Google Design Challenge, 2019
User research, interaction design, interface design, low-fi and hi-fi prototyping
Design an experience for new students to browse, search, and propose new student organizations. Provide your overall process, a wireframe flow, and one to two screens at higher fidelity.
I interviewed a few CMU students, including students who were new to the university. The goal of interviewing students was to get an understanding of how students at CMU, currently get information about the various student organizations.
User Pain Points
By interviewing the users, I learned the following problems currently they had:
Primarily rely on word of mouth to join organizations - While it may work if you are around people with similar interests, it may be limiting in terms of the exposure to new organizations.
Website is not mobile responsive - Most students use their phones to browse for information and not having easy access to the website via mobile phones, prevents usage.
Interface not simple - Students averse to using the application if it is not user-friendly.
Impersonal experience - The experience of exploring new organizations is currently hard and not personalized based on the interests of the student.
Hard to contact an organization - Students prefer talking to a few organization members to understand the goals of the organization and the time commitment, before making their decision.
Inconsistent levels of information - Students seek consistent levels of information while exploring new organizations.
Exploring new organizations:
The website experience is not well designed for mobile phone browsing which discourages the students from using it
The experience is not personalized for each student
Searching for new organizations:
Long scrolls to know more about each organization
Inconsistent levels of information for different organizations
Starting an organization:
Filling out the application form to propose a new organization feels very long and tedious
The application shows no information regarding the number of pages that require to be filled
"I want to start a new organization"
"I want to directly contact members of an organization to learn about it"
"I want to explore new organizations"
"I want personalized recommendations of organizations to join"
I broke down the design of the system into four main actions and detailed out the user flow for each of the critical steps.
For the application, I chose a color scheme that reflected the visual identity of Carnegie Mellon University for easy recognizability.
The experience is customized for each student based on the sign in information and via the onboarding experience.
Simple and Direct
The experience search for new organizations is easy and quick with the use of appropriate search filters.
Additional information provided for each organization is consistent and joining an organization is easy.
I used my low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes to get user feedback to refine my design further. I received feedback from three people who used the application to explore, search and create new organizations.
Proposing a new organization: It was more reassuring to have a save button rather than an exit button on the application, in case the users wanted to resume filling it later. The process didn’t feel tedious as there was a progressive disclosure of information. The users had an idea of how far along they were in filling out the form, which they found to be helpful.
Browsing for new organizations: Users preferred to see events hosted by an organization right after the organization’s bio. I incorporated this by moving the events hosted by the organization to the top.
Contacting organization members: The users wanted this to be direct and informal to get to know more about the organization.
A friendly feel: The users found the current online system CMU uses, to be impersonal and formal. One of the ways through which I addressed this was by making the experience humanistic and personalized was to address the students by their name, which the users found engaging.