SkillStack - selected screens on floating devices


Prototyping, Research, UI/UX

Adobe XD, Figma, Paper & Pencil

Design Fellow

Simone Stolzhoff, Mark Unger, Joy Zhang

IDEO CoLab, San Francisco

Spring 2019



Traditional paper résumés are a pain to make a show a limited picture of who a job seeker is as a person.


SkillStack is a mobile app for job seekers to "stack" their past experience, projects, and personality into a fun-to-consume story, using customizable cards.


Initial Exploration

We began the sprint by exploring IDEO's "Dynamic Workforce" pillar more broadly. The pillar looks at how the nature of work is fundamentally changing—especially with the rise in gig economy jobs and new relationships between human and machine.

The traditional medium required for applying to most jobs, a paper résumé, has not undergone proportionate changes to reflect this changing workforce. We were tasked with reimagining the résumé, in a way that is portable, user-owned, and useful in career planning.

"How Might We... help people build skills and competency profiles that are portable, user-owned, and useful in career planning?"
SkillStack - post-its from format brainstorm

Each member of our team spent some time individually researching the existing ways people showcase themselves for job applications.

We discussed creative formats, such as an interactive website, a personal story told through video, a graphical résumé, and qualifications communicated through a Twitter Moment.

Together, we went through each example, and noted what we liked and disliked about each résumé, as well as any questions we had or areas we wanted to further explore.

SkillStack - post-its from attributes brainstorm

Aside from formats, we also wanted to think about what a traditional paper résumé says about a person. Today, what is valued in a résumé, and who does it favor?

To do this, we held another brainstorming session in which we came up with different attributes that could be taken into consideration during a recruiting process. We categorized them by whether they are "never," "sometimes," or "always" evaluated via the résumé in the earliest stage.

Job Seeker Insights

We conducted three job seeker interviews. From our conversations, we learned that there are a few main problems:

1. There is a barrier to entry
Crafting a résumé that lands the job is difficult for those who have gaps in their career history, switched industries, or are in “gig economy” or freelance jobs.

2. It's hard to tailor applications
Customizing résumés for each role is a tedious process. Not only does it take a lot of time, but it is also ambiguous.

3. The boundaries are unclear
Telling a story infused with personality feels unnatural for some without clear structure or requirements.



With the problems clearly defined, our team members worked together on some sketches and brainstormed potential solutions.

SkillStack - customizable splash page with company matching idea
SkillStack - blockchain endorsement-based network idea
Sketches and notes on a few of my ideas that address the main problems we found with résumés
SkillStack - sketched ideas on wall

We each came up with a few ideas for how the insights from our interviews could translate to a product that best addressed our target users' needs.

Afterwards, we came together to explain our ideas, ask questions, and vote on our top three. SkillStack was the favorite.

SkillStack Exploration

Our team created quick mockups to test some of the top ideas we saw from our sketches: card formats and auto-generated content.

SkillStack - social media test card
SkillStack - photo portfolio test card
SkillStack - Medium link test card
Examples of social media, photo portfolio, and link cards, that can be user-uploaded or autogenerated.

Final Mobile App

Using the SkillStack mobile app, you can customize cards that paint a more true picture of yourself. "Stack" cards compiling your past experience, projects, and personality into a fun-to-consume story.

SkillStack - My Cards
SkillStack - Create a New Card
1. Select a card
Choose a preset card, such as "Introduction", or a custom one
SkillStack - creating Introduction video card
SkillStack - creating Introduction link card
2. Complete each card
Pick from audio, video, text, file, or link—and finish sequentially
SkillStack - add response rate & accuracy
SkillStack - add screen time breakdown
3. Add further information
View autogenerated content on your skills that you can include
SkillStack - My Cards (with 2 cards)
SkillStack - My Applications
4. Save and submit
The final product is compiled into a stack for job applications


For those who attended our booth at the public showcase, we offered the opportunity to make a stack using Instagram Stories and card assets we designed. Some attendees viewed the submitted stacks as if they were recruiters.

SkillStack - final prototype for demo day, with monitors and poster

Behind our booth, we put up a poster that summarized our research and deliverables.

Download Poster


Future thinking

The traditional paper résumé is mainly used for corporate positions today.

Takeaway: Instead of limiting our scope upfront, we thought beyond the résumé and who it caters today, to explore roles we may see more in the future (e.g. gig economy jobs).

A two-sided product

Job seekers and recruiters are both involved in the application process. However, they have different roles and needs.

: We had to work with a mixed group of individuals to create an improved system for both parties.

Next Steps

Launch a pilot program

Due to time constraints, we were not able to build out and test this product further.

Takeaway: I want to launch a pilot program (first working with a single company for certain postings), to test the entire flow.