College coaches faced an issue: They were getting overwhelmed by messages inside NCSA's system from high school student athletes that hadn't done their homework, which was keeping them from seeing and responding to students that might be good fit for their programs.
We wanted to keep the lines of communication open, but
1. Understand each individual coach's needs, and
2. Teach students about schools and whether they were good matches before giving them direct access to messaging coaches.
This would help students by giving them a baseline of knowledge about the programs they wanted to talk to and reduce the clutter in coaches' inboxes.
In order to craft an experience around each college coach's specific needs, we first needed to understand what they wanted in a student athlete.
To that end, I crafted a simple set of screens that asked them which high school years they were recruiting and what they were looking for in terms of student geography and academic standards.
After the initial setup, coaches could update or further customize their preferences for athletes at any time.
When a new student messaged them, they could get a bit of information about the student upfront, including the student's match percentage with their school as based on their reported needs and preferences and the student's needs and preferences.
They could then reply normally, auto-reply with their standard questionnaire or a list of upcoming camps and trainings, or view the athlete's profile in one click.
The first task students needed to do was "Learn About this School." They were guided through a quick series of screens with basic information about the school, like the rigor of college's academic requirements or the size of the student body, matched against information our system already had about their preferences.
The second task was a short questionnaire, presented as a quick series of questions (one question per screen) with any questions the coach had uploaded into the recruiting system.
After filling out the questionnaire, the student would unlock the ability to message coaches.