Take control of your college experience.
CampusNow is an EdTech app concept that bridges the gap between students' academic and social lives, allowing them to take control by having all the productivity tools they need in one place.
Lead UX/UI Designer
For many young folks, college is their tutorial for adult life and it can feel like being thrown to the dogs.
Between getting your work done on time, maintaining some semblance of a social life, attending extra curriculars, remembering to eat and do laundry, it can be overwhelming to keep up with it all, especially for those who are living on their own for the first time.
That’s why some partners and I set out to find a solution that could help students cope and make it easier for them to manage, and possibly even, enjoy college.
In order to better understand our target audience and stakeholders, my team and I interviewed and surveyed over 100 students and Higher Ed professionals from colleges and universities of various sizes and geographic locations.
The goal was to measure how students were currently managing their time and how it was working out for them.
of students said they felt somewhat or very stressed about their school/life balance in the last 6 months
of students said they use a calendar or planner of some kind
have used a productivity app in the past
Based on the results of our research, I put together personas so we knew who we were designing for. I created roughly six student personas and four higher ed professional personas, including the three below. From there, I used the personas to start mapping some user journeys.
Danny is a junior Music Education major at Pleasantville University. When he isn’t practicing his trumpet or preparing for student teaching, he enjoys hanging out with friends, volunteering, participating in a couple on-campus clubs, and teaching lessons to make some cash.
Due to being involved with so many activities, Joe tends to occasionally forget things he has to do, such as homework. He uses a physical planner to keep up with everything but finds it ineffective when things get busy.
- Keeping up with everything going on
- Staying as involved with extracurriculars as possible
- Remembering important to-dos
- Current organization system is ineffective when busy
- Trouble balancing school and social life
- Flexibility to make the app work for each individual’s life and style
- All-in-one app that makes it easy to plan for everything going on in a student’s life without the use of multiple app
- Power to add custom information so that students can account for whatever life throws at them
- Customization for universities to measure their own KPIs and institute their branding
With a firm understanding of our stakeholders and their requirements, it was time to work on the IA. One of the biggest obstacles for is the classic struggle in UX: making a solution that actually solved students’ problems while keeping it simple enough that it wasn’t overwhelming.
Being that we’re working with students who are going to be checking the app quickly, often between classes or during study breaks, I wanted to focus on simplicity and easy navigation.
To tackle this, the team and I created user journey maps for each of our personas. I then took the journeys and worked through task flows for how different stakeholders might work through each of our main features.
With the basic architecture and flows laid out, I started to sketch out some UI concepts that hit our requirements while remaining feasible for our MVP.
In order to keep allow quick switching, I ultimately took a minimalist approach to the design.
In order to conduct some testing, we developed two high-fidelity prototypes. As navigation options was something we wanted to test, we decided to develop one featuring a bottom navigation bar and one with a hamburger menu.
As the colors would be customized per each school, we decided to go with black and white to avoid any bias in testing.
Prototype w/ Bottom Nav
Prototype w/ Hamburger
With our initial prototype ready to go, I designed an A/B Usability test to measure navigability, performance and how well it meshed with a students current process.
The key things we sought out were:
- Ease of Navigation
- Bottom Nav vs Hamburger Nav
- Usability of the app based on basic productivity tasks
The bottom navigation was an easier, quicker navigation method, resulting in less clicks and a quicker navigation time.
The home page really didn’t add anything to the experience, with users never really returning to it after the initial landing.
Many users didn’t understand the difference between Calendar and Events without entering each module.
Based on our findings in testing, we made some major overhauls to the UI, one being the removal of the splash screen. We also moved to group anything relating to on-campus activities under one tab.
This is the final result.
This concept went on to place in the Top 3 in a start-up competition.
Our team was approached by a few higher ed institutions to develop the versions for them, but the project was ultimately abandoned due to lack of funding and poor timing, among other factors.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
This project held a bunch of firsts for me. While the business didn’t succeed, I learned a lot about myself and my process and it provided a chance to try out new things, such as ditching the hamburger menu or redesigning a time-tested artifact, like a calendar.
At some points, we got too hung up on things that weren’t essential to MVP due to some stakeholder pushback, which made some of our more important post-testing improvements take longer to do. While this was frustrating, it was extremely helpful in learning how to manage stakeholder expectations.