Hornsment

Mobile UX design for Google Design Challenge

This project was my response to the individual design challenge I received from Google for the UX Summer Internship 2020. Few weeks after my submission, Google canceled their UX internship program due to the COVID-19.

Challenge Prompt

Your school wants to strengthen the community by encouraging experienced students to connect with new students and help them adjust to campus life. Design an experience that allows mentors and mentees to discover each other. Consider the needs of both mentors and mentees, including how someone may become a mentor and how to connect mentors to mentees.
 

 

Overview

Type 

Individual Project​

Skills employed 

User Research, Journey Mapping, Wireframing, User Testing, Prototyping

Tools

 Figma

Duration

 1 Week (14 hrs/day)

Objective

This project presents a solution to help students find mentors for their needs and facilitates the communication between mentors and mentee at UT Austin campus.

Approach

This project started with generative and secondary research. I talked to 5 students about their experience of being a mentor and/or mentee in the campus and also explored existing organizations and models that are serving students. After that I found the main pain points that the solution must address.

Some of the underlying ideas in this project are :

  • Intelligent categorization of students based on their interests and social life 

  • Proposing a suggestion system that helps students find the right mentor for their specific needs

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Setting interests

Linking to social media

Onboarding

Receiving a message for help

Setting reminder for later review

Accepting and sharing contacts

Mentor Experience

Writing the Request

Selecting the mentor

sending request

Start communication

Mentee Experience

 
 

Design Process

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Initiation

Brainstorming

I started working on the project by brainstorming for generating questions that might help me discover major characteristics of the challenge.

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Key Takeaways

Basic takeaways from the initial brainstorming practice were:

  • The flow that shows how a mentor-mentee interaction

  • Questions that help me identify users' needs

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Research

 I prepared my questions for mentors and mentees as an output of brainstorming process:  

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Key Findings

Talking to 5 users whom 2 of them have had experience of being a mentor and all 5 had been a mentee sometime in the past.

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Secondary Research

I researched the existing mechanisms at UT Austin for mentor-mentee relationships.

Sanger Learning Center is the largest and the most recognized one. Therefore, I decided to go there and take a look at the center and if possible talk to the administrators (as a potential 3rd user group) to see what their needs are and how their experience is using the current system. I did so and found out that the University considers clear boundries for academic and non-academic services that can offer to students.

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Second Round User Research

I talked to 4 students about their experience of having or being a mentor specifically for non-academic purposes. Key findings are: 

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Persona and Journey Map

After defining personas I turned all the findings into journey+empathy maps for mentees and mentors

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Community interaction Models

I identified two models of community interactions that provide the context for communication and might generate a mentor-mentee relationship:

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Centralized Model

Decentralized Model

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Design

For a solution to provide the user with a good experience, it must have the following characteristics:

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Solution

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The ideal solution should facilitates and promotes the culture of mentorship and connects right people to each other.

Design Conceptual Model

Considering the gains and pains of the central and distributed models discussed, my solution will be based on a model for mentor and mentee communities in which students are grouped based on their interests and preferences and suggest mentoring relationships to students at different levels of education.

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Prototyping

Considering the following questions and answers, I started sketching based on the conceptual model created at the previous phase and created my wireframe prototypes.

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Low Fidelity Prototype

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DESIGN QUESTION

How might we encourage experienced students connect to less-experienced students based on their common grounds?

 
 

User Feedback

For evaluating the design ideas implemented in my low-fi prototype I asked 3 undergraduate students and 1 graduate student to try the prototype. I explained to users my design purpose and asked them to talk about their ideas and probable solutions after testing my prototype and thinking more about the subject.

Among these users, the graduate student had the experience of being a mentor for some other students and all of them mentioned that they have had asked someone to help them at some situations during their life in the campus.

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High Fidelity Prototype

The high fidelity prototype is a culmination of user testing results and the insights that users provided with their feedback. The underlying ideas that were embedded in the high fidelity prototype are:

Underlying ideas in the final design

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Reflection

Though I tried to address lots of needs in designing the application functions and features, there are some issues that I would try to cover if I had more time. These issues include but are not limited to:

  • Accessibility: many students have certain types of disabilities that might prevent them from using the interactions provided in this design. Considering Voice User Interface can be a solution for some groups of users in this category.

  • System Administration: Though university authorities might define a clear border between academic and non-academic needs, students do not seem to behave with this segmentation. It is a subject of further research for developing an application to serve the community well.

  • The mentor-ship relation is based on trust: The more system could find out about students' social behavior and personality consistencies during the time, the better the suggestion it will provide for mentors. However, this feature can raise serious privacy issues that can affect the whole functionality of the application.

  • In this time I just focused on the designing experience getting into a mentor-ship relationship. However, I couldn’t conduct usability testing and heuristic evaluation of users on the features of high fidelity prototype and user interface.