Circ

A mobile application that provides a way where new students can browse, search and propose student organizations.

UX Research, UI

Background

Task

Duration

Connecting and getting involved with school culture is one of the biggest anxieties of new students, especially in a college setting. For them, it is a time of new beginnings, developing their passions and forming new friendships. Circ is a mobile application that enables new  and current students to navigate and create student organizations based on their specific universities, without hassle and on the go.

To provide a well thought and empathetic experience for incoming university students to browse, search and propose new student organizations.

Conceptualize and create an application with a strict 7 day deadline.

Design Process

Project Planning

Research & Observe

Communicate & Connect

Conceptualize & Ideate

Design

& Finalize

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Inspiration & Analysis

After planning out my project based on my given timeline, I researched the different sources that also provide students with the experience of searching, browsing and creating new organizations. Some of my troubles came from not being able to find general applications for college students, and not having the security requirements for specific college sites. EngageDU and Sokap were the two applications that resonated with what my vision was for Circ. 

1. EngageDU

EngageDU is my university's (Dominican University) personalized student organization navigation website. This website includes the different events that the university clubs are hosting as well as the different organizations. There is a filter option to select the categories of which club a user wants to see, and the clubs are sorted by alphabetical order.

Cons

• Non-engaging 

• Not enough information

• No mobile application (can only access full experience online)

• Only 5 options in the categories to choose which type of club a user wants

Pros:

• Simple and easy to manage

• No distractions

• Straight to the point

• Approval process for creating a new student organization

• Security purposes: only students and faculty with a dom.edu email can access the information

• There are given instructions that a student should do before creating a new organization

2. Sokap Mobile Application

Sokap is a mobile application based in Europe. It lists all of the types of clubs a school has according to the specific university that the user chooses from a list, during the onboarding process. The landing page provides an aesthetic way to group each club by type. Once a user chooses the type of club, the user is redirected to a list of clubs given in alphabetical sort.

Pros:

• Sorted by type/genre of club

• Straight to the point

• Contains a News Feed to filter clubs that user is in

Cons

• Visual design is not consistent throughout the whole application

• There is no confirmation as to when student creates an organization & anyone can create one.

• No sense of security. Anyone can access this application and see all the information about the club.

• Hard to find where to create a new organization

• Anyone can create a new organization/ no approval process

User Interviews & Survey Analysis

Alejandra Cosio

Age: 19

Member of the Fashion Club

Major: Marketing

Year: Freshman

Tech Savvy: 7/10

1. What do you look for in a college?

I look for a safe campus where I feel comfortable walking around and secure.

2. What would enhance your overall experience on the EngageDU Website?

EngageDU is really helpful in ways where you can see events and register for them. But there's not much to do with the clubs section. I also want to make a club, but I don't know what I have to do, so I'm running around all the time.

3. How did you feel upon going to college for the first time this past fall Semester?

Honestly, scared to interact with new people.

Insights:

Blanche Penaredondo

Age: 20

President of Cru 

Major: Women's Studies

Year: Sophomore

Tech Savvy: 6/10

1. What do you look for in a college?

The different majors, activities and distance from home!

2. What would enhance your overall experience on the EngageDU Website?

It's alright and self explanatory. As an org president, It's been easy to upload photos and put events. But it would be cool to have an app on my phone to update faster.

3. How did you feel upon going to college for the first time this past fall Semester?

Nervous and stressed!

Insights:

Reed Simonsis

Age: 19

Member of Brennan Investment Club

Major: Business

Year: Freshman

Tech Savvy: 8/10

1. What do you look for in a college?

Somewhere that feels like home but also brings new experiences and opportunities to me.

2. What would enhance your overall experience on the EngageDU Website?

I recently started using it and so far, it has been easy to navigate and get involved in. The only problem is that it feels somewhat limited in terms of accessibility.

3. How did you feel upon going to college for the first time this past fall Semester?

Quite excited to further my education.

Insights:

Questions sited on insights are not all the questions that were asked.

Results

The questions I asked them pertained to the importance of school organizations, their interest levels, emotions about college and how their current platform of browsing and creating clubs could be enhanced. Here are some of the findings from the interviews + surveys that I found important.  

Year in school

22.2 %

DU Upperclassmen

33.3 %

College Freshmen

22.2 %

Other college upperclassmen

22.2 %

HS Senior

88.9 %

Very important

Importance of clubs, organizations & events

88.9 %

Very important

11.1 %

Not really important

Top Answers

"As a freshman commuter, it's hard to meet people who's interests are the same as mine. A club that's right can help me with that."

"Depends on how easy the app will be to use."

"Sounds like a good idea and I think I would use it as I use the apps we currently have but if it's not done well, it would just take up storage on my phone."

 

"Given our school size, there isn't much to browse."

44.4 %

Maybe

44.4 %

Yes

11.1 %

No

If you had an app to help you browse through clubs and orgs on campus, would it enhance your college experience? Why? 

Emotional Feedback & Concerns

After asking freshmen about their experience upon entering school as a new student, they answered with the following emotional responses:

Scared about their safety on a new campus

Nervous about making new friends

Anxious about finding a group that fits their personality

Excited to meet new people

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Based on my observations on different applications that do the same job as Circ as well as user interview/survey results, I consolidated the current problems into three main points 

Emotions

Security

Accessibility 

In response to the three above problems, my proposed solutions to take into account while creating Circ's overall experience are 

Comfort in the ways students can collaborate.

A flow that takes into account security of students.

Simple and informative way to create a great overall experience.

Problems with creating a club

Problem

Solution

Every university has their own requirements, documentation and meetings to consider before creating a club. This process can be long and drawn out. Most times, the student does not have as much guidance or is running around all over the place to figure out the next step. 

Circ makes it easier for students because all the documentation is in one area of the app which is accessible anywhere they go. It's as simple as signing up for a club, singing a petition for a future club you believe in, and sending in your application/proposing a new club to get approved!

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Target Audiences

When creating a full empathetic experience, we know that products have different users. To create a successful product, we not only have to centralize it around one type of user, but also recognize the different types of users who will interact with the experience.

 

Primary

 

New Students (Freshmen)

Secondary

Club Organizers

College students

Tertiary

Orientation Team

High School Seniors

My main target audience and the requirements of this case study is new students, but I wanted to keep in mind the other types of users as well.

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User Personas

These personas are based on the primary target audience and basis of this design challenge: new students (freshman students). 

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 9.45.34 PM.png

Joshua Maghirang is a new student at an overwhelmingly huge school. Coming from a small, 100 student populated high school from Southern California, this is a change! He has mixed emotions of nervousness but is mostly excited for new beginnings. He's ready for a new adventure and excited to find his group of friends and study his passion. 

Joshua uses social media on the daily and advocates or AAPIA rights through these mediums.

Year: Freshman

Age: 19

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Tech Savvy: 8/10

Joshua Maghirang

Overall Feelings:

Excited

Looking forward to activities

UC Berkley

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Esther Kalu is a bright young woman who will be studying English and minoring in History at a majority arts college. She chose this school because it was close to home and gave her a generous scholarship. All her life, she's been comfortable in her own home. Now college is approaching, she's scared about the dangers she's heard in the "real world" especially in the big city. 

Esther is an introvert who loves building strong connections and sharing values with others once she gets to know them. She doubts that she'll find her group of friends right away. Once you get to know her, you'll see that she's passionate, opinionated and creative!

Reading is her hobby, but she loves her informational mobile apps more than social media

Year: Incoming Freshman

Age: 18

Major: English 

Tech Savvy: 6/10

Esther Kalu

Overall Feelings:

Scared

Anxious 

Nervous

Columbia College Chicago

Task Flows - Low Fidelity

Whilst creating the user personas, I kept the task flow of Circ in mind. The message that I wanted to portray in these tasks were the solutions I had proposed above. I chose two tasks that I thought would best represent those goals.

Joshua Maghirang

Task #1

Goals touched on: Accessibility & Security

It's the third week of school and Joshua has been to most of the club fairs on the quad, but not once has he found one that he is truly passionate in. He wants to create an Advocate for AAPIA association, but since Berkley is a huge school, he does not know where to begin to even propose a club or see who's interested. 

Finally, he remembers his orientation leader mentioning Circ, and goes on the app to find what he's looking for. 

He opens Circ, clicks on the Create feature at the bottom of the page and follows the steps: reads requirements, sign petitions, and continues on to create and propose Advocate for AAPIA association. In a matter of one week, Joshua got 60 signatures and created his first association! How fast and easy!

Task #1: Process on proposing a new club

01_Click on Create Feature

02_Click on Read 

requirements

03_Scroll through required documents to start a club page

04_Interface when clicking on document

01.2: Proposing a club process

05_Propose a new club

06_Fill out form and click save

07_Confirmation message

01.3 After confirmation process

07_Confirmation message

08_Notification for Petition approval

09_Active Petitions on User Profile

10_Confirmation Message

11_Petition Interface (Type Name to sign)

To Sign and View Petitions

12_Click on Sign/View Petition

13_Click petition to read or 

click sign to sign your name

Esther Kalu

Task #2

Goals touched on: Security, Collaboration & Emotions

Esther hasn't found her group of friends and it's the third week of school. After getting settled with all her school work, she decides it's time to get involved and find a place where she belongs within her new home. She remembers hearing about the Circ app that CCC is a part of (CCC Circ) and logs in to browse through clubs. 

She then finds the English Club and goes on that page. Upon scrolling through English Club's club page, she is able to see the photos of the club and now wants to be a part of it. She adds this club and is able to see member features such as the forum group page where everyone is interacting and collaborating as a group. Even before she attends the first meeting, she feels at ease.

03_Views photos and sees comments/likes (collaboration between members)

Task #2: Process of joining a club

02_Club page + Clicks on photo albums

02.2: Enabling messaging only after student joins the club

01_Browse section + click 

on desired club

04_join club

05_after joining club, message option appears

06_group message with option of personal direct messages

07_group message interface

08_when selecting option to send a direct message, the members of the group appear as options

Implemented Solutions - High Fidelity

Security

Circ is only accessible through your school email address with an (.)edu domain. This is to ensure safety of the students and that someone random will not be able to access.

The university has to be partnered with Circ, in order for the email addresses to be synced up and accessible. 

Circ group club messaging can only be activated once a student joins the group. This ensures privacy within the club members from peers and other classmates.

Circ disables students to create 

random clubs out of nowhere. Circ also work together with the university student involvement office, to filter out which clubs are real, fake, or disrespectful. Once the school's student involvement office approves the petition, the student will get a notification and an email. 

Accessibility

Docs on the Go!

Students can easily read club requirements and check them off as they go! No need to keep stopping by the student involvement office to check if you have everything you need. Your checklist and documents are all here. 

Another way that Circ portrays accessibility is through its quick add feature. When browsing through the club list, you can quick add through the (+) on the top right corner and it will automatically add to your club list. 

Emotions

After a student joins a club and the messaging feature is activated, the group message forum is a way where all the group members can collaborate and plan together as a group. 

Human connection, community and accessibility are what drive users to not only participate, but to stay and enjoy.

Photos, likes and comments enable students to collaborate with each other, pertaining to one's emotions. New students will see the community and involvement, and feel at ease and wanting to join in.

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& IconPond

Conclusion

This challenge reminded me of my love for user research and creating personas/boards/task flows! It's always a challenging and interesting task to design an experience that really takes into account the emotions of the users and audience.

If I could do something different, I would implement user testing. Testing is such an important part of the design process as a whole, to really ensure that the system is a human-centered one. Due to the time constraint, I wasn't able to include that. 

Overall, this project quickly turned into a meaningful experience- being a student myself. 

Onward to the next project

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