Learning How to Do Adulting Tasks for Students and Fresh Graduates

During my three-month internship at On-Off Group, I had the opportunity to not only try my hand at clientwork, but also to create a personal UX project that involved having to go through all the stages of the UX design process. With the help of the UX team’s mini-lectures and constant advice, I was able to complete this process from start to finish: choosing a topic or identifying the problem, recruiting participants, conducting user interviews and usability tests, note-taking, creating personas, affinity mapping, and designing my very own high-fidelity prototype, Ally.


The Problem

It goes without saying that entering adulthood is something that everyone will go through in their lives – some of us will be lucky enough to have someone guiding us along the journey and holding our hand every step of the way, but others may have to go through this rite of passage alone, making this very difficult to do. With everything transitioning online due to the current pandemic, searching for information via the internet is common to most of us, but this begs the question: What if this information isn’t easy to understand or process?

As someone who is still in the path of growing up and finding her place in the world, entering adulthood, or “adulting” as we call it in this study, can be quite anxiety-inducing and intimidating, especially when the whole concept of growing up isn’t commonly discussed with family and friends. Another point that adds to my worries is that our academic institutions do not always teach us about getting government-issued IDs, paying taxes, or the importance of learning how to pay rent – these are all life skills that we may have to learn on our own if we do not have a solid support system. In the case that we do have to learn this information on our own, many of us would normally look to the internet. However, I also seem to struggle with processing the information that is presented on our government websites. I find that it isn’t always user-friendly, and that I constantly have to navigate back and forth between the websites to find the information and resources that I need. This made me wonder if any of my peers have been experiencing the same troubles that I have been facing.

With all that being said, I reframed this problem into a How Might We statement:

How might we make it easier for students and fresh graduates to process and learn about adulting tasks?

The Research Objectives

To pinpoint how I would like to solve this problem, I first had to understand how other people have been managing their own entry into adulthood. With this in mind, I decided to focus on the following objectives:

  • Gain a better understanding of how students and fresh graduates learn about different government processes and adulthood responsibilities, specifically in getting valid government IDs (e.g., driver’s license, TIN ID, voter’s ID), getting life insurance, paying taxes, and renting property
  • Find out if there is any difference in gaining this information pre-pandemic and during the pandemic
  • Identify pain points of students and fresh graduates when it comes to:
  • Knowing the step-by-step process in acquiring valid government IDs
  • Finding the forms required to apply for these IDs
  • Applying for these IDs
  • Identify opportunities to help students and fresh graduates be more acquainted with government processes and adulthood tasks that may be needed when one starts working (especially those that aren’t being taught in schools)

The Interviews

In order for me to assess if others have also been experiencing the problems that I have stated earlier, I conducted a 45 minute to 1 hour interview with ten (10) participants through a virtual call on Google Meet to find out how they have been coping and managing their own adulting tasks.

Participants were screened with the following criteria:

  • Must be 18 years old and above
  • Must be a current college student or a college graduate from Batch 2020
  • Must have experience with getting a valid government ID

Figure 1. Call for Participation posted on Facebook

Participants were crowdsourced through a post on Facebook, wherein they were asked to answer a quick screener survey if they were interested to participate in the study. Of the ten participants I have gathered, five (5) of them were current college students from Ateneo de Manila University, and the other five (5) were college graduates from Batch 2020. These two personas allowed me to explore insights coming from individuals with different situations and different phases in the process of adulthood – one persona group was still studying via online classes, while the other persona group was already at the point of their lives wherein they would try to look for work opportunities.

The Research Findings

To reiterate, for the purpose of this study, “adulting tasks” refer to getting government-issued IDs, getting life insurance, paying taxes, and renting property. Based on the user interviews, I was able to gather data and analyze this to identify the key insights and areas of opportunity for this study with the help of the online whiteboard platform, Miro.


Figure 2. Mapping key interview insights and opportunities on Miro

From the initial findings gathered, I was then able to summarize and group this data into an affinity map:


Figure 3. Affinity map on Miro

Based on the findings, it seemed that common worries among participants include not knowing where to start and what to start on in terms of getting legal documents like gov't IDs, and getting a job to venture into the "adult world". Additionally, all ten (10) participants mentioned that their universities did not have any talks on anything related to adulting tasks, specifically with getting valid government IDs, getting life insurance, paying taxes, and renting property. Although career placement offices in universities offer services such as career fairs and resume consultations, majority of the participants were not able to attend these, and had no idea what other services these offices provide in order to help them with adulting tasks.

One participant stated that:

"It's like you're supposed to figure it out on your own."

In order for me to better understand the rest of my findings and to ensure that I keep in-line with my research objectives, I decided to categorize the rest of the important insights based on the following: (1) Experiences, (2) Differences in Pre-Pandemic and During the Pandemic, and (3) Pain Points.

  1. Experiences (What are the highlights of the participants in learning about adulting tasks and processing these?)
    When it came to processing government IDs and going through other adulting tasks, participants explained that they mostly felt anxious, nervous, and lost, and that it can be tiring to go through it, especially for those who have to travel far just to get government IDs processed. The study revealed that this is particularly true for the participants who have families who don’t usually discuss these topics (as one participant stated: "My parents don't really answer me when I ask questions").
    Regarding where they would usually get their information on government IDs and other adulting tasks mentioned in the study, the participants stated that they would usually find this online, through word of mouth from family and friends, or actually going to the offices to ask. To organize their tasks, the participants prefer to make checklists, since it helps them prepare for the steps needed in any given situation.

  2. Differences in Pre-Pandemic and During the Pandemic (Is there a difference in gaining information?)
    It seemed that among the participants, getting government IDs was easier pre-pandemic. They mentioned that the process at the office was more simple because there were signs in the offices that they could follow. Three (3) of the participants felt that processing IDs online is simple enough once you completely understand the steps to be taken. Before the pandemic, participants said that they could go to the offices to ask for clearer information. However, because of the current restrictions, only a limited number of people can go to the offices to ask for guidance. Thus, they wish that the online process was clearer and easier to understand at times, with one participant stating that they sometimes wonder “Where do I go from here?”
  3. Pain Points
  4. The participants expressed that they had two common struggles: the Website and the Requirements. In terms of the website, participants had a difficult time trusting the information from government websites because they felt that it was outdated and confusing to understand. Aside from that, participants stated that they have to go to many different sites to find the information they needed and this could be very troublesome on their part. One even mentioned that the sites are sometimes down and cannot be accessed. Because of this, they prefer going on blog sites instead. They favor these because of their digestible content. Participants also feel that these sites are more credible.  Regarding the requirements, they mentioned that they struggle with finding out which new requirements are needed for their applications. Not being updated with some requirements can cause them to slow down their process, leading to a lot of frustration on their end. One mentioned the struggle of missing a photocopy of a requirement while already being attended to, and having to find a photocopier ("When I'm at the line, I think everything is gonna go smoothly but things can go wrong. I needed a photocopy of something pala, and the lines are long in the photocopy place") while another one mentioned needing a rushed medical certificate and having to go to a nearby medical center to get it done ("Had to go to a sketchy medical center", "That pissed me of”).

To put it simply, participants wish that there was an easier and more efficient way for them to learn and be updated about government ID processes and other adulting tasks without having to jump from one website to another. They would also like to have a more structured way of being informed with the tasks that need to be done when going through any of these processes.

The Personas

Given the data and the participants I’ve been presented with thus far, I was able to come up with two personas to humanize these findings and to represent the different ways an individual could go about learning information and processing government IDs and other adulting tasks.

Figure 4. Mapping out personas on Miro

First off we have Meticulous Mary, who is always prepared for any task at hand. She prefers to come overprepared for anything, which includes making constant checklists and schedules. However, she struggles when the information presented to her is scattered and all over the place.

Figure 5. Meticulous Mary Persona

Our other persona is Independent Irene, who has to do most of the adulting tasks on her own because she doesn’t really have anyone whom she can consult with. She does a lot of her own research, but can easily become overwhelmed when she has difficulty understanding the steps needed to take in order to achieve something.


Figure 6. Independent Irene Persona

With these personas in mind, I began to come up with my own solution features. When ideating the solution, I chose to merge the two personas’ needs to build up the solution’s features. However, I believe this could be more beneficial for Independent Irene, who does not have much of a support system and would find more value in having digestible information in one accessible area. To aid Meticulous Mary with her needs, I decided to incorporate some features into my solution that would be of benefit to her as well.

The Solution

The product that I sought to create was a mobile application, since I wanted it to be accessible to many. This will also make it possible for me to have some information and features become available even when offline.

Based on the findings of the study, I began the ideation of the app that could act as a solution to the problems raised. The biggest insight I gained from the interviews was that:

The participants liked hearing about other people’s experiences because it made them more aware of other information that aren’t explicitly mentioned in government sites. This is also why they prefer reading blog sites and articles instead of going through some of the government websites. Hearing from others also makes them feel that they are not alone with navigating through adulthood.

Participants seemed to want a venue for them to be able to see how others are doing with their own adulting journeys, leading me to envision an online community or support group wherein collaboration can be fostered. With that first insight, I wanted to create two of my product’s main features. First, we have the Allies feature that includes a Discussion Board where users can start a public discussion with other users, such as asking questions or asking opinions on a certain topic or task. Users can also choose to give out “Tips” – short pieces of information that could quickly aid those in need. Taking inspiration from online forum websites such as Reddit, users may also choose to like, comment, save another user’s post, and add the user as their “Ally”, enabling users to interact with others as well.

The second main feature I sought to create was an Articles feature where users can easily choose to read blog articles on different topics such as getting government IDs, paying rent, or even starting a career. Users will be able to search for what articles interest them within the app.

Furthermore, I also discovered that:

Participants struggled with trusting government websites because of the websites’ design – they found it confusing to understand and navigate. They want to be able to see all the information they need about a government office, as well as the requirements needed to process an ID.

The participants expressed their frustrations with the websites and their designs. They felt that it was difficult to comprehend the information, leading me to believe that it would be best to have this information become more digestible with the help of layman’s terms. In addition, I aimed to make it easier for users to have access to the information that they would usually search for in various government websites. I sought to address this with the Government feature, wherein users can search for a government ID, and all the updated necessary information for getting that government ID will be found, including the process, the government offices involved, and the requirements needed. Users will also be able to Search for a government office close to their location.

Finally, the last main insight that I discovered from this study was that:

Participants could sometimes put off getting some requirements done, leading them to forget what they need for their applications and making them even more overwhelmed.

They prefer having their own checklists and schedules to help remind them of their tasks and deliverables. In an article by Louise Chunn on the psychology of the to-do list and why our brains seem to love them so much, Dr David Cohen, author and psychologist, explains that to-do lists seem to work for many because (1) they lessen one’s anxiety about the uncertainty of life, (2) they give us a plan we can stick to, and (3) they are proof of what we have achieved.

Thus, the feature that I thought of was to give them an Organizer that enables them to create simple checklists and add the tasks that they need to complete for each checklist. They will also be able to mark each task as “completed”, and look into how many tasks they have done so far. Users can then opt to check the in-app Calendar to take a look at what tasks need to be done in a certain month or day. To help them be reminded of their checklists, notification alarms or reminders can also be set to keep them on track.

Aside from the possible features that I thought of, the participants also gave their own suggestions, such as placing a “Date Updated” tag on each article to inform users if the information posted is fairly recent. This will also help users feel more secure about the legitimacy of the article’s information. Since I only had limited time to complete the prototype, I ranked the importance of the features, with the Red Routes Analysis as a guide on which features I should prioritize first.

Figure 7. Red Routes Analysis

The Prototype


Figure 8. Designing the Prototype through Figma

After I have laid out my personas and identified which features I can implement for my solution, I began designing my prototype through the online platform, Figma. There was a mixture of excitement and hesitation when going into the prototype designing process because this was the first mobile app prototype I’ve ever had to create. To help me with the process of designing my prototype’s UI and its interactions, I employed the help of the rest of On-Off Group’s UX Team and Experience Designers.


Figure 9. Landing page and Sign Up / Login page

Upon opening the app, users are greeted with screens that show quick explanations of the essence of the app. Users are then prompted to either Login or Sign Up for the app. In the Sign Up and Login pages, users can choose to go through the “Forgot Password” route for instances wherein they may forget their login details.


Figure 10. Creating your account, setting the app’s language, and identifying your interests

Once the user has Signed Up for the app, it prompts you to enter details such as your name and profile picture, although this can be changed later on within the app itself. The app also asks which language you’d be most comfortable using, and allows you to choose either English or Filipino. I decided this would be a good feature to add in the app, considering that not many Filipinos are completely fluent in English. Adding this feature would allow the app’s content to be more comprehensive. Additionally, the app asks you which topics you are most likely interested in learning about. I added this feature to enable users to have article recommendations that best suit their needs and interests.


Figure 11. Home Page

After successfully creating their account, users are then brought to the Home Page. The Home Page essentially shows the user recommended articles, as well as popular discussions and tips. A search bar lies on the top of the page, to make it easier for users to quickly navigate the app. In the top right, the user’s profile picture is displayed. The red circle with the number connected to the profile picture simulates a user’s unread notifications.

Figure 12. Article Page

Users can choose to navigate to the Articles Page, where various blog articles can be read. Recommendations tailored for the user is the topmost category, while the rest can be found below, or through the search bar. When users click on an article, they can also choose to share this to other users they are friends with, or to other social media platforms.


Figure 13. Allies Page and Adding Content

In the Allies Page, users can find their Profile, and popular topics and discussions within the app. They can also navigate through tags to make it easier to filter content. On the bottom right, the plus button allows users to create their own content. When creating posts, users can choose to add hashtags to filter these, as well as make these only accessible to those who are their “friends”, or in this app’s case, “allies”. This permits users to have control over whoever sees their posts, especially if they wish to post something that they would only like a few to see.


Figure 14. Sending an Ally Request

To build their network and also see what their friends have been saving on the app, users can also send “Ally Requests”. Allies are able to see a user’s private posts and saved content.


Figure 15. Organizer Page

In the Organizer Page, users can find the number of tasks they have for the day and how many they have completed. The user’s existing checklist is also featured on the page, with a meter to show the percentage of what they have completed. I added this feature for users to have an idea as to how much they have already achieved. It is also through this page that users can create new checklists and tasks, as well as check on their calendars for any tasks needed for the month or during a specific day.


Figure 16. Government Page

The Government Page is where users can opt to read about a certain government process such as getting a Philippine passport. Content will include requirements, steps, and visual aids to further engage users and make it more efficient for them to learn about what needs to be done when getting these IDs. Aside from this, users can also search for a government office close to their current location.


Figure 17. Profile Page

Finally, users can find their own content, as well as their saved content on their profile pages. Their notifications are also accessed through here. If they wish to filter the posts or edit their page’s information along the way, this is made possible through the “Edit Profile” feature. Users may also select their profile’s colors in order to personalize their profiles even further.

The Usability Testing

Once the first iteration of my prototype was completed, I invited four (4) of the participants I had during my user interviews to test out the prototype through remote Usability Tests. These Usability Tests were conducted with Figma, Google Meet and Zoom.

The Usability Tests (UTs) consisted of tasks for the participants to accomplish given certain scenarios. This enabled me to get feedback on the first iteration of the prototype through the observation of the following:

  • How they reacted to the tasks that were asked of them
  • What they chose to click on given a certain task or scenario
  • What they expected to see from the pages and features of the app
  • What points of confusion they experienced from the app

Of the four participants I invited for the UTs, two (2) were from the Meticulous Mary persona, and the other two (2) were classified under the Independent Irene persona.

The app received generally positive feedback during the UTs. However, no first iteration is perfect, and participants still experienced pain points while navigating the app. These are the following:

  • The navigation bar not popping out as much due to the color and contrast choice
  • Wanting the option to login and sign up for the app through Google or Facebook
  • Confusion on what the stars in discussion boards meant (participants believed it was a way to rate discussion boards, when it actually just meant that they “liked” the discussion board)
  • Confusion on what “Following” another user meant (participants were unsure whether or not this meant that they were now friends with the user)

The participants included very valid and useful suggestions for the app. However, one stood out from the rest. This participant suggested that the app should have an automated checklist where users can immediately turn the list of requirements from one of the app’s government articles into a quick checklist. I realized that this is a feature that can be very valuable to add, since many of the app’s potential users are those who are looking for information on government IDs, including what requirements are needed. To make it faster and easier for them to do the tasks related to the government ID process, it will be beneficial for the users to have an option to create an immediate checklist from the article itself.

Despite the pain points mentioned above, the app garnered an average rating of 9.25/10. Participants believed that this app could greatly benefit those who are in need of adulting advice, and that it has all the necessary features that they would require to learn about adulting tasks. One even mentioned that “If this were a real thing, I would definitely install this”, and another said “This could’ve saved me so much time and money if it were real”. They find the app to be user-friendly and straightforward.

Although I initially believed that the Government feature would be a crowd-favorite, the participants really favored the Articles feature because it allowed them to read about other topics aside from government IDs. The Allies feature was also one of the well-received portions of the app. One participant mentioned that It filled a gap. It shows us the experiences of other people, as well as tips that you wouldn’t normally find in articles”.

The Second Iteration

I received quite a lot of good feedback from the participants, yet it would be impossible for me to implement them all in such a short amount of time. Thus, I compiled the suggestions that were mentioned the most, and implemented them in the second iteration of the app.

The second iteration included the following changes:

  • An Automated Checklist option to make it easier for users to generate checklists based on what government ID they would like to apply for
  • An option for users to Sign Up and Login using Google and Facebook
  • A darker contrast for the navigation bar
  • Changing the “Following” button to “Add as Ally” instead, to make it easier for users to understand how to add others as their friend (or in this case, their “ally”)
  • Changing the star icon into a heart icon to ensure that users understand that they are “liking” the discussion board
  • Adding some copy to the articles so that users can visualize what type of content would be placed in an article

With these changes implemented, I can finally introduce my solution to this problem!
Enter, Ally, your ally in all things adulting:
The word “Ally” means someone that you have on your side, likely someone who is more experienced, who can provide assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle. Just like its namesake, I hope that Ally could act as a safe space wherein individuals no longer feel nervous about going into adulthood alone – they now have their allies to support them through their struggles.

The full prototype can be tested and accessed here.
Here are some screens from the second iteration of the app, where changes are reflected:

Figure 17. Some updated screens of changes made after UT Analysis. Illustrations from Stories by Freepik and stock images from Unsplash.

Moving Forward

It should be said that I chose not to call the most recent prototype my “Final Product”. Instead, I opted to call it my “Second Iteration” because I believe that there are many other iterations that could be done to further improve the app. Although my time with On-Off Group is coming to an end, I would like to continue working on this prototype to determine how else it can be elevated.

For one, I would like to improve the app’s overall UI design. As someone who is still learning to grow in design, it would be interesting for me to continue working on this app when I have more time to explore UI in its entirety. The content of the app could also be built upon; making art to show the step-by-step process of applying for IDs would help users visualize the steps and make the information more user-friendly. I would also like to explore other suggestions mentioned by the participants, including the option for users to connect through their professions and other interests.

If there was one thing I learned from this whole journey, it’s that I shouldn’t sell myself short. My confidence while working on this project wasn’t the best, mostly because I believed that my app wasn’t as excellent as I hoped it would be. However, by completing this project, I have already exhibited an understanding of the UX Design process, and it could only get better from here! I came into this internship with little to no experience and knowledge, and I left with a product that I could truly be proud of. As I worked on this project, I learned about different UX theories and analyses, and applied them to solve a real-world problem. Aside from this, my skills in communicating with others were also honed and challenged as I conducted my user interviews and UTs. Finally, I had my first taste of UI and UX design as I created my very first mobile app prototype.

It was no easy feat, but I hope I can continue on my UX journey with the tools that have been given to me in the span of this 3-month internship. I aim to only grow in knowledge and experience from here, and I am eager to pursue human-centered design to benefit and touch the lives of many others.

Jillian Aliño

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