For new students, joining extracurriculars are a way to meet new like-minded people, build community, hone their interests, relax, or develop professionally, depending on the type of club. Many students use physical interactions (word of the mouth) to find these clubs, however, a solution with multiple capabilities may streamline the experience and also help the school stakeholders who wish to retain students.
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. How can we design a solution for students to find clubs tailored to them as well as empower students leaders?
Google design exercise: Design an experience for new students to browse, search, and propose new student organizations.
(Solo Project) User Research, UX/UI, Motion Design, Visual Assets
Solution Overview AND PROTOTYPE
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 short. 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.
Research Evaluation - Journey Map
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 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 which will then aid in the achievement the goal of student retention and a good college experience
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
Based on research, users did not like the long application process which included answering similar answers and the disruption of flow when having to apply physically and digital.
My solution is that club proposals are done completely online, with steps showing your progress to make the process as condensed as possible.
For the problem of copying and pasting texts of similar answers, the system will analyze past answers and allow you to automatically paste answers with just pressing the “tab” button.
Based on research, users wanted to build connections and have chances to socialize.
With chat, you can talk with anyone and ask question instantly, to prevent long email threads. 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 AR and a delightful animation will prompt them to enter the app, giving them functions to view, join, sync events, or save the club with one click, compared to the QR code which is generic.
Design Decision: Why Augmented Reality?
Based on research, users prioritized easy access and fun ways to connect with other users.
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.
Lastly, this experience could be a form of gamification. 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
Based on research, users prioritized on personalization, easy communication, and finding clubs within their time commitment level.
For personalization, the app suggests clubs for you based on your search history, saved or “liked” clubs, time commitment level, and interest tags.
You can find relevant clubs and strengthen your personal connections through synching of contacts.
Find new clubs in the discover page. That way, the app also encourages new clubs to form.
Based on research, users wanted to see information at a glance and wanted ways to join and get information easily. They also took in culture fit as a factor in joining.
For the solution, you can view 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 and they can decide if those are the type of people they want to hang out with.
More Prototype Interactions
iteration and user testing
Motion Graphics 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 get feedback on functionalities
A big challenge for me was thinking through the filters and how to distinguish them from interests categories and what’s trending
I would like to do more user testing to see what should be prioritized: events or clubs?
It would be good to further test what users thought about AR and making it fun to explore the clubs out there. I wonder if it would add value making it a game than just a communication tool
I assume that some of the more complex functionalities wouldn’t be easy to achieve with engineering. Next time I would like to explore iterating based on engineering constraints
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.