ronepo_xplorer1

Summary

  • Xplorer is a native iOS application (Prototype).
  • I created this case study for General Assembly's User Experience Design course in fall 2016.
  • I conducted end-to-end user experience and created all graphic designs.
  • Adobe Illustrator, Indesign, and Photoshop; Sketch; InVision

Background

General Assembly's User Experience Design was a 10-week part-time course from September to November 2016. I created a case study based on a self-identified problem

I chose to focus in the education space, as I previously taught 8th grade and am interested in technology applications in the classroom. My initial intent was to explore student-to-student and student-to-teacher collaboration and communication tools.

However, after interviewing several high school students, I discovered that my initial focus area was not a real or relevant problem to my target audience.

User Interviews & Insights

After interviewing several students, I found that they did not identify major issues in communicating with peers and teachers. However, multiple students expressed a disinterest in their curriculum due to an inability to establish real world connections. This became the focus of my case study.

I clustered main take-aways from the interviews into three main areas, which I used to create a user persona, problem statement, and hypothesis:

  • Students have neutral or negative opinions towards education-based technology, unless they are well-integrated and/or meaningfully used
  • Students are most engaged in classes that are hands-on and/or align with their interests
  • Passion is integral to education

Problem Statement & Hypothesis

I determined a new problem based on my background research and user interviews:

To increase engagement in their education, students need a way to draw connections between their classes and future goals.

My hypothesized solution was a mobile application whose mission would be to increase student engagement through career exploration, drawing connections between current classes and future career goals.

Competitive Analysis

Prior to designing a solution, I explored three competing products: CollegeBoard, LinkedIn, and PathSource.

  • CollegeBoard's Big Future website allows high school students to create step-by-step guides to plan and apply for college. The website also offers tools to research colleges, majors, career fields, and financial aid options.
  • LinkedIn's Student application recommends careers to explore, companies to follow, and alumni to connect with based on a student's background and interests. The information is presented as swipeable cards (à la Tinder). 
  • PathSource's application allows college students to take a lifestyle and career assessment. The application then suggests colleges, majors, and career fields. PathSource also has tools to build a resume, search for job fairs, and apply to jobs.

The shared successes of these products include their intuitive interfaces, user-centric content, and actionable tools and resources.

Solution, User Flow & Feature Prioritization

I proposed a solution based on my collected data:

  • Xplorer is a native iOS application that allows students to explore careers
  • Students can create and personalize an account to receive targeted content and save information for future reference
  • Students can explore careers recommendations based on their background or classes that they are taking or completed
  • Careers are presented as swipe-through cards with summaries, photo & video content, famous individuals, and actionable steps

I then created a user flow and feature prioritization after experimenting with various feature mappings, user flow drafts, and card sorts.

Low- & Medium-Fidelity Prototypes

In reflection, my first prototype (paper/low-fidelity) was driven more by design aesthetics that mimicked popular social media applications, rather than a fidelity to the application's mission and content. Feedback from testers related to interface design, content presentation, and information architecture. The second prototype (medium-fidelity) of Xplorer received more positive feedback, especially in areas where the low-fidelity/paper prototype struggled. 

High-Fidelity Prototype & Future Roadmap

After multiple iterations integrating peer and target audience feedback, I arrived at a high-fidelity prototype of the Xplorer application. (InVision prototype)

Looking at Xplorer's future, the main challenge of the application's longevity hinges on its stickiness. This can be resolved in two ways:

  • Engaging and actionable content. Information must remain contemporary and attainable for all users. Resources need to direct users towards actionable next steps.
  • Connection to social media and the outside world. Xplorer must be able to integrate with social media, as well as offering articles, blog posts, and other content by career professionals.

But for the time being, mission accomplished!