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PRATTCONNECT

GooglDESIGN CHALLENGE

Demo video: 1- Week Solo Design Sprint

01.

T H E   I S S U E    

Pratt Institute is seeking to design an experience that encourages experienced students to connect with new students. These new students have little to no experience navigating the institute. Whereas experienced students are defined by having at least a year of familiarity with the institute. For the design to strengthen Pratt's community, the experience must fulfill the following goals:
 

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02.

R E S E A R C H

I first looked up data on student demographics and the institutes' existing clubs and members. The purpose was to determine key connections among all Pratt students.

Below are some key findings:

 

  1.  Students are mainly women

  2. Institute has a larger undergraduate community
    (39% difference from graduate enrollments)

  3. International students make up 52% of the graduate student body

  4. Out-of-state students make up 74% of the undergraduate

  5. "Cultural & Diversity" and "Department" specific clubs are most abundant and popular.

User Surveys and Personas

These general findings helped shape my questions for user interviews and questionnaires. I had 12 participants take part in two research methods. 10 first-year participants took an anonymous questionnaire with 15 open-ended and multiple-choice questions related to finding a mentor. Two experienced students participated in a separate interview focused on obstacles and motivations to becoming a mentor. My questions focused on finding the motivations and barriers Pratt students face. For example, “As a first-year, what was difficult to navigate without a mentor?" Below are my findings:

👇 Two user groups & personas defined 👇

First-Year
(mentee)

  • Only 50% of first-years had a mentor

  • Mentors are met informally mainly as friends

  • Students would like a mentor for choosing classes, finding events, and making friends

  • Over 60% are interested in finding a mentor

  • Students locate events and clubs mainly through
    email or word-of-mouth

  • Students are mainly between the ages of 18-24

  • Students feel a strong disconnect between the Manhattan & Brooklyn campuses, making it hard to get involved with events or students. One first-year commented, "They are different worlds."

Experienced
(mentor)

  • Both students were open to the idea of mentoring a student

  • Obstacle is making free time and scheduling a time to meet

  • Feel they are an informal mentor, by providing advice in passing or to friends

  • Aside from clubs or events, they do not engage with first years as often because they are in specialized courses rather than pre-requisites

  • Are unaware of a platform they could become a mentor or mentee for Pratt students. Expressed interest in meeting mentors themselves.

  • They also feel a disconnect between Manhattan & Brooklyn campus.

 
 

03.

S T R U C T U R I N G   C O N T E N T 

PrattConnect became the name of this platform designed to create empowering connections in life, work, and academics for Pratt students. Given students' busy schedules, a mobile app experience could be better integrated into a user's daily routine than a website.

The mobile phone is a daily use device. Likewise, an app allows for greater personalization of content and experience. For instance, students with disabilities can rely on their set accessibility tool preferences to enjoy the content. 

Below is a breakdown of the apps' journey: 

ONBOARDING
MENTORS & MENTEES

Mentee Onboarding
Mentee Onboarding

Mentor Onboarding
Mentor Onboarding

Mentee Onboarding
Mentee Onboarding

1/2

2 Sign-Up Modes & an Onboarding Quiz

To design PrattConnect's onboarding and matching, I studied UX designs for the dating service, Bumble, and the social networking site, Meetup. PrattConnect is one app with two different modes: mentor or mentee mode. With this structure, the app can cater to the needs of a wider range of students. For instance, experienced students interested in being a mentee can do so. Whereas, first-years can still have an experience tailored to their needs. Similar to Bumble modes, users will be able to switch between modes. The system creates a sustainable cycle in which mentees, can eventually transition into mentors throughout their time at Pratt. The app grows with its users.

Next, I focused on using student's personal data, academic background, strengths or needs, and personal interests to create a matching system. Students, mentors, and mentees, will be able to check off categories applicable to them. These questions act as a way of providing account personalization, but also a point-system to better match mentees with mentors based on their number of shared interests.

HOMEPAGE/NEWSFEED
MENTORS & MENTEES

Homepage - Mentee Mode
Homepage - Mentee Mode

Homepage - Mentor Mode
Homepage - Mentor Mode

Homepage - Mentee Mode
Homepage - Mentee Mode

1/2

PrattConnect's homepage will act as a student's personalized newsfeed. Users can do the following:

• Search users, topics, and events
• Discover personalized recommendations (mentors, topics, events, etc.) based on onboarding selections
• View trending tip articles posted by users
• See a calendar with a short preview list of their upcoming appointments

Through this structure, mentees will be able to locate mentors but also be able to engage with the entire Pratt community. Similarly, experienced users will view the app as more than a mentor system by it allowing them to discover relevant "tip articles," events, or users. This function mirrors popular apps, like Meetup or Reddit, but feels more localized as the content produced is by Pratt students. Students can actually reach out and engage with the people posting.

Quick Searches & Personalized Homepage

PROFILE
MENTORS & MENTEES

Profile - Mentee Mode
Profile - Mentee Mode

Profile - Mentor Mode
Profile - Mentor Mode

Profile - Mentee Mode
Profile - Mentee Mode

1/2

PrattConnect's homepage will act as a student's personalized newsfeed. Users can do the following:

• Search users, topics, and events
• Discover personalized recommendations (mentors, topics, events, etc.) based on onboarding selections
• View trending tip articles posted by users
• See a calendar with a short preview list of their upcoming appointments

Through this structure, mentees will be able to locate mentors but also be able to engage with the entire Pratt community. Similarly, experienced users will view the app as more than a mentor system by it allowing them to discover relevant "tip articles," events, or users. This function mirrors popular apps, like Meetup or Reddit, but feels more localized as the content produced is by Pratt students. Students can actually reach out and engage with the people posting.

Control Who, When, & How You Connect With Other Students

 

04.

I D E A T I O N

Building off the new site map and user research, I created high-fidelity prototypes of the onboarding process, homepage, and profile in the perspective of the mentee persona, Myra. The design was meant to address the issues of:

• Connecting new students to experienced students
• Creating an effective registration & pairing system
• Meeting the needs of mentors and mentees

Pratt Connect Breakdown.jpg
Homepage Wireframe
Profile Wireframe
Onboarding Wireframe
Logo Brainstorm

FINAL USER FLOWS

Two onboarding modes: "Are you a mentor or mentee? or both?"

Both user groups (First-Years & Experienced Students) expressed wanting to be a mentor & mentee. For this reason, the app has two onboarding modes: Mentor Mode and Mentee Mode.

This setup allows for flexibility where experienced students can still be mentees and first-years can still have a mentoring experience tailored to their needs. This setup also creates a sustainable cycle in which mentees, can eventually transition into mentors throughout their time at Pratt. The app grows with its users.

PRATT%20CONNECT%20FINAL%20MOCKUP_edited.
Mentee Mentor.png
Onboarding 2.png
Onboarding 3.png

Personalized Onboarding: "What are you seeking?"

 Instead of a traditional form, students are prompted to take a gamified quiz that provides a quick & engaging experience for students. Using images and simple questions about their needs, interests, & goals the quiz is a channel for all students to tailor the mentoring experience they seek. The responses from the quiz leads them to be matched with like-minded individuals based on academic background, advisement type, and the personal interests selected. 

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quiz 2.png
quiz 3.png
quiz 4.png
quiz 5.png
 

Custom Newsfeed: "Need some quick recommendations?"

I limited the homepage to a Discovery Newsfeed with three widgets: Recommended Mentors, Trending Tips, and a Calendar feature. This was meant to allow users to learn about events, activities, and peers relevant to them without feeling overwhelmed. I wanted to avoid repeating the negative reaction email spamming caused. In turn, this approach would focus on improving discoverability & utilizing personalized recommendations to spur engagement.

mentor request 1.png
Mentor request 2.png
 

05.

C O N C L U S I O N

Due to the seven-day time constraint, my research & final design decisions were based solely on Pratt students & friends. I do feel my user insights could benefit from greater diversity. Diversifying my results by recruiting more students outside of Pratt and even staff from student engagement offices would provide stronger insights to improve the product's design.

Additional data would suggest information such as “how are other schools navigating the orientation & mentoring process now?" and "What methods of engagement have or have not worked?" Speaking to different schools could reveal overlapping needs and challenges to validate some of my design assumptions.