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How might we better guide candidates through their experience by providing more intuitive navigation?

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Mentra by AxisAbility is an accessible web app designed to connect neurodiverse job seekers with employers and opportunities. Currently, it has launched their candidate experience, and is researching and building the employer experience, recruiter experience, and admin experience along with key partnerships.


Mentra recently won the AI for Accessibility challenge at Microsoft and the Inclusive Talent Pipeline for American Businesses challenge at the ACL. Learn more at



JUNE 2021 TO APRIL 2022

AUGUST 2021 TO MAY 2022




Mentra was created with neurodiverse people in mind, so every single aspect our our services -- from the website to the personal connections with clients to the web app to what we require of employers who want to use the services -- considers the unique challenges neurodiverse people face. We've even custom-designed our algorithms so that they are tailored specifically for these needs.

Neurodiversity is defined as the differences in expression of thought and may include disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, etc.

But it's not just enough to think through these challenges, even though I myself am neurodiverse and have experienced much of this firsthand. Instead, we've got to be willing to break things apart and constantly reevaluate our system.

After all, how can neurodiverse job seekers feel included when the site hasn't been designed with their needs in mind?


One of the first assignments I did for Mentra was to redesign the Essential Onboarding Questions page, which is the very first contact that our users have after signing up and verifying their email. Not only did the page lack any enticement to continue, but I quickly found out that it didn't meet its intended purpose. 

This is a screenshot of what the original page looked like in Figma:

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You see, this page is used by our staff to gather essential data needed to best assist our users in their job search process. But a lot of what they needed simply wasn't there, and users saw this page as uncaring and the same as every other job matching experience they'd had in the past.

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None of the rest of the page appears until the terms & conditions are checked, and the page appears in stages to chunk the overwhelming content.

I utilized existing cards and other components from our design system and made adjustments as needed to keep continuity throughout the web app experience.

I had to think creatively to avoid as many standard survey-style radial button questions as possible in order to best meet the needs of neurodiverse people.

In the page design, nothing appears unders "Where do you prefer to work?" unless In-Person is selected either alone or in tandem with Remotely. This was to reduce the perceived cognitive load for someone who only wants to look for remote opportunities.

Relocation tags in the text field were a new component that I created for our design system.

The last two questions are tied together through 3 separate map APIs. We recognized that a commute could vary greatly based on location and mode of transportation, so choosing transport-specific APIs alleviated many issues.


Our currently shipped navigation has everything out on the table, in either the top nav or the left nav. It's cluttered, bulleted with emoji, and frustrating. Worse than that, planned unreleased features such as the candidate dashboard only added to this problem and the cognitive processing power needed to get around.

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While it's true that many neurodiverse people often need tools in their sight to remember to use them, that doesn't mean they can't utilize real-world systems match heuristics to easily find things that are organized in a fashion similar to what they're familiar with. So, when redesigning the navigation and candidate dashboard, I set out to map what was essential, what was important, and what needed multiple connections to best support neurodiverse job seekers.

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What was incredibly important was building the information architecture now, before we add many of the planned advanced features into the mix, so that we could build on the foundational system later without needing to redesign.

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In the above screenshot, you can see that there are multiple connections to some elements as needed to help support memory recall and usage of tools. There's also the exploration of a new navigation element called Find Your Path and the different iterations of current features vs. future features.

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I'm still working on the candidate dashboard and overall experiences that will hopefully be finished and coded by the dev team in time for our second feature launch in February, but without showing too much, these questions are the areas I'm currently exploring to center the user to the created experience.


Currently, once a candidate fills out the Next Gen Profile, it's not clear what to do next or if there's even any value in what's been done so far. It's also not clear if and when a profile is active and viewable. This is not okay and definitely doesn't match our vision of truly changing the job seeking experience for neurodiverse people!

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That's why we've added a toolbar to the candidate's view of their profile, including Priority & Status (which launches a modal to mark if they're actively seeking jobs and if so, how urgently), View as Employer (to show what the employer sees on their profiles as they fill things out), and Share Profile (which launches a modal to make their profile visible, copy a shareable link, or send an email to share profile).

This version also highlights the Find Your Path navigation, which fundamentally changed the way we viewed the candidate dashboard -- from a linear checklist of experiences to a malleable, ever-changing algorithmic mesh of components based entirely on the user's progress and current needs.

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