For new students, joining extracurriculars is a way to meet new like-minded people, build communities, hone interests, relax, or develop professionally, depending on the type of club. Many students depend social interactions (word of the mouth) to find these clubs, however, a digital solution may streamline the experience.
New students can have a hard time adjusting to college, as finding a new community is hard. Many students rely on finding orgs or events that fit their interests to find potential friends. For clubs, it is hard to keep and advertise their organization to potential and interested students because of the high saturation of clubs out there. The college wants their students to have a good time to retain students, but the lack of ease in facilitating that community is hard.
Task: Design an experience for new students to browse, search, and propose new student organizations. Provide your overall process, a wireframe flow, and one-two screens at higher fidelity. (Google Design Challenge Prompt)
(Solo Project) User Research, UX/UI, Motion Design, Visual Assets
Interview & Persona
I interviewed three people of the three personas (club leader, new student, and a person who wants to propose a club) to discover their needs, characteristics, and concerns. Here are the main points.
A club leader wants to recruit new members easily and advertise his/her club. It would also be helpful to find a way to organize the club’s information digitally so people can search for bits of information easily.
A new student wants to find clubs that fit her interest and time commitment level. She wants to connect with friends easily.
A person who wants to propose a club wants the process to be as painless and as short as possible. He worries about not attracting enough people to get his club off the ground.
Background Research - Competitive ANALYSIS
The Bridge website is what CMU uses to hold information, join, and search each club. Besides that, some clubs use social media or their own websites to house club information. To find existing problems with and potential usability issues, I had users think aloud while they found, joined, discovered clubs on the Bridge website to evaluate potential issues and generate ideas. I compiled their findings along with mine below.
For applying, statements must be copied multiple times (Long, rigorous application)
There is no clear instruction on how to propose club organizations as users (Information overload)
No clear direction/instruction on how to do things (Unintuitive navigation, no hierarchy)
No sense of activity makes each club seem like it lacks community (No sense of fun which detracts users from joining schools, orgs, and having a good time)
I found that people usually don’t use the school club organization website unless they have to. They usually rely on the following to discover clubs:
Word of Mouth (social)
Activities Fair (social)
Going on facebook and seeing announcements (social)
Getting invited by a friend to events (social)
The most popular ways to find & discover student organizations tend to be social, as often talking to someone or knowing someone in a club makes a person more likely to join a club based on psychology. Through social interactions, you discover clubs more tailored to you. This is because you seek them out through mutual connections with similar interests. In contrast, the Bridge website recommends a higher quantity of clubs that are less tailored to your interests.
Almost all freshman go to the activities fair to join clubs. Getting answers immediately and meeting people allows you to get a gist of the club. However losing flyers, event times, and emails is common. Also it is difficult to sift through every single club to find the club you want to join.
Thus, research shows that connecting with others, finding personalized recommendations, and having a delightful/fun experience instigated with these searches is crucial in having a empowering students and have a good time in college, which impacts the business of colleges in getting higher reviews and quality students entering the school.
I created a journey map to map out what a user would face searching, discovering, and joining a club on the existing Bridge website. That way I could clearly see problems and ideate solutions.
User Research Synthesis
Design Implication (Validation Metric)
Design should allow people to easily glance at clubs and decide their interest in it at once
Design allow users to explore organizations that are personal and relevant to the user
Design should be inclusive to help both old and new clubs recruit members
Design should build a community
Allow for easy, intuitive, and delightful personalized viewing of clubs
When ideating concepts, I looked to address the problems found in the research. I always checked back to the design principles and implications, to see if my ideas fulfilled them.
After analyzing user scenarios, I came up with the following main 7 functions of the app.
USER FLOW of a new user
Propose a Club
Club proposals can be done online in a form, with steps showing how much progress you’ve done. Since previously, a huge problem was copying and pasting texts of similar answers, the system will analyze past answers and allow you to automatically paste answers with just pressing one button.
You can chat with anyone and ask question instantly, to prevent long email threads. After pressing “contact” you have the option to email them or “chat” with them. The chat function is less formal than email as it mimics talking. It allows for better connection and delight as you can add more emotion and personality to your texts, such as emojis.
You can also form group chats to further build a community within an organization. There is an option for club leaders to contact prospective members by seeing what they’re interested in, so the club can benefit as well.
Accessing the App through Augmented Reality
Users can easily scan logos of clubs with augmented reality and a delightful animation will prompt them to enter the app, allowing them to view the club.
Design Decision: Why Augmented Reality?
When users are in the activities fair or see a flyer outside, they can scan the logo and join the club instantly without the hassle of remembering details of events, or waiting for an email. In contrast to a QR code, an augmented reality experience makes the experience more fun, prompting users to download the app.
Furthermore, by using AR to scan the logo of a club to reveal information, visually it is more realistic than scanning a QR code because they look out of place and generic. You are able to scan the logo wherever you go whenever you may see it on a banner or a flyer.
Lastly, this experience could be a form of gamification as users explore the school and collect different logos with AR. The act of discovery and seeing AR animations pop up could be a fun way for others to join different clubs, similar to the trend of Pokemon Go.
Customizing your Club Feed
You are able to have clubs personalized to you by using artificial intelligence to analyze your search history, saved clubs, and interest tags.
You apply categorical filters to your search by selecting multiple tags at once. You can also scrub through a time commitment slider to input how much time you’re willing to devote to time activity.
You can find clubs that your friends are in through synching of contacts. This platform would allow you to join clubs to strengthen your personal connections
To help out new clubs who wish to recruit members, you can see the new clubs section in the discover page. That way, the app also encourages new clubs to form.
You can prominently see the club’s mission to view at a glance if the club is right for you. Seeing if anyone you know will allow you to get closer with someone.
You can sync events to your calendar to never miss a meeting. Also, if you turned on notifications, you can get reminded an hour before the event starts .
Seeing pictures and the messages will draw users in as it creates a more active picture of the club.
Loading Screen Animation
Though this is a short project, I attempted to go through a lot of the main design process. I think there needs to be further user testing, more time to refine the visuals, and feedback on certain new functionalities to flush it out. I think the “view club” page can include more information like biographies of people, emails, and a header that prominently states its mission. Also if I had time, I would develop the AR part in 3D motion graphics instead of 2D, which will look more integrated to the real environment. I think the AR flow, colors, and the visual design has room to improve. Also if I had more time I would create animations for transitions to make the user experience more delightful.