Streamlining the immigration process through an easy and custom-tailored experience.


Research, UX Design, UI Design, Front-End


Sketch, Adobe Illustator, HTML5, CSS3


September 2017

(36 hours) 


Two Developers, One Business Major, One Designer (Me)


Galleon was a 3-day hackathon project from Hack the North.  I worked with three students (two developers and one business major) to create the platform. We ended up becoming the top 14 finalists and winning the Microsoft API Challenge.



About 23 thousand immigrants arrive on Canada's shores every month. Many of them have encountered similar problems and frustrations with the immigration process — whether it is due to lack of information, systematic errors or just merely having little to no guidance.

Not only does this cost time and money, but it also puts a lot of stress on these individuals. With the Canadian technology sector set to face a shortage of 220,000 tech workers by 2020, it is important to reduce the barriers in attracting high-skilled workers.  


How might we make the immigration process easier for skilled workers to navigate and prevent people from getting lost in the system?


Galleon aims to be a modern-day version of the ships from the past. It offers a comprehensive, custom-tailored experience intended to make the immigration process smoother and less frustrating.


The idea of Galleon came from a conversation I overheard at work where the CTO and engineer were voicing their frustrations over the immigration process and the huge expense of immigration lawyers. Therefore I began my research by interviewing the CTO through a short Skype call.

During our chat, I wanted to understand what made the current immigration process so frustrating and how we can reduce those pain points to create an easier experience. By exploring the process it takes to get from start to finish, I was able to get a better sense of the user journey.


User Pain Points

  1. Lack of clarity
  2. Too many links
  3. High cost of an immigration lawyer
  4. Stressful process
  5. Application takes forever to get reviewed
  6. Proofread at least 5 times
  7. Not sure what documents are needed
  8. Missing documents are not clearly stated
  9. Dealing with visa expiration 
  10. Sensitive information

Observational Research

Through observational research, I investigated the information architecture of the current immigration website and tried to navigate the process myself.

The first thing I noticed was the overwhelming amount of textual information with hyperlinks on it. When a user clicks on one of those links, it will take them to a page with even more hyperlinks. My teammate Yutain and I spent more than two hours combing through the website to find the information we need. This reinforced what I had learned from the interview I conducted with Audun. There were too many different links and a lack of clarity on what documents to use during the immigration process.

The problem with having so many hyperlinks is that it causes information overload and increases distraction. It reduces the user's ability to think deeply and process information, which may lead to mistakes during the application process.



Early Sketches

Based on the research, I made each step more navigatable and clear. To do so, I structured the information to be more straightforward.


Version 1

In the first wireframe iteration, the questionnaires sat within one page. However, this can be a bit overwhelming for first-time users and can reduce the retention rate. Therefore in the second iteration, I broke the task into further chunks to make it easier for users to tackle.

Profile Fill

Version 2

Despite breaking down the steps visually, each section still appeared to be very long and tedious to fill out. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I was not able to refine the designs until after the hackathon ended.

Profile Fill Copy
Version 3

This version was created after the hackathon ended. I included progress bars in the newest design to show where the users are in the application and far they have left to go.

Galleon welcomes every new user by asking them to fill out their personal information. This includes age, education level, language proficiency scores, and skills. The data is then combined with Canada's official immigration guidelines to offer users a predicted Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, a system used by the Canadian government to weigh different factors in potential immigrants.

Below is the most recent iteration of the step-by-step application process.

Profile Fill Copy 2
Profile Fill Copy 3
Profile Fill Copy 4
Profile Fill Copy 5
Profile Fill Copy 6

Galleon will then begin tailoring the immigration experience to the user. For example, it can suggest potential language exams to take or provide options to go a different route, such as getting a Trade Occupation Certificate.

Galleon adapts to the user's needs to give them the best chance of succeeding with their skillset. It also uses historical immigration statistics to offer insights into the Canadian immigration policy. The platform allows successful entrants to sign up as mentors to help those that are following their footsteps.

Dashboard Copy 2

During the 36 hour hack, I had the chance to tackle a really interesting problem while learning to work with developers to accomplish a common goal. I learned how to defend my designs and fight for the functionality of the platform over what was pretty and flashy.

One major challenge my team and I ran into was the problem of trying to simplify the complicated government processes into easy to understand steps. We spent a lot of our time researching policies and figuring out how to organize the information so that the average person can go through it easily. 

In the future, I would like to interview more people about their immigration application process so I can further improve the functionality and experience of the platform. I would also like to user test my designs to get feedback.


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Gillian Wu © 2020