User Retention

Project Overview

NextPlay is a B2B B2C app that matches and facilitatesthe relationship between mentors andmentees while providing analytics back to the sponsoring business.

The project objective was to offer research-based solutions to improve user experience.


As student consultants, Kathryn and I did a full cycle of research, testing and design iterations to improve the user experience and influence company outcomes.

Deliverables included our research, testing data, user flow chart, and wireframes (among other things).

full cycle of ux design: business and product objectives, personas, interviews, synthesis, user flow, lo-hi wireframes, iterative testing, present recommendations and deliverables


Business Goals:
- Provide rich data to their clients on the ROI and efficacy of guided mentorship.
- Mentor Matching: currently at 73% and satisfied, but would like to aim for an 80% match rate.

Product Goals:
- Enable the match and provide analytics to client
- Facilitate mentor-mentee relationships
- Provide key features to support ongoing, valuable mentorship

For the launch, my partner and I met with Vivian, the Associate Product Manager at NextPlay. In our Kickoff meeting, we established company goals, developed user personas, and went through the existing app.

From our dialogue with Vivian, we got insight into their company goals and dug deeper into their existing data.



From this kickoff, Kathryn, Vivian and I collaborated on some learning goals to drive our research and deliverables:

- What makes a successful mentorship?
- What drives user retention on the app?
- How might we improve onboarding experience, so that users understand the value of the app?
- What are some confusing or unnecessary elements in the existing app?

From our rich dialogue and discussion with Vivian, she raised a problem that the company needs help solving: retention.

Based on surveys and feedback from mentors, the mentees often lack skills to drive the relationship and, in turn, the relationship suffers and users abandon the app. How might we improve user retention?



While there were some general trends, we concluded that interviews on mentorship and testing the app would help uncover additional insights for retention.

In our discovery phase, we investigated the known data on their users and created personas for each: mentors and mentees.

What are the demographics? What are their motivations?




We unfortunately were not able to have our users go through the whole onboarding process due to limitations with engineering, so we focused on overall impression of features, language, and understanding their match.

It gave us lots of rich feedback to make suggestions for improving customer retention. After synthesizing the feedback, we narrowed it to a few problems to brainstorm solutions:

Kathryn and I lead user interviews to understand successful and unsuccessful mentorship relationships, then had the users go through the current app.

I developed the questions while Kathryn sourced the interviewees. We interviewed a total of 7 people about their experience with mentorship and then had them use the app for a scenario: after you've been matched, what are your next steps?

Problem > Hypothesis > Possible Solutions


With the current app, the onboarding process was a bit long and confined. In addition, if a user wanted a new match, they would have to contact a rep at NextPlay. I created a flow chart to support the match process and automate rematching.

Our hypothesis: if we gather information that users want to know about their match, make the matching experience more enjoyable and loop into best practices, then mentees will keep their match and this will lead to better retention.

Flow Solutions:

1. Look how you matched: Force user to see common traits submitted as important traits in onboarding.
2. Profile Page: Find out more about your match before you request a new one.
3. Keep the match: Supports the mentor with ice breakers .
4. Dismiss the match: Gather data to improve the next match.
5. Learn best practices and how to use the app to keep the mentee looped into their next steps as a mentee.


I focused on these problems to solve:

1. Mentees are asking to be rematched: Giving the mentee details on why they matched (what they have in common)
2. Mentees want an organic relationship: A profile page for the mentor where the mentee can get to know them, with quirky information
3. Mentees often lack skills to drive the relationship: Break the Ice and learn best practices guide the interaction between mentor-mentee

Match Flow for mentorship app, Ellen.


I tested my wireframes on 5 people to get feedback on the process. All users completed the task and their top feedback was:

- Users want more information BEFORE they make a choice about their match.
- Users want to feel reassured about their match's expertise.
- Users think the language is too technical for the flow.
- They would like more quirky, interesting information about their

Iterative design solutions for mentorship app, Ellen.


+ Add more personal information before the ice breaker = About Me, My Skills, Ask Me About
+ Add a location = Location info for people to get together in person
+ Add reassurance of match expertise = Star rating
+ Take out technical jargon = Rephrase sections and don't mention the algorithm
+ Keep the button language consistent to the suggested action = "See my match" rather than "Keep my match"

View the
Prototype for the Match
Deliverable Presentation for NextPlay

Click through the prototype


All in all, we introduced an additional flow that NextPlay did not have. Before this, users didn't know much about their match, nor why they were matched with them in the first place.

I'm most proud of:
+ providing transparency on why they matched
+ giving support to mentees on how to facilitate next steps
+ automating and providing feedback to NextPlay on better matches

While the focus was to give data-supported suggestions to NextPlay, I do wish that I had more time to do a comprehensive audit of the current app and provide a design system. They are still a new app but with a hodge-podge of Material and iOS design in one.