about solving the hiring flow issues?

The goal is to merge this disjointed hiring flow into one page. The success of this redesign relied on the Information architecture (IA) of the hiring flow, being easy to understand and use.

The good news is the hiring steps are clear, they just aren’t outlined anywhere or in the same place.

I used this as a framework to structure the new hiring flow IA. To make it clear what clients will find and do in each step. We tested two label approaches. Actions (like the ones above) and descriptions e.g. Job Posting, Suggested Freelancers, Candidates. We found from tree jack testing that the actions gave a more explicit indication of what was inside the sections.

What is inside each section? In the old ATS everything. Now its split up and organized. The treejack study I mentioned above had six tasks that took clients all over the new hiring flow of the 15 people we asked these tasks, 14 completed it without help. The one person who didn’t was looking for the job post actions in the old position.

Now what about improving search & review freelancer efficiency?

Now the IA is in a good spot, how did I make good on the design goal to make sure everything is in context of the page you're on.

Adding control to the invite (merchandising) page To provide control and flexibility to the invite step. I changed this so clients can search the entire marketplace. To still show suggestions, but explain why we choose these freelancers. We used all the information from their job posting to add smart defaults, so all they needed to do was review.

Keeping inviting in context Having clients going to a different page to invite only to invite one freelancer is not great. I pulled the form into a popover, so clients stay in the context of the list or profile when inviting. The added benefit is they can now see inline who they’ve invited.

Reducing pogo-sticking First thing to keep in mind is clients spend less than 30 secs on a profile when deciding to invite or not. It takes 3-5 sec to load the profile, then when they click back another 3-5 sec to load the results. The goal was to bring the profile inline so clients can see the profile without waiting (pre-loaded) or if they want still open in a new tab the same way they do today.

What was the outcome?

Normally we see a 2-5% jump per feature, with the new hiring flow we saw a huge bump to the core metrics.

What customers are saying

“Much easier to view the proposal, person and conversation. I like it.”

“it’s great, like that can get back easily to list”

“Love it! Took me a second to understand the left to right UI paradigm but now it’s super comfy one stop shop - great work!”

“I like it. It’s fast and all the options I want are where it feels they should be. Nice work!”

“it works muuuuuch better!”

Quotes from customers pulled from a survey that was include on the page when the redesign was launched.

What’s next for the hiring flow?

For instance, someone hiring a motion designer will have a different process then someone looking for an iOS developer. Another dimension I’d like to explore is the duration of the job. Three-hour wordpress bug fix, shouldn’t take the same time to hire as a six-month contract.