Worthi by Citi x SVA

user research +
product design

Worthi by Citi x SVA

user research + product design


As part of the Citi University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery program, my team of four School of Visual Arts MFA Interaction Design graduate students created a solution for promoting skills-based job growth. Inspired by our research and the core goals of Worthi by Citi, we reimagined the web-based tool to incorporate more exploration. Our project was the winner of the Strategic Innovation in Product and Service Design pitch competition.

Researcher Role

I led exploratory research to better understand the motivations and struggles of job seekers. Throughout the design process, the research insights kept my team aligned and focused on our users as we created personas, journey maps, and design concepts. I conducted usability testing that informed iterations of our high-fidelity prototype. Further user feedback was also incorporated into our proposed product roadmap.


In-depth interviews ◦ Activity-based interviews ◦ Stakeholder interviews ◦ Affinity mapping ◦ Persona development ◦ Competitive analysis ◦ Moderated usability testing ◦ Remote collaboration


Empathy maps  ◦ User personas ◦  Customer journey map ◦ User flow ◦ Wireframes  ◦ High-fidelity interactive prototype  


Zoom ◦ Miro ◦ Google Sheets ◦ Figma


Sarah Ann Jump, Nikhil Singh, Yuxuan Hou, and Cyan Guan
Advised by Citi Ventures Studio's Alex West and Peri Becker
Advised by SVA professors Roger Mader and Criswell Lappin


Completed over 10 weeks in the fall of 2020

Design Process

Roger Mader's 4D design process converges and diverges to answer the questions: What is your goal? What are the user needs? What is an optimal solution? How do you deploy it for the greatest market impact?

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Tools + Methods

User interviews ◦ Card sorting ◦ Stakeholder interviews  ◦ Empathy mapping ◦ Affinity mapping ◦ Persona development ◦ Customer journey mapping ◦ Competitive analysis ◦ Wireframing ◦ Prototyping ◦ Moderated usability testing ◦ Remote collaboration using Zoom, Miro, Google Sheets + Figma

Team + Duration

Completed over 10 weeks in the fall of 2020 by Sarah Ann Jump, Nikhil Singh, Yuxuan Hou, and Cyan Guan. Advised by Citi Ventures Studio's Alex West and Peri Becker, and SVA professors Roder Mader and Criswell Lappin.

4D Design Process

Roger Mader's 4D design process converges and diverges to answer the questions: What is your goal? What are the user needs? What is an optimal solution? How do you deploy it for the greatest market impact?

Bullseye with arrow
magnifying glass
light bulb

How might we help job seekers use workforce data to make informed career decisions?

The Problem


The Citi Ventures Studio team presented us with a design challenge based on their recently launched skills-based job growth tool, Worthi. They believed there was an opportunity to use the same workforce data to create a new user journey that incorporated more exploration. We were tasked with conducting user research to understand which metrics job seekers consider when making career decisions, designing a customer journey and user interface, and building a prototype with real facts and figures.

Our Solution

Our reimagined version of Worthi allows job seekers to search for any role, understand the job data, calculate their personal market worth, learn which skills could help them advance in their careers, explore new career paths based on their current skills, connect with free online courses, and save all of their information to a profile they can return to when they are ready to learn.

Research Plan


Week 1

  • Secondary research
  • Develop research goals

Weeks 2 + 3

  • Recruit participants
  • Conduct user interviews

Week 4

  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Synthesis of findings

Week 9

  • Conduct usability testing
  • Produce usability report

Role & Responsibilities

Responsibilities of my role as the lead UX researcher included: writing research goals, writing interview discussion guide, creating interview activity, recruiting participants, leading interviews, facilitating team synthesis workshop, conducting usability testing, presenting the findings, and making design recommendations.

Research Goals

  • Identify the ways people research potential careers
  • Learn how people identify and acquire new skills
  • Understand which factors people consider and find the most motivating when making career decisions

User Interviews

I conducted seven remote user interviews with participants located in seven different cities in the US. Participants ranged in age from 18 to early-50's and included undergraduate and graduate students, people pivoting careers, and people seeking career advancement.

“It’s been an exhausting experience. It’s kind of like you’re sending the application into a black hole and hoping someone sees it.” 

laid-off museum science educator

“There’s nothing a job could offer me that would make me want to give up family time.” 

laid-off social media editor & father of two

Motivating Factors Activity

Each of our interview participants also completed an activity ranking nine factors that motivate them when making career decisions. Participants could add a factor, exclude factors they deemed not important, and rank factors as equally important. After sorting, I asked participants to define each term in their own words and explain their rankings.


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To make sense of the qualitative data, I started with a spreadsheet that was populated immediately after each interview session.  I then created an empathy map for each participant.

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I used affinity mapping to cluster the results from our secondary and user research, color coded by information source. The themes that emerged were: learning new skills, trust & network, job search experience, the pandemic, and a breakdown of motivating factors when accepting a job.

Research Insights

Job Stability & Job Flexibility

The coronavirus pandemic has elevated the importance of job stability and flexibility for many. 

Trusted Sources

Job seekers trust their network and local resources more than other sources of career information.

Online Learning Challenges

Maintaining motivation while learning online is difficult, especially with self-paced courses.

Where to Start?

People don’t know which keywords to use for roles and skills when searching to find applicable positions.

Top Motivating Factors

The top motivating factors when making career decisions: work-life balance, workplace culture, and fulfillment.


  • Help job seekers connect with local resources.
  • Include indicators of job stability and work-life balance.
  • Incorporate networking tools.
  • Help online learners maintain motivation.
  • Help job seekers make sense of their skillsets in order to find new roles.


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We developed three personas based on user research and stakeholder input. Ellie the Switcher wants to learn new skills in order to make a career change. Ethan the Explorer is just starting to research the job market. Jenn the Changer is looking to change roles but continue utilizing her current skill set. These research-informed personas helped us design with different segments of users in mind, while staying aligned on the potential users' needs.



collage with sketches

We started off the ideation process by each sketching initial concepts for four different solutions. We gathered feedback from our Citi stakeholders to further iterate, understand feasibility, and prioritize features.

Design Principles

Humanize Data

Help users understand workforce data using visualizations, qualitative factors, real-world context, and personalization

Explore Skills

Help users understand potential career advancement and new job opportunities based on skills they have or want to learn

Visual Identity

The visual design aims to strike a balance between friendly and professional.

Examples of visual identity including button styles, colors and typefaces

Modular Components

Modular components, such as Role cards, Course cards, and Skill pills, were designed to be reused throughout different sections of the web app and to make the design easily translate from mobile to desktop.

Machine learning course card
pill-shaped bubbles with names of skills inside

Prototype Phases

basic wireframe of explore skills
colorful basic wireframe of explore skills
final wireframe of explore skills

User Flow

Worthi is a web-based tool with three main sections: Explore, Grow, and Profile, which are easily accessible by a bottom navigation on mobile.

Usability Testing

I conducted three usability testing sessions to see what pain points users experienced when using Worthi. We were able to iterate on our prototype based on the feedback, which revealed three major issues:

  • Users did not immediately understand the purpose of Worthi.
  • Navigation issues hinder exploration.
  • The overuse of the word "Explore" caused confusion.

We prioritized iterating on the landing page experience, where all of these issues were present. We remedied the issue of users not understanding Worthi by restructuring the landing page and editing the copy writing to emphasize Worthi’s purpose and core features. The proximity of the "Calculate your worth" button to the job title search box was a particular pain point among users, who thought the two were connected. We also reevaluated the sequence of sections to better reflect the usefulness of Worthi's features, according to our users.



Final Prototype

View Prototype
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worthi by citi logo

Making workforce data accessible to promote skills-based job growth. With Worthi, you can:

  • Search 1,800+ job titles to learn more about the role and its data
  • See which skills could help advance your career
  • Explore new career paths based on your current skills
  • Connect with free online courses
  • Calculate your personal worth
  • Bookmark the roles and courses that you're interested in

Research Impact

Features such as the Qualitative Insights indicators of Work-Life Balance and Job Stability and the Day In A Life section were a direct result of the user research insights about what motivates job seekers when making career decisions and how their attitudes have changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The ability to search for potential new roles that match your skills came from user frustrations about the inconsistency of job titles and use of keywords in job listings across platforms — they weren't sure where to even start when it came to searching by job title.

various screens from final prototype

Business Model


For our product pitch presentation, we worked on a business model based on Doblin's Ten Types of Innovation. Our business-to-consumer revenue model includes a free account with advertisements and a paid premium account with additional features. Our business-to-business revenue model includes licensing Worthi to universities for students to access premium features.

Next Steps

If we were to continuing working on this project, we would focus on developing four additional features based on user research:

  • Learning tracker to help maintain motivation and visualize progress, based on the research insight that online learners struggle in this area.
  • Integrating networking tools and access to career coaching to make the process more personalized, based on the research insight that job seekers  most trust their network and local resources.
  • Resume builder that helps users understand the importance of skills, based on frustrations expressed during user interviews.
  • Job search portal to take users into the next step of finding work. This would allow Worthi to develop a platform that in addition to jobs, provides information on employers, to meet the users' desire to know more about workplace culture, diversity, and inclusion.


screenshot from Zoom of 4 team members
Team Worthi after our final pitch presentation with custom Zoom backgrounds

Distributed team projects are challenging. Due to the pandemic, the first year of our graduate program was held virtually. Two of my teammates were based in China, 13 hours ahead of New York. We used remote collaboration tools to make this project happen and that's something to be proud of. Still, I can't help but wonder if our collective inspiration would have been greater if we were together in the studio.

I love research! This was the project that gave me my first taste of what it means to be a user researcher. One of our stakeholder interviews was with Citi's Senior UX Research Manager, Jennifer Shuang, and I really resonated with the way she described research's ability to help understand people and impact the direction of the project.

One usability test can tell you so much. The book Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research by Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky, and Andrea Moed rightfully starts off with a chapter titled "Do a Usability Test Now!". They are so simple to get started and can reveal so much about the functionality of the project. I wish we had started usability testing sooner in the design process, rather than waiting until we felt like our high-fidelity prototype was "ready". The findings were incredible helpful but we were limited in how many changes we could implement in our timeframe.