Multi-feature design strategy

radical phd

project overview

The Client

Radical PhD is a coaching service to assist doctoral students on their educational journey during the dissertation writing process. Understanding that writing a dissertation can be difficult to navigate in a system that tends to evoke feelings of shame and guilt associated with lack of progress or understanding, Radical PhD coaching focuses on providing meaningful guidance focusing on self-care and goal setting. Particularly, the business goal is to help women, POCI community members, and LGBTQIA students who are underrepresented in academia. Currently, a website has been created with the intent to provide a number of tools to assist students navigate the system.

The Opportunity

The state of Radical PhD’s website is in its infancy and is searching for opportunities to strengthen the current features and add additional features.



Competitive Audit

Kano Model Analysis

Rapid Prototyping


Annotated Wireframes

User Journey Map


design process


opportunity space

Initial discovery consisted of a competitive audit of other coaching services and their website offerings. After an understanding of the space, a client kick off meeting with the founder of Radical PhD provided context to the business goals. Insight on the phases of the doctoral dissertation writing process and the associated emotional high and low points informed a current state user journey map and the opportunities for additional features.


feature sketches

As a team, each designer created five initial new feature concepts. Pulling inspiration from the user journey map opportunities that were uncovered, I focused on elements that could increase the users engagement early in writing process, progress tools, and interactive design features.


Tech scoping

The initial formation of concepts received developer analysis to inform the technical cost and effort that would need to be applied to produce the new features on the current platform.


Kano analysis

After the tech scoping, the features that were within budget went out in survey to users that fell with the scope of the project. Participants were either current or graduate PhD students that could assess the value in terms of importance and degree of desire.