Project: ConnectU

Timeline: 3 months, Sept - Dec 2019

Type: Mobile

Tools Used: Adobe Creative Suite, Figma, Keynote

Project Manager: Jason Luong

Team: Karen Lee, Berlin Pang, Grace Choi, Riley Birch, Roger Li, Jenny Chauhan

 

Role/ Skill: Research, Visual, Prototyping, Agile, Low/ High fidelity mockups

Group 1.png
 

Project Overview

CONNECT + COLLABORATE

ConnectU is a social networking application that allows for students to connect and collaborate on an inclusive and encouraging platform. 

The target group were University of Waterloo students who found difficulty finding a sense of community on campus due to the remoteness of their campus.

 

The main features include a tailored feed, posts updates to recognize collaboration, a portfolio-esque profile to showcase creative work, and an organized platform to collect all relevant school events according to the user's interests. 

to build community and spirit

The Challenge

Last semester our team worked with a MDEI (Master of Design Experience Innovation) student as our project manager

  • to develop a mobile application

  • to build and improve school spirit on the Stratford Campus

Defining the Problem

Stratford is one of the 3 satellite campuses under the University of Waterloo.

Many GBDA (Global Business and Digital Arts) students complain about having to go to Stratford for classes due the remoteness of the location.

 

Although the campus is full of valuable resources and amenities, there is a feeling of isolation from the university spirit that can be found on the main campus.

The Question

How can we use a digital service to improve and create a sense of community on the Stratford Campus?

Research

Through the research, we took a closer look into:

  • The people (groups) affected by the problem and would benefit from a solution

  • The cause of the problem

  • External factors that might affect the execution of a solution

User Interviews:

Before we jumped into possible solutions to the problem, we conducted a series of user interviews to validate the problem defined.

We asked students, staff and faculty some questions to reveal how they felt about the level of spirit and community on the Stratford campus.

Summary of User Interviews

The potential user would like to see more effort being put into building community but compared to the main campus the Stratford Campus lacks opportunity for students and faculty to network and build relationships with each other

persona + experience map

Analysis:

The variety of talent and skill the students in Stratford possess isn’t something to over look. The collaboration and innovation that takes place in Stratford amongst students, staff and instructors is something to celebrate and is an opportunity to build a stronger community. 

 

Spirit doesn’t have to come solely from partying or “fun”, spirit is a sense of pride and this unique environment we have to work with has a ton of potential to build the pride we need for students to feel proud to be a part of our program.

“8 years ago on main campus it was more everyone for themselves (now the school recognizes the value of students and encourages their passions)” - staff interview

 

A solution (a platform) that encourages further collaboration and the sharing of our unique talents and interests could be a very effective way for our campus to come together and build spirit. 

Ideation

Once we defined the problem and conducted the necessary research on exactly where to focus the solution we began the ideation process.

 

This stage consisted of a couple iterations of an app that would ultimately help GBDA student to find community on the Stratford Campus as well as within the cohort. 

Iteration #1

For the first iteration of the app looked a lot like a dating app for technical skills and creative interest.

The user would swipe through the profile base and match with another user who shared similar interests. 

The user could also find "tutors" to help them with specific skills they were trying to improve and each user would be accountable to provide a pleasant experience through a rating system. 

The problem: 

The initial challenge was to improve the sense of belonging and community within the student body but the rating system could potentially lead to unwanted conflicts. 

Iteration #2

For the second iteration we made sure to focus on bringing the community together and creating a space where students on the Stratford Campus can get to know each other and share their skills

The setup process for the feed includes tailoring to fit the user's interests

The objective of the public posts are to encourage a collaborative community

The Answer

Ultimately, we created an app that allows GBDA students, in a fun and natural environment, to find fellow students and faculty who share the same interests as well as improve any creative skill they wish to grow.

Final Product

Stand Out Features:

- easy to set up, student friendly interface

- creative platform for students to collaborate on projects outside of school 

- organized news feed which includes relevant events that students can attend for community 

What makes ConnectU different?

Unlike other platforms, this one is made up of a community that understands how we all want to learn and grow as designers and students. So, it’s not as intimidating to reach out for help; it’s fine if your work isn’t the best. With ConnectU, we want to encourage people to try new things and help others.

Looking Back

Through working as a group, we were able to discuss and come up with the best designs and concepts that highlight only the best of our ideas.

 

Initially, as individuals we each had a different idea of how this app would turn out. This experience has taught me that as long I bring my best work to the table with an open mind, the final product will become something greater than myself. 

The whole process of working in a team to come up with a cohesive plan, then taking it to our manager to get his approval was a series of trail and error but I learned so much about team dynamic and new technical skills that would be valuable for any jobs or projects in the future.