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Alluminate

In this project, I worked on concpetualizaing and prototyping an app for incoming students to help get their questions answered from their alumni network.
What is this Project About?

We were asked to collect stories from fellow classmates about their experience of getting to Carnegie Mellon. This journey included the work students do from the time they learn of their acceptance through the time they arrive on campus and start classes. Based on insights from the collected stories, we were supposed to envision a preferred future and use this vision to create an app that helps incoming students transition from home to school.

What is Alluminate?

Alluminate is an App which helps incoming students get onboarded and helps connect with the Current students

Overview
Research
Research
Research

We were asked to collect stories from fellow classmates about their experience of getting to Carnegie Mellon.This journey included the work students do from the time they learn of their acceptance through the time they arrive on campus and start classes. Based on insights from the collected stories, we were supposed to envision a preferred future and use this vision to create an app that helps incoming students transition from home to school.

"I did not know where to begin, what classes to take, what I should do that would align with my career goals"

Key Insight

1. Although a lot of information is shared on FB, not everyone has access to FB
2. Incoming students have a lot of anxiety regarding different kinds of things such as courses, jobs, life in a new city etc. for which they reach out to current students/alumni.
3. Course registration was one of the most common pain points. We analysed the issue based on the interviews. It seemed like people where overwhelmed by looking at all kinds of courses on SIO and not being sure what to pick up.
4. Courses decide what you get out of the program and what career path you can take. CMU SIO has brief description of each course but students find it difficult to figure out how particular course could help them in achieving their career goals/ matching their interests
5. People get a important info during Open House Sessions because of one-on-one communication but not everybody can attend the open house sessions, esp. international students.
6. Although FB serves as a platform where incoming students can ask questions, not everyone feels comfortable to ask questions on an online forum

Storyboarding
Research

We generated 4 storyboards and speed dated with a few participants. The ideas varied from an anonymous question answering platform to a platform for more informative course registration to one which sets up students with mentors to automated course selection. We tried to play around with the level of automation and human involvement in our ideas to see the reactions from people.

1. Leaving something as important as course selection (which would play a big role in deciding career paths) to a machine might not be the best idea after all!.
2. Human element is really important. Having anonymous interactions would create a sense of disconnect amongst the students.
3. We realized that having incoming students connect with current students/alumni creates a wonderful opportunity where they can create valuable networks for a lifetime.
4. The participants agreed with the idea that the feeling of connection would be stronger and the students would be more likely to respond to students who have a lot in common in terms of educational background, interests, career goals etc. as they themselves would have gone through a similar state of dilemma.
5. Students would be likely to pass on valuable advice to the incoming students as they themselves were helped in a similar way when they were about to join through the same service and it is one's conscience which would motivate one to contribute and help out.
6. Participants liked the idea of having a mentor assigned to the students having similar interest/background, who could guide them and provide valuable advice for the journey ahead.

Concept Overview
Research
Low-fi Wireframes
Research

We started off by creating rough sketches of a few critical screens and the flow structure of the app on the whiteboard . We then created low fidelity wireframes by paper prototyping in order to get early user feedback on the concept and initial interaction flows.

Mid-fi wireframes
Research

We generated 4 storyboards and speed dated with a few participants. The ideas varied from an anonymous question answering platform to a platform for more informative course registration to one which sets up students with mentors to automated course selection. We tried to play around with the level of automation and human involvement in our ideas to see the reactions from people.

User Testing
Research

I conducted user testing with 3 users on the Hi-Fi InVision prototype to get feedback and identify usability issues. Here are some of the key learnings from the user testing session 1. The sudden jump to the home screen after confirmation of the mentor was sudden and confusing. As a result, one user thought that all the subsequent questions/answers would be relevant to his mentor only.
2. The different tags for the courses were helpful in describing the courses.
3. The "Add More" interaction was much more intuitive than the previous one.
4. The description of why the interests and mentors were matched helped in understanding how the action was taken and improving "trust".
5. The Bookmarking feature should be available in the summarized view of the answers as well and not only the detailed view.