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Our Client
Team Size

5 People

DCU FinTech

1 Month


UX Research

Design Systems

DCU FinTech

DCU FinTech Innovation Center (DCU FIC) is a business that works to speed up the development of seed-stage startups by pairing them up with a suitable mentor. Previously, DCU FIC would have users apply through multiple websites, dissuading potential mentors from applying. This project's focus was to create a new onboarding system for mentors that's quick and easy, while still gathering all of the applicant's essential information.

User Research and Design for Mentor Onboarding

UX Challenges

UX Goals

My Role

DCU FIC's onboarding system was inefficient. The existing onboarding process was complicated. The user had to input information into three different websites, which resulted in an overlap of information. This meant additional work for the applicants and a longer review time for the DCU team.

Create a new onboarding process that gathers the most essential information from applicants while retaining their interest and keeping them engaged.

I worked alongside four UX designers as we conducted research on the FinTech marketplace and created an onboarding process based on our learnings. 

As the group mediator, my role was to ensure that the research findings were clear, as well as understandable to potential customers.




At the beginning of this project, my team and I had no knowledge of onboarding or the FinTech industry. Without pre-existing insights, our team set out to conduct user research and competitive analysis.

From the research, we found that all of DCU's competitors provided a similar service helping startups. DCU provides a more hands-on, in-depth approach to a normally cold business practice. We wanted to be sure tha
t our project conveyed the friendly and personable nature of DCU FinTech to help them stand out from the competition.

To gain further insight into what people expected from an onboarding system, we spoke with 3 subject matter experts and 5 mentors and mentees affiliated with DCU Fintech to share their experiences onboarding with DCU FIC and other Fintech companies.

I was given the opportunity to speak with one of the heads of DCU FinTech, who has a great deal of experience finding mentors to sign up for the program. He told me about his experiences reaching out and personally meeting with mentors to onboard them. He said his friendly approach was why he was able to get so many mentors to sign up, which became much more difficult due to COVID-19. This is why it became so important to update the onboarding process on DCU FinTech's site.

I also interviewed a highly experienced member of the FinTech industry who was recently onboarded into the DCU FinTech system. He shared his experience, explaining his preference for human interaction over a website application. He also spoke about mentorship programs and how meeting new clients excites him.


Our team reconvened after conducting the interviews and wrote out all of the insights that we gathered. We then determined which ones occurred the most frequently and which ones could be helpful in designing the onboarding process. The following is a list of the key insights we gathered.

  • DCU FIC’s in-person, casual business model is appreciated but is seen as outmoded.

  • Website usage and engagement is low, stating it lacks interactivity or any relevant information.

  • Most members have visited the website only a couple of times, citing there’s nothing for them on it.

  • Mentors and startups alike agree that time is their highest priority.

  • Users want accessible and traceable communication.



Using these insights, our team had a brainstorming session where we created potential problem statements. After spending time refining these statements we were able to generate the following problem statement:

Time-conscious prospective DCU FinTech mentors need an intuitive & personable on-boarding process to facilitate mentor/mentee interactions because current methods are too onerous for the current DCU FIC staff.



Based on our insights and problem statement, we created 3 design principles that we referred to throughout our design process.

DCU Fintech is based on personable interactions between professionals. The platform’s tone and manner will be aimed to resonate more deeply with users.

DCU FIC’s system makes more work than necessary for its employees. Make the platform sleek and modern while still functional.

The Innovation Center’s three-site method was “Frankensteined” together over time out of necessity, so the new solution will be flexible enough to grow with ease.

Empathy Map

In order to get a more clear image of our clientele, we created a mind map to better understand the headspace of an applying mentor. Each note was created based on comments we had heard from our user interviews.


With a clearly defined problem and a set principles to solve it, our first phase was complete. We shared our findings with the DCU FinTech team to keep them updated with our progress. While this meeting occurred, we began conceptualizing different concepts with the client to make sure that our visions aligned.

Concepts & User Interview Round 2

We then created 3 concepts based on our sketches and met with 6 mentors to test what aspects of these prototypes were fit to be apart of DCU FinTech's final site.

The idea behind the first concept was to emphasize DCU FinTech's friendly nature by adding a Chatbot feature to the site. This would emphasize DCU Fintech's personal nature as it allows applicants to feel welcome as they begin their onboarding process. In addition, we created a standard onboarding layout that asks for details such as areas of expertise, areas of interest, and preferred communication methods.

Concept A


  • Onboarding process was easy and familiar to use

  • Mentor/Mentee is easy to find thanks to the Chatbot feature and the website’s layout

  • The Chatbox provides users with plenty of information

  • Autofill for profile details would be greatly appreciated

  • Size of font needed to be adjusted

  • Needs notifications on the dashboard


When creating this concept, our team wanted to get users excited about their onboarding process by providing applicants with information about DCU FinTech's successes. The pages for this onboarding process were succinct in order to make the process feel more personable. Additionally, once the application has been submitted, the user is provided with various resources to teach them more about the company and to keep them engaged.

Concept B


  • The information presented is overwhelming, needs to be toned down 

  • The current information presented needs to be adjusted in order to be useful for those who are already familiar with DCU FinTech

  • More boasting about previous successes would be appreciated.


  • Information is useful to people unfamiliar with DCU FinTech

  • Seeing DCU’s previous successes allows mentors to be more enthusiastic about the mentoring program.

Concept C was the most standard onboarding process with a regular amount of information to submit and a progress bar that fills up as the user progresses. Upon completion of the application, a social media type profile is created for the applicant allowing them to engage with the DCU FinTech community. Notable features of the social media page include messaging, updates from other companies/mentors, and the ability to update your own company's status.

Concept C


  • More clear differentiation between mentors and mentees on the profile page

  • Too many pages with too little information on each page

  • A social media type profile on the site might be a bit overwhelming for mentors


  • Simplicity is always appreciated

  • Being connected to DCU’s network especially mentees is exciting​

After hearing the mentors' feedback on our site concepts, we converged the best aspects of each site into the final product. To begin this process, we created a site map that would work as the blueprint for the final page layout of our converged design.

Convergent Wireframes


Site Map

This is the final convergent prototype. We focused more on the moderate amount of information and clicks per page, as most mentors stated that a simple approach to onboarding is appreciated. We acknowledged requests to expand the options for certain questions, and clarified unspecific options that were in previous drafts.

Once the process was complete, a profile is created. Most mentors enjoyed the idea of a miniature social media page. It acts as a showcase for DCU Fintech's successes. The ability to connect the calendar with outside sites was also included to assist with mentor/mentee scheduling. 

Our team conducted a final round of user testing following our design completion. We reconvened for a final affinity diagramming session where we compiled and organized the list of insights provided to us by our test subjects. The key insights we were able to generate were:

Annotated Wireframes

Final Steps

User Testing :
Converged Wireframes

Following our completion of the final prototype, our team went on to create a wireframe kit and annotated wireframes to create a better understanding of the final product and for anyone who wishes to continue our project.

  • The onboarding flow is easy to use and intuitive, citing it’s straightforward and efficient

  • Users like many features, including the calendar, newsletter, and non-mandatory actions (filling out the bio, linking Linkedin, etc.)

  • Some say the site’s aesthetics are uninspired and boring

  • Some of the language, like “apply now” is vague and confusing and there needs to be more clarity.

  • There could be more features that encourage engagement, like gentle reminders for events, or even an expository video



Finally, we created a future recommendations document that explains our ideas, areas that need to be expanded upon, and subjects that need further research. Noteworthy points we made include communication features for mentors and mentees and further user testing with our prototypes.

Home Improvement

User Research & Design


User Research & Design

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