Part 2: What “Lean UX” looks like - a story of product development

Posted by Michelle Zassenhaus

May 24, 2013 @ 07:46 AM

The second part in a multi-part series about the "Lean UX" approach to product development at TheLadders.

Last time we met, I introduced the concept of "Lean UX", and discussed how we're putting it to work in the development of our mobile application. We got our arms around the core hypotheses, and did some quick tests with users. Next, we wanted to see how our concepts would shake out with recruiters - because after all, we can't make job seekers happy if they aren't hearing from the people who have the jobs.

The Meaning of "Team" (and why it's essential to Lean UX)

Before going further, please allow me a brief interlude on what it means to be a "team" at TheLadders. We work in a loose agile/scrum approach (more buzzwords!) - which essentially means that cross-functional teams take on a problem statement and solve them independently. While the size of the teams vary, they often follow this configuration: development team (3-5 engineers including Q/A), a scrum master (or tech lead), a product owner, a UX designer, and a Visual Designer. (Additionally, copywriters work across teams.) The scrum master, product owner and UX designer form a sort of trifecta of team leadership, but in general, the entire team collaborates around creating solutions.

Topics: Life @TheLadders, TheLadders Dev

Getting “Uncubed”

Posted by TheLadders Contributor

May 22, 2013 @ 12:31 PM

Sean talks about getting "uncubed" with some of the most influential folks from NYC's technology sector.

I'll admit it, I love attending job fairs. Sure, it's an incredibly exhausting experience to talk to one person after another for several hours. However, if you thrive on interacting with others, it is also hugely stimulating. I've attended a number of job fairs lately looking for great engineers to join our team here at TheLadders. 

Uncubed, which we attended Friday, is one of my favorites. It bills itself as something of an "un-job fair." I'm going to respectively disagree with them. Uncubed is everything I love about job fairs but taken up a notch. The energy level is higher. Perhaps it's the music, or the food, or the alcohol that flows freely. Maybe it's the electricity that is New York City and its citizens. Whatever it is, Uncubed feels different. Louder. Stronger. Faster. Better.

Topics: Life @TheLadders, TheLadders Dev

Igniting my network with NAPW... and Star Jones!

Posted by Amanda Augustine

May 15, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

I recently attended the 2013 NAPW National Networking Conference. Approximately 1,500 successful business women from all over the country gathered in New York City for a day of learning, networking, and inspiration.

If you’ve read my articles on The Career Chronicles, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you’ve probably read about my involvement in the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) before. NAPW is an exclusive network for professional women to interact, exchange ideas, educate, and empower.

Topics: Life @TheLadders

On a first-name basis with success? Your mom chose your name wisely.

Posted by TheLadders Contributor

May 06, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

TheLadders urges mothers to use nicknames for their kids.

Happy Mother’s Day! In celebration of all the hard-working mothers out there, we recently conducted a study to see if the names they choose for their children could have possibly dictated their future success in the workplace. First, we analyzed data around first names from TheLadders’ nearly 6 million members against variables such as industry, salary level, and location. We wanted to prove the null hypothesis that what your mother names you makes a difference.

Second, we populated a few lists, hoping they would generate some additional questions. We started by aggregating and sorting names that were at the top of each list:

Top five C-level names, by gender, in ratio to their overall frequency:

Topics: TheLadders Insights

Not hearing back from recruiters? We know why.

Posted by TheLadders Contributor

May 02, 2013 @ 07:30 AM

TheLadders conducts a study on job-seeker behavior using “eye-tracking” technology to help job seekers close up the job search "black hole."

GazeTrace

Anyone who has ever looked for a job knows the drill: find job online, send resume, wait, and never hear back. If you’re sending out dozens of resumes, like most job seekers do, you’re likely familiar with this broken process -- and frustrated when you don’t get a response. In the careers industry, this broken loop even has a notorious name: “The Black Hole.”

Recently, TheLadders conducted a study on job-seeker behavior using “eye-tracking” technology to determine how we could help close The Black Hole while leading job seekers to their perfect job. We analyzed how job seekers view job postings, what they actually saw, what they concentrated on, and what they totally missed.

If you’re unfamiliar with eye tracking, it’s a way to record and analyze where someone focuses on a page, and in what order they do it (see cool visualizations above).

Topics: TheLadders Insights

Part 1: What “Lean UX” looks like - a story of product development

Posted by Michelle Zassenhaus

May 01, 2013 @ 05:02 AM

The first part in a multi-part series about the "Lean UX" approach to product development at TheLadders.

There are lots of buzz words flying around in product development these days, but what they are and how they are applied can be hard to grasp. I'd like to pull the curtain back and share how we've been applying “Lean UX” in product development at TheLadders.

My team has been working on an iPhone application for our job seekers, which is due to launch in the coming months. As Lead User Experience Designer on the project, I have collaborated closely with my team, applying a "Lean UX" approach - which TheLadders is known for, thanks to the great work of Jeff Gothelf and Will Evans, my predecessors here. In this multi-part series, I'll share with you how we got through the early, foggy stages of product definition quickly; how we built out the guts of our app while constantly testing with users; and a cutting-edge long-term study we're running with real users for the last two months of development, while we refine the last set of features.

Topics: Life @TheLadders, TheLadders Dev

Shaping the paths of tomorrow’s leaders

Posted by Guest Contributor

April 24, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

TheLadders takes time to help shape tomorrow's leaders at a local high school career day.

Last week, we held our third annual Career Day at Richard R. Green High School of Teaching. Career Day is an afternoon when professionals from across the city come to the school to speak with our students in small classroom settings about their career paths and industries. The big idea, of course, is to expose our students to careers they may never have even heard of through a compelling personal connection, in hopes of inspiring them to pursue whatever it is that they really love and are excited about during and after college.

What’s unique about this event is that every single one of our 550 students, regardless of academic standing or self-motivation, gets to participate.

Topics: Life @TheLadders

Drawing inspiration from unlikely places

Posted by Benjamin Grohé

April 11, 2013 @ 02:11 PM

TheLadders mobile app team gets inspired from an unlikely source -- Ben Grohe explains.

In my last post, I wrote about why it’s important to challenge your existing assumptions when you build products for mobile devices. As I explained in that article, it is not enough to merely copy (web) functionality and make it look nice on a smaller screen; you have to first re-think what functionality is necessary for a mobile platform. Today, I want to talk about finding inspiration in new places.

When we started our competitive research early in 2013, we investigated every major job-search app within Apple’s app store. We wanted to see how they dealt with the unique challenges of mobile devices and, more importantly, solved the problems of their mobile customers. To be frank, we were disappointed. Most apps just replicated their trusted web experience: login, search for jobs, save or email jobs, and sometimes (if you already had a resume on file), you were allowed to apply using your phone.

Not only do these well-known job-search processes require significant time, they are tasks better managed on a desktop or laptop where you have lots of screen space –which is something you don’t have on your phone.

Topics: TheLadders Dev

TheLadders Q1 Metrics: Taking 2013 by storm

Posted by Alexandre Douzet

April 09, 2013 @ 05:56 PM

TheLadders is the leading job-matching service for professionals. As a privately owned company, we do not disclose our financials. However, because we are constantly asked about our growth and performance by our outside stakeholders, we have decided to share with the outside world – for the first time -- selected company metrics on a quarterly basis.

First Quarter 2013 Highlights:

    • Jobs Posted by an Employer: In the first quarter of 2013, we have seen the number of jobs posted by employers on our site increase 116% year-over-year and 21% quarter-over-quarter. Jobs postings soared in Q4 2012 with our move to a free search and post model.

Topics: Life @TheLadders

Tech Talk: How to scale your database in the cloud

Posted by TheLadders Contributor

April 04, 2013 @ 07:16 AM

Last Thursday, I presented at the Clustrix NYC roadshow. Technical executives and leaders from two of the world’s largest database groups on Meetup, New York City’s MySQL and NewSQL groups, were treated to an in-depth presentation about our direct experience with Clustrix, a leading scale-out database. The event, hosted at our SoHo office, drew attendees from companies like SMBC Capital Markets, Getty Images, Pythian, Pixable, M-Square, and ACES.

Historically, databases were the bottleneck in any system, and in the web world, often the primary cause of website downtime and bad user experience. We wanted to keep the downtime as low as possible, so we looked for different ways to scale our database. We also wanted our developers to focus on adding value to our product, rather than spending time working on a database layer. The goal was to scale the system smoothly and economically as requirements increased. A new database system would be able to handle large numbers of concurrent users, provide continuous availability, and process extremely large data sets.

We had several options to scale our database: break it to smaller databases called shards, migrate to a simple key-value or a document store, buy a big iron database, or adopt a modern internet-scale database solution called NewSQL.

Topics: Life @TheLadders, TheLadders Dev