Et. al.
Designing a product from scratch


Product Designer - UX Designer - UX Researcher


Nov 2022 - May 2023 (7 months - part-time)

Figma Miro Figjam Google Forms OptimalSort
Product design UX research User research User interviews Generative research Information architecture Project management UX strategy Product-market fit

The company

Et. al. is a startup project aiming to connect researchers from various fields and places.

The project

Based on their own experiences, the founders of the project made the assumption that researchers feel isolated and don’t have the tools to find relevant connections. They wanted some help to shape their idea of a fun matching tool for researchers and ideas. This tool was meant to ease researchers into meeting new peers and engage conversation.

The mission

Building a strong foundation for product design

The founders had a rough idea of what they wanted.
However they didn’t know what to do next, or how.
My mission was to:

  • Define and qualify the target audience;
  • Identify their motivations and pain points;
  • Determine valuable features for them;
  • Articulate those features into a cohesive product.

The approach

Bring clarity and back-up decisions with evidence

I started this project by conducting some extensive research in order to clearly define the problem and the users, as well as the market opportunities for Et. al.

Techniques: quantitative surveys, user interviews, competitive analysis

Verify the initial assumption

To check whether we were looking in the right direction or needed to reframe the problem.

Research the competition

Learn what identified competitors do well, poorly or just don’t do and where Et. al. could fit in the market.

Research the target users

What do they need, what motivates or pains them...? Learn where the value lies for them to design a desirable product.

80%+ researchers collaborate with peers at least several times a week

They contact peers mostly during working hours (88%) or at least during the week

They mostly care about the peer’s current field of study when collaborating

Research findings

  • Researchers do feel isolated and no right tool exist for their connection needs
  • Competitors are seldom used for contacting peers
  • Engaging face to face with peers is hard on researchers, but is still the primary source of contact
  • Contact is made during work hours on computer
  • Engaging with peers takes time and energy
  • Researchers look for both collaboration and casual discussion

Objective redefinition

Research allowed to replace personal beliefs on researchers’ behaviours by facts to build a stronger product and make decisions backed by evidence. The product vision shifted a little:

Building the product from the ground up

With strong data to build upon, I created a set of tools to help start the ideation process.

Personas and use cases to stay user-focused.

Brainstorming workshops to organise our divergent thoughts on possible solutions to our users’ problems.

Et. al. solutions

The form:

  • Adaptive web application, to use on computer or phone
  • Curated information for time efficiency
  • Fun to use without gamification to avoid pressure.

Key features:

  • Feed - limited content with possible reloads
  • Other social-media-like features: messages, subscriptions, account, search
  • Various levels of anonymity as an effort to create a safe space and a high trust level
  • Fun interface, fun interactions
  • Monetised features.

For the product's architecture, I first drafted user flows for each key feature, then the map of the product. I tested this architecture with target users through a card sort to have a strong base to work on wireframes.

The result

A solid foundation for a desirable product

Through the research and ideation sessions carried out during this project, we defined what a valuable and desirable tool for researchers to connect with their peers would look like. Et. al. is now able to make data-driven decisions to build a strong, useful product that will find its place on the market.

A word from the team

I highly recommend Laure as a top-notch UX designer for your team. As a member of our sciencepreneur team for more than six months now, Laure has been a key player in bringing our idea to life. With her exceptional attention to detail and organizational skills, Laure is motivated to deeply understand user needs and deliver designs that strike the perfect balance between usability, accessibility, and aesthetics. She's also an incredible collaborator and team player, bringing a can-do attitude and a willingness to learn and grow. Her ability to present ideas and designs in a clear and compelling way, while being open to feedback and critique, made working with her fun and rewarding. I highly recommend Laure for any UX design position and look forward to continuing to work with her to achieve even greater success. Thank you, Laure, for your incredible dedication to our team!

Sofia Pazzagli, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher and Co-founder of Et. al.
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