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Guru | Expert App

Guru is a responsive mobile application that provides students with a secure trustworthy network of professionals and university peers that can advise them with topics regarding college applications, student life, and finding experience to be an attractive newly graduated professional.

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The Challenge

Create an app that enables anyone, anywhere to instantly chat with a higher education expert.

The Goal

Give users a simple, intuitive way to connect with an expert within seconds so they can feel more prepared to face their problems

The Process

Throughout this process I have practiced skills such as competitor analysis, interviews, user flows, creation of low/mid/high fidelity prototypes using Figma, usability testing, A/B testing, and others shown below.  During the project I have had to reflect on feedback and data collected from usability testing, A/B testing, and collaboration with other designers to create new improved iterations of the project.

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Understanding the Problem

Problem Statement & Solution

Our users, students who are applying to university and newly admitted students, need a way to communicate with college experts who can guide them through applying, college life, and other aspects. We will know this to be true when our users use the advice they received to complete their goals (enroll at a University and have a good experience their first year).

User Stories

After carefully reviewing the functional requirements of the app I constructed five user stories.

  1. As a user, I want access to an onboarding process at the beginning of my interaction with a new application so that I have an easier time navigating the application for the first time and feel more confident using it.

  2. As a user, I want there to be a sign-in/ login page to create a profile with this application so that my information is saved and the data the company is saving about me is used to give me relevant suggestions, advice, and experts.

  3. As a user, I want a homepage and dashboard in the application I am using so that I am able to easily navigate the application and can easily find saved articles or saved expert profiles that I want to talk to.

  4. As a user, I want a page where I can browse for experts and search for them using specific filters so that I am able to find one that has experience with my specific needs, is someone that I can relate to, and is someone that can tell me relevant, knowledgeable information.

  5. As a user, I want a page where I can specifically ask an expert a question or schedule a call/video chat with them so that I can get a more genuine one on one conversation with an expert and get real-time responses to my questions.

User Research

Surveys and Interviews

I sent out a 20 question survey to gather initial insights about attitudes on the college admissions process.   Then I followed up with a brief interview to get more qualitative data and open-ended answers from my participants. 

The GOALS for my research were to ...

  • Better understand the process and user behaviors of students looking for information on college admission/ college life.

  • Determine what information to prioritize, what perspectives to include for advice, ect.

  • To determine the frequency and length of time users would need this service

Some KEY INSIGHTS I gathered after analyzing the data from the research were...

  • A mobile app instead of website gives students flexibility and familiarity in their college search

  • Mobile app provides competition with other information channels, such as YouTube and TikTok

  • In addition to academic information, offer information on college towns, room and boarding, time management, and study habits

  • Students would rather talk to a peer who just finished the process than an advisor on certain topics

User Personas

Madison

TECH USAGE 

Madison mostly uses her mobile phone and tablet for her personal internet use.  She primarily utilizes her laptop for schoolwork.  She has an active social media precence, keeps on top of trends, and follows a variety of influencers.

MOTIVATIONS 

Madison is primarily concerned with finding a university that fits her needs and lifestyle so she can have a positive experience.  She wants a strong academic program that can teach her and open opportunities for her future. She is also motivated by the support and expectations of her parents.

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Madison is a 17-year-old high school senior who’s currently prepping for her college apps. She lives in Weston, Florida and is heavily involved in school academics and sports as a track athlete. She is very close to her friends and is very excited to start college.

FRUSTRATIONS

Madison is involved in extracurricular sports and spends lots of time studying. This leads her to have very limited free time.  Additionally, the pressure from peers and family to find an acceptable institution is frustrating especially considering the lack of information she has. 

NEEDS AND GOALS

Madison needs to narrow down her college search to 6 choices, 2 reach schools, 2 comfortable fits, and 1 safety school.  She also wants guidance and advice on the essay writing process and help editing it.  Lastly she needs information on how to logistically prepare for the move in.

Tomas

TECH USAGE 

Tomas mostly uses his mobile phone for personal internet use.  
He has some social media but is not very active on it.  He plans to buy a new laptop to work on his college assignments.  

FRUSTRATIONS

Tomas struggles to adjust to change, so being in a new environment can be very frustrating.  Being away from his hometown. family, and friends makes him stressed.  He is also frustrated with his spending on unnecessary things such as eating out and Ubers.

MOTIVATIONS 

Tomas wants to build a simple routine to make his life in college easier. He doesn’t want his home responsibilities to pile up with his academic responsibilities. He also wants to find a way to save some money.

Tomas is an 18-year-old college freshman studying in University of Florida. He is a Finance major and an out of state student. He likes playing soccer, going out, and chipotle.

NEEDS AND GOALS

Tomas needs advice on living alone in college for the first time, specifically time management tips and meal prepping hacks.  He wants advice on how to get involved in clubs, how to find friends, and how to get the most out of his university.  He also wants a convenient way to find this information. 

Wireframes & Prototypes

Initial Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

Landing Page
Dashboard
Expert Main
Expert Profile
Schedule
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Iterations of Screens

Schedule
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Expert Main

Prototype

User Testing

User Tasks

To measure the usability of my prototype I asked my participants to perform four tasks that guide them through the basic functions of the prototype. During the test I noted any points of friction that arose and listened to their feedback on the experience.

A friend recommends the Expert app to you to help on your college application journey. You decide to download it and see what it’s like. Remembering to think out loud, please go through the onboarding and create a profile.

You wish to see some of the experts in the app to see if anyone could help you. Please navigate to the expert main page and view an expert’s profile and see their reviews.

You have seen a couple of Expert profiles that you like! Please utilize the favorites button to send your profiles there, then navigate to that page.

You know which Expert will be the best fit for you. Please navigate to their page and schedule a meeting for anytime this week

Key Insights

Participants skip onboarding when it’s placed before account creation. The onboarding will be implemented straight after account creation and will feature a “swipe” instruction.

Participants were unsure of with icon correlates to the expert main page so it was replaced with a graduation cap icon.

There was no way to change the date when scheduling a meeting. The screens were updated using materials.io to implement an attractive effective scheduling feature.

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