Desktop Feature Additions

About Samasource

Samasource is an "impact sourcing" NGO which trains and places unemployed people in impoverished countries with digital microwork projects (small "chunkable" tasks, like image tagging) that pay a sustainable, living wage. 

The Challenge

Samasource needed an online testing and training solution which would allow their facilities to scale programs and provide more support to workers. Integration with their existing systems and connectivity were major technological considerations.


We identified how best to integrate new features into their existing application, rapid-prototyped, conducted usability testing with workers in a Kenyan facility, iterated, and delivered high fidelity mockups for implementation. 

Project Overview

Existing SamaHub Home

Existing SamaHub Home

Our overarching goal was to increase Samasource quality of work by designing an Agent’s qualification process for projects.

Get Agents to be able to: 

  • Check if they have the skills to start a project through a test
  • Build skills that enable them to complete quality project work
  • Receive guidance on how to prepare for project work
  • Only work on projects once they have proven their skill level


  • Integration with the existing system
  • User familiarity with technology
  • Connectivity speeds in developing countries
  • Clearly indicating production work vs. training projects


Identifying Points of Confusion via Task Flows

Revised Flow (Yellow above)

The revised flow integrated the new features as well as addressed these underlying issues: 

  • New dashboard flow funnels users through one appropriate path to eliminate confusion and ensure necessary skills 
  • Progressive disclosure of screens to Agent based on whether they have passed the qualification test or not
  • Agents take a test to unlock Production work - no need for Project Manager to manage permissions
  • New Project Home page clearly indicates which projects are Production and which are Training

Existing Flow

We created a task flow to understand how users get to Production work. The existing flow had the following main issues:

  • Agents can access work for which they are not qualified, which affects Production work quality scores 
  • Multiple pathways to access production work create confusion for the user
  • Project manager must manually give access to each Agent when they are qualified for work
  • Production and Training projects are accessed in the same way, creating ambiguity around qualification 

Rapid Sketching & Prototyping


We considered many variations to incorporate tests and restructure the flow. After rapidly sketching to generate many ideas, we determined which options best solved the problems and client requested additions: showing several concurrent multi-stage projects with progression, user profile info, introduction of report cards, differentiating training projects from paid work, among others.


Usability Testing

We conducted remote usability tests with 5 Agents in the Samasource facility in Kenya.

The main insights gleaned from testing were: 

  1. Multiple CTAs on one page is very confusing
  2. Certain symbols, icons, copy may have different meanings from Western understanding
  3. Agents have a strong learning mentality desire to build their skill set
I don’t know what to do… I think I would call my supervisor.
— Agent in Kenya, upon seeing "lock icon"

Synthesis and Key Insights

Our research findings pushed some major design decisions: 

  1. Focus attention on only one CTA per page
  2. Removal of "lock icon" and use of progressive disclosure instead
  3. Always allow access to test report cards and training resources for reference

And some key considerations...

  • Reduce cognitive load (e.g. direct users down only one path)
  • Simplify wherever possible (symbols, language, navigation)
  • Encourage growth mindset

High Fidelity Mockups for Qualification Flow


Below is the flow an Agent would experience if they have not yet qualified for a project. We maintained the visual design of the existing system (hard constraint), added in the qualification process, and funneled users down one path to eliminate confusion.