Supporting the daily needs of college students through a mobile app

Mobile locate classes design
Mobile locate classes design

Challenge

The traditional college student in the US has several layers of needs that have to be met in order to ensure success during their time in college and after. From the basics of keeping a schedule, turning in assignments, getting food and learning how to “adult” to feeling safe, feeling a sense of belonging, feeling confident and feeling a purpose in their lives.

Solution

While working with Ellucian, a software and services provider for higher education, we set out to improve ways of ensuring that students are successful throughout their college experience by providing a mobile app that helps them with their daily activities around campus.

My Role

As the UX lead and manager, I worked closely with product management and development leaders to establish a product vision that my team could execute on. I led the UX team effort, including: Conducting user research, facilitating internal design thinking workshops, creating user flows and wireframes, and creating design concepts that were tested with users and helped us to come closer to a solution.

I directly contributed to deliverables, including: User research, leading team ideation workshops and a design sprint, workflow and wireframe development, and visual design and prototyping.

User Research

The first step to solving a problem is to start with understanding what the problem is and having empathy for the people who you are trying to solve the problem for. Our UX researchers conducted interviews with students to learn more about the problems they face and to help us to align our starting point for design.

Process

After the initial user research was complete, we wanted to bring our UX team, product manager, and the dev team together to ideate, establish the scope of the project and to user test our first set of ideas. We accomplished this over a 3-day period, which I planned and led.
 

Leading an ideation session and design sprint
 
 
Out of our ideation sessions, we created 3 sets of wireframe concepts to test with users. My concept focused on helping the student to access their schedule, to see the details of a class and to see their progress within that class.
 
Design sprint sketches
 
 
Within an hour of completing our user testing with college students, our UX team used Mural to collect our notes and thoughts while everything was still fresh in our minds. This allowed us to quickly arrive at what worked, what didn’t and what we could improve on. We used the RITE (rapid, iterative testing and evaluation) method.
 
Rapid and iterative user testing and evaluation
 
 
Following our design sprint, we were able to start refining wireframes and user flows. I worked on elaborating the schedule design for mobile and tablet screens.
 
Mobile wireframe of student schedule
 
Tablet wireframe of student schedule
 
 
Here’s the final design concepts I created for depicting a student’s schedule. Based on our user research findings, we learned that students wanted to see what was happening at a glance right now, today and over the week.
 
Mobile schedule designs
Mobile schedule designs
Mobile schedule designs
 
 
One of our goals was to explore a navigation approach that would be unique and set our app apart from other competing products in the market. I created thumbnail sketches for exploring navigation ideas.
 
Mobile navigation sketches
Mobile navigation sketches
 
 
Here’s one of the concepts I created that explores a navigation approach and how color themes could be applied. Every concept depicted the core idea of serving up content to the student that would be timely and relevant to their daily activities. The home screen feed was a key location for placing this kind of content.
 
Mobile navigation designs
Mobile navigation designs
Mobile navigation designs
 
 
Here’s a home screen concept I created that provides an easy way for students to locate their classes for that day. Additionally, we wanted to give students control over what kinds of content display on the home screen and customize it to their preference.
 
Mobile home screen designs
Mobile home screen designs
Mobile home screen designs
 
 
Here are the final concepts I created for helping a student to locate their classes.
 
Mobile locate classes design
Mobile locate classes design
Mobile locate classes design