App to help students discover clubs, events, and create connections during a remote semester.
Classcade is a mobile application concept to help make university clubs and events more accessible to students while also helping students meet and engage in conversations with one another remotely.
Myself + 1 other designer
Oct. 2020 - Dec. 2020
Remote learning has made building connections with fellow peers incredibly difficult. With all organizations, classes and jobs being completely remote, it’s really hard for students to feel connected and feel that sense of belonging with their university and student community. For new students, it’s become even more difficult for them to become involved in campus organizations because there is a lack of direction for how they can go about doing this.
How might we help new and current students find opportunities to get involved with the university remotely?
How do students currently discover and learn about clubs?
Georgia Tech currently has one main source where students can find clubs and organizations, called Engage@GT. This platform lists most, if not all, of the current organizations. It also lists some basic information about the clubs such as social media pages and overview of club's mission.
Our team did an analysis of Engage@GT and found that it doesn't provide comprehensive information about clubs and ways to get involved. This platform is not frequently updated, so a lot of the information listed may be outdated and no longer relevant depending on the club.
With our analysis of Engage, we had a few research goals we sought to understand to ensure that we were designing the right solutions for our target users. Some of these goals included:
1. Understand how clubs and organizations are operating in a remote environment
2. Understand students’ involvement in remote organizations
3. Identify students’ pain points with engaging with remote organizations and events
4. Identify points of intervention for how clubs and organizations can become more accessible for students
5. Identify ways for students to build connections
With our goals, we conducted 8 semi-structured interviews with club executive members to better understand how organizations are currently operating and how they have transitioned to being fully remote. Some our main findings from these interviews include:
Less engagement in events and club communication (email, slack, Teams, etc.)
Main focus for these clubs is providing their members with social engagement opportunities in a remote environment
Varying forms of recruitment and application process for each club
Unclear application process = discourages students from applying
Multiple communication platforms used per each club
Following our interviews, we still had some unanswered questions, so we surveyed current students to understand some of their pain points with discovering clubs and finding remote opportunities to make social connections outside of classes. We found two major themes from our survey insights, which included:
1. Lack of centralized communication
Students are overwhelmed with the number of platforms they have to keep up with for different clubs and events. Each club uses a mix of different platforms and it's difficult for students the keep up with all of them. There is also miscommunication over how each club recruits members and what platforms they use to do so.
2. Low engagement from new members
For new students, they are less likely to participate in club events and socialize when they do not know anyone in the club. With the remote environment, it's become even more difficult for new members to meet others.
With all of the combined research, we were able to identify 3 main opportunities:
Make clubs and campus events easily discoverable
Create opportunities for social engagements outside of events
Design a centralized place to
track club communications
One of our initial ideas was around building a digital version of the bulletin board that students are so used to seeing around campus. Under normal circumstances, students would be able to walk up to these bulletin boards and see advertisements for club events and membership opportunities and know what to do immediately.
How might we build a sense of connection to campus life through a digital bulletin board?
Our first brainstorm was centered around ways to create a digital bulletin board that allows for:
How can students find clubs
How can they keep track of their membership and upcoming events that are getting lost in the millions of channels they need to keep track of
How can students find live events to participate in
How can students discover club members and connect with them outside of events
Iteration 1: Web app for Club Discovery
After ideating several potential solutions, we designed a web app prototype centered around findability of clubs and live events to test with current students.
Discovering clubs and their upcoming events based on the club's "headquarters" on campus. Designing a map view of events for discovery based on these locations. Making live events easily discoverable through both club pages and the live map.
💬 Testing Feedback
How does the virtual space play a role in building connections with people? What about students who have never been on campus and don’t have that relation to the physical location yet? How does the virtual space play a role in building connections with people?
Iteration 2: Gamified Connections
We took the insights from the first round of testing to iterate on a new solution that would be more comprehensive, especially when it came to fostering social connections while still making the club and events the main focus. We also found that mobile app solutions resonate better with our student users as they are more accessible and easy to use on a daily basis.
Ice breaker games to facilitate conversation starters while giving each student the option to accept an incoming message. Focusing on building connections with other students in a fun, safe manner outside of clubs events.
💬 Testing Feedback
Playing games doesn’t expand on making the student interactions social, especially when there is very little personalization in these interactions. There needs to be some method to facilitate organic conversations using game dynamics.
Personalizing the onboarding experience
Leverage existing institutional ID to sign up or log in to ensure only students are able to gain access
Allowing users to select topics of interest to get club and event recommendations
Option to link social media accounts to find and match with other users with similar interests
Club management and discovery
Transparency over club information, including membership opportunities and application processes
Club management and real-time application status view
Bulletin board inspired daily briefing for updates on all joined clubs. This daily briefing aims to minimize the footprint with how many apps students have to keep track of to stay updated on their clubs.
Showing club recommendations based on topic interests
Find recommended clubs and learn about their events, members and more through club pages
Finding campus and club events with clear information for how and where to attend, as well as club executives to contact to find out more info about event
Directly RSVP to events within Classcade
Save future events and receive updates
Find events that fit with schedule
Fostering community connections
Connect with students with similar interests or from joined clubs
Fostering conversations using generated icebreakers or option to create custom icebreakers
Option to share social handles
Keep community safe by reporting or blocking users as needed
Club management flows: Designing solutions for how clubs will manage applications, events, members and updates through Classcade and conducting usability testing with both executive board members and club members.
Backend integrations: Exploring the technology needed to integrate different platforms and make the experience as technologically feasible as possible to make this bi-directional communication work efficiently.
What I Learned
Atomic Design Approach: I found that by defining a design system and utilizing reusable components, our team was able to really streamline design efforts and make sure everything was scalable, reusable and consistent across the entire platform.
Remote resources: Our team worked 100% remotely and throughout our project, we had to find innovative ways to complete certain tasks that would have been easier to do in person, such as user interviews, research with on-campus organizations and more. We also had to utilize several collaboration tools to make co-designing more efficient.
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