Project prompt:

Your school is gearing up to welcome a new incoming class and would like to help them adjust to campus life. Design an experience that allows new students to ask questions about the school life, and experienced students to share answers and advice. Consider the needs of a student who has questions, and the experience for a student who would like to give advice.
Solutions & Key Features

Ask, answer, and sharing anywhere and anytime
Browse and filter with most related discussion topics
Enhance the virtual campus tour with Q&A functions

1.User Research: Interview & Survey


Conducted user interviews with 4 incomming students at different univerisities to understand how their school help them adjust the campus life through orientation and peer mentoring events.

Coducted survey wit
25 students from 5 different universities on  how universities helped their new students adjust to the new campus life and engage the experienced students together via peer mentoring

5  peer mentors who help answer questions during orientation from my school, and also 2 people who had college orientation mentor leadership.

Private message groups (wechat, messangers..etc) are more helpful than orientation for the new students

Studenst are mroe willing to ask in private message groups
       compare to email the school facilities  

New students still attend orientation because most schools enforce them. However, they usually did not pay much attention.

Students (peer mentor / mentee) does not have chocie to choose.

Orientation has time constrainst for people attend remotely.

The online orientation is overall compromising social networking and engagement. New students may not feel they “belong” to the school community even after they did the orientation due to the current situation .
2.PAINPOINTS IDentification
Productivity pain points

The orientation alternatives did not help specific problems (i.e, course registration & Fiancial Aid)
It hurt the attention span for both experienced students and new incoming students.
Financial Pain Points:

Expensive WiFI & VPN services to access an online video orientation.
Process Pain Points:

Online video orientations took very long. Students were not able to make through with the time difference.
Students did not feel they belonged to this school through online orientation.
The nature of online conferences made the connection and networking less engaging and boring.

Support Pain Points:

Orientation cannot help the specific problems or questions.
Story of Jason and Lisa
Jason currently transfers to CCA to study architecture. However, since the pandemic began, he had to take the online orientation in China via zoom.
The orientation happened at 5 am in Beijing time. He fell slept during most of the time.
Before school started, he had to apply for financial aid. He reached out architecture department, and they referred him to the financial advisor. However, his advisor never responded to his Email.
Lisa helped CCA with online orientation. His job is to answer new incoming students' questions.
She led three sections from her time zone, 6 am - 9 am, and back to back.
Lisa updated her wifi plan to the most expensive tier to have better internet quality and avoid freezing screens.
However, all the incoming students in his section were video off and muted during the orientation day. The awkward silence made her frustrated.
3.App features and Paper prototypes
This APP should...

Build the social connections between new students and experienced students

Minimize the cognitive load of asking, sharing, and answering.

Make new students feel welcomed and belonging to the community

Encourage the new students to be the next experienced students for the future incoming students.
4.USer Testing on PAPER prototypes
5.Low-fi Frames
6.Visual identities explorations

If there is more time, iteration on conducting more usability tests can help generate more insights about the efficiency of the new modules. For example, what are the design friction I might encounter when deploying virtual tour on mobile? If I am collaborating with engineers, how would I address these issues to make these functions really happen smoothly?