How might we match students with the right study group?
Being a student has enough challenges, and finding a study group shouldn't be one of them. Even when sitting side-by-side, there is a common struggle to get to know your classmates and ask them for help. CoHort hopes to solve this problem by making it easier to find students with the same classes and goals for learning.
To narrow down what should be implemented for this project, I came up with the following challenges and solutions:
For my research, I discovered students' study habits and experiences with e-learning.
I interviewed 4 participants aged 19-22 (all either recent graduates or current students) about their experiences with studying, group collaboration, and e-learning.
All participants mentioned they studied on their own, but 50% preferred group study. Most participants felt distracted by group activities for different reasons. Despite this, 75% of them thought that being a part of a group made them feel more connected to their community.
The participants' thoughts about e-learning were mostly negative. Top concerns included being able to manage their time well, loss of social aspects and difficulty feeling engaged.
In doing secondary research and competitor analysis, I learned more about current e-learning methods and study app features that could be explored for my project. My interviews with students helped me identify the hardships of finding a study group, and offered different perspectives on learning within the digital space.
For the define stage, I focused on building a persona, sitemap, and more.
After intersecting business, user, and technical goals I looked at some potential app features through a product roadmap. Taking these needs into consideration helped me form my initial site map.
Finishing the sitemap allowed me to dive deeper into potential actions that could be completed within the app. My first user flow measured how someone would find a study group, starting from the launch of the app to viewing their new group.
Taking my earlier interviews into consideration, I made a user persona to further empathize with current needs. I also discovered a new information architecture for the app, helping me lay out a sitemap with the most necessary features. After that, I created a user flow for finding a study group which later guided my design.
To test my user flows, I made some mid-fidelity wireframes for people to interact with.
I conducted a usability test with Figma's prototyping tool using my wireframes. This was the most ambitious one I've performed, and also one with the most tasks. I felt it was necessary to perform moderated testing to help guide the participants through if they were lost.
Later on, I found common ways to group their insights with an affinity map. My highest priority was to adjust the flow for finding a study group.
After receiving feedback from both my usability test and peers, I discovered ways in which to make the process of finding a study group much simpler. Here are a few key changes made to the overall flow:
Here, I combined both 'Your Groups' and 'Group Match' into one section to avoid confusion and extra steps for finding a study group. In doing so, I could effectively bring the 'Account' section down to the primary navigation as I originally intended.
I also included the option to 'Create a Group' for those looking to recruit single members to their study group.
Previously, within the 'Group Match' section, I had the 'Find a Group' page as a part of the initial search process. Here, I had the idea of students being able to team up with other people also looking to form a group or to start a new request of their own.
Later, I found it made more sense to move 'Open Requests' into a new section where those trying to make a group could find new members. To increase efficiency, I removed this screen from the flow altogether and went straight to choosing a class for the study group.
You are a student looking for a few people from your class to study with. How would you log in and find a study group?
You've been accepted to a new study group. Your group members would like you to join them for an introductory call. How would you go about RSVPing to this meeting?
You have a virtual meeting coming up soon. How would you find this meeting and join the call?
You'd like to give your group leader some kudos for their hard work. How would you find their profile and give them a badge?
Testing with mid-fidelity wireframes allowed me to quickly update elements based on the results. Moderated testing was particularly insightful this time around since a few participants expressed frustration while completing a task. Creating an affinity map helped me organize their thoughts, to be considered in the next iteration of the design.
To create CoHort's UI design, I had to come up with a brand that matched their values.
When creating the logo, I thought to include an image of two people meeting, since this is an app focused on connecting students. I semi-disguised this figure within the capital "H", so it is still recognizable as the word "CoHort" with a bit of added character.
A few words I would use to describe CoHort's brand are friendly, purposeful, resourceful, and brilliant. I wanted to capture this aspect throughout the color scheme and other UI elements, as something approachable yet still valuable for academics.
With the new branding guidelines in place, I went on to form the UI design using my wireframes as a base. For this project, I followed Material guidelines to practice designing for Android devices.
Constructing a brand for CoHort was a worthwhile experience that allowed me to match my design to their company values. I made sure that my interface was user-friendly and welcoming to students who might feel intimidated by joining a study group. After finishing the UI design, I drew back to my user testing and made some major changes to the process of finding a group. Completing this reiteration of design helped me see how valuable feedback from both users and peers can be.
I made the final prototype with InVision, shown on a Google Pixel 3XL.
CoHort was one of my more intensive UX projects, providing me with challenges to explore and the experience of creating a concept from start to finish.
If I had more time, I would conduct another usability test to see the efficiency of my updated design. I would also incorporate more into the "Learning" aspect of the app, as some students I interviewed expressed their concerns with e-learning.
Ultimately, I believe I met my goal of finding an easy, all-inclusive way to bring students together and enhance knowledge within a community. I learned that collaboration and teamwork is an important part of learning, and can also give valuable experiences in post-grad life.