Job Again UX Case Study

Mobile Application and Responsive Web Design

Facilitate employment opportunities for the formerly incarcerated    //    Connect employers with qualified candidates
High fidelity iPhone 15 design mockups displaying the Sign Up and Thank You pages of Mountain West Martial Arts.


Job Again


October 2023 - November 2023


UX Designer, Researcher, and Developer

Did you know?

In 2023, there are “over 2 million people incarcerated” in the United States (see World Population Review).

On top of that, “More than 440,000 people returned home from state and federal prisons in 2021 alone, while yearly releases from local jails are estimated in the millions.” (See full article at

Employment links to purpose

The main purpose of job again is to help facilitate higher rates of post-release employment.

Research and studies show that “Having a job, however, has been shown to reduce recidivism, and individuals are less likely to commit crimes when they have stable, full-time employment.”

While some people who were formerly incarcerated may not be actively seeking full-time employment, statistics show that they represent a minority of the population.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, “Formerly incarcerated people want to work. Their high unemployment rate reflects public will, policy, and practice — not differences in aspirations.”

Razor wire at the top of a fence.
Job Again mockup for the native mobile app Sign Up page.

Researching the need for a Job Again native mobile app

User research showed that the majority of people who will use Job Again are more likely to access the internet using mobile devices. This informed my decision to design for mobile devices first.

It also became apparent that a complementary native mobile app, dedicated to performing a job search and submitting applications, would be a necessary addition to the product design.

Can you explain the hardest part of finding a job as someone who has been incarcerated?

"The hardest part of finding a job as someone who has been incarcerated is the stigma. The gap in work experience also doesn't help." - User Interview participant

Minimizing pain points beyond social stigma

Users consistently reported pain points in four main areas:

  1. Stigma
  2. Gaps in employment history
  3. Lack of education
  4. Access to an employer network

Stigma presents an ever-present and looming hurdle for job seekers with a criminal history.

Gaps in employment history due to incarceration is at least a close second.

Lack of education, both around how to find a job and formal training or education needed to apply for specific kinds of jobs provides further complications for users seeking employment.

Access to an employer network where job seekers are not worried about being judged for their past is another equally-limiting factor.

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Every user who participated in user interviews reported experiencing social stigma.
Accessibility icon
Gaps in Employment History
Users also reported gaps in employment history as an important limiting factor in their ongoing search for employment.
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Lack of Education
Formal education beyond high school is much less common among the formerly incarcerated population.
Shield symbol with a check mark
Access to Employer Network
More than half of all participants mentioned the importance (but lack of) a network.

Solutions for common pain points

I conducted unmoderated usability testing to gain further clarity on how to best address common pain points. The user personas (pictured below) represent examples of real people who might use Job Again to conduct their job search.

User persona for Tonya ShieldsUser persona for Tonya Shields
Unique user personas for Job Again, informed by user research and interviews.

Rapid iteration + Low-fi paper wireframes

Quick iterations

After sketching 8 different possible layouts for the homepage on mobile devices, I picked out two, to use as references for their digital counterparts.

Digital wireframes

Once I was done converting paper wireframes to digital format in Figma, I began adding animations and transitions between the individual screens that make up the User Flow.

Low-fi prototype

When that was complete, I used my low fidelity digital prototype for the first round of unmoderated usability testing.

Paper wireframes of the Mountain West Martial Arts mobile web application homepage

Refining the prototypes

Although designing for mobile devices first was a priority, I also made sure to include designs for the sometimes neglected tablet and laptop viewport widths.

This helps ensure a seamless user experience for users no matter what device they use to browse the web.

Mountain West Martial Arts affinity diagram in Miro.

Using data synthesis to inform changes

Results from the usability testing made it clear that updates were needed. Areas of updates included a rearranging of the information architecture, and more concise copy to direct user traffic.

After I made the necessary changes to improve the user flow and information architecture, I refined the user interface design. As you can see in the examples below, a clean UI is not only necessary, but industry-standard.

mobile responsive homepage (before)
Updated high fidelity digital Android design mockup of the MWMA Sign Up page.
mobile responsive homepage (after)
High fidelity digital Android design mockup of the MWMA Scheduling page.
Our Mission page (before)
Updated high fidelity digital Android design mockup of the MWMA Scheduling page.
Our Mission page (after)
High fidelity digital prototype nodes and screen connections from a topographical view.

The native mobile app has a fairly complex user flow that can be simplified by sectioning the screens into three main steps. They are as follows:

  1. Sign up/Login
  2. Search Jobs/Submit applications
  3. Send Follow-up/Track applications

The native mobile app in action

The native mobile app also allows users to:

  • Enter employment history (which is stored for all future applications)
  • Search for jobs based on both category and years of experience
  • Submit job applications
  • Track applications, communicate interview availability, monitor employer responses, and follow up on applications
Gif displaying the Scheduling functionality of the high fidelity Mountain West Martial Arts prototype.
A demonstration of the job application feature of Job Again. (Gif)
Try the Mobile App Prototype

Looking back at the process (and forward to the results)

Taking a step back to look at the final designs and interactive digital prototypes helps put things into perspective. The final product is a great representation of a much-needed service with potential to impact millions of lives.

Will there be a live launch?

As of now, Job Again is not preparing for a live launch. If Job Again was going to be built out and developed into a live responsive website and native mobile application, the next step would be to prepare each design for developers.

This might include making clear annotations that specify the HTML/CSS for each individual element, along with any additional design specifications including a sticker sheet or custom design system.

Woman holding a smartphone that is displaying the FAQs page of the Mountain West Martial Arts mobile web app. (The image is being viewed from her perspective.)