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Tiger Connect

Struggling to know your new campus?

Tiger Connect is your savior! A networking app that helps you adjust better to the campus life by seeking advice, tracking your check-lists and making new connections.

Type - Mobile, iOS, Prototyping

Tools - Figma, Google forms, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign

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Why is it important to adjust to campus life?

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Increased personal freedom and responsibility

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New networks at college  differ from high school connections

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Different academic strategies needed for success

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Greater complexity of time-management responsibilities

How are universities approaching the issue?

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UH Go allows the students to, access important academic features like add/drop classes,

access Blackboard​, find real-time shuttle tracking information, find your way around campus

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The Santa Clara University app makes reserving rooms, looking up courses, finding campus buildings, etc easier.

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NAU students have access to join clubs and activities, sign up for notifications and intramural sports, find a job and complete a timesheet.

Who am I designing the application for?

Students of Rochester Institute of Technology

Incoming students, International or domestic, face difficulties in adjusting to campus life. They have to cross the barrier of seeking advice from seniors and build a new  network. Wherever they come from, they still have their own set of questions to be answered.

Why a mobile application?

  • 95% of students own a laptop or a smartphone.

  • Mobile technology's high ownership has translated into increased usage to support student learning.

  • Most powerful and portable tool at our disposal.

Existing solutions at RIT to help the incoming students - 

  • General - Email Threads/Newsletters

  • Peer Facilitators - A group of domestic students are assigned a senior, who is in direct touch with them via email from 3 months prior to orientation, responsible for answering all the queries

  • PALS  - Peer Advisor Leaders - A group of international students are assigned an experienced student, who is in direct touch with them via email from 3 months prior to orientation, responsible for answering all the queries

  • Graduate office - Emails/Calls for the graduate students

  • Division of Student Affairs - Organizes the orientation events, for the incoming students

  • International student services - Emails/Calls to help international students with their respective concerns

  • RIT mobile application - Updates of college events, dining areas, shuttle schedules, etc.

Problem Statement

How can I help incoming students who feel concerned about navigating through a new campus experience, need to seek advice from experienced seniors but is uncertain how to reach out?

Scenario 1 # International Student

 

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Receives acceptance package

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College provides University email & password

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Starts receiving emails/newsletters

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Visa interview

- VISA queries

- Trying to figure out which documents, medical reports to carry

- Concerns regarding items to purchase according to the weather

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Orientation

Reaches university

Travel to a new country

Planning & purchasing

- Campus Map

- Shuttle schedule

- Dining

- Orientation events

- On campus jobs

- How to travel interstate?

- Cab systems

- Banking

- Cell service

- Housing

Insurance

- Financial Aid

Orientation

Reaches university

Travel to a new state/city

Planning & purchasing

Scenario 2 # Domestic Student

 

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Receives acceptance package

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College provides University email & password

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Starts receiving emails/newsletters

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College tour

- Campus checking

- Academic queries

- Housing concerns

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- Campus Map

- Shuttle schedule

- Dining

- Orientation events

- On campus jobs

- State rules

- Best way to travel inter-  state

Insurance

- Financial Aid

Tiger Connect will help

them connect.

Key Features - 

  1. A Wall mirroring a social media like pattern to post questions and advice.

  2. Build a college network through connecting with current students.

  3. Check-lists to insure one does not miss out on any tasks.

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Paw Wall

Build connections

Track your lists

Understanding the user

I conducted interviews to understand the user behavior and needs.

I decided to interview 2 current RIT students,  2 incoming students and the director of International Student Services at RIT to understand  the user journey better.

I was able to collect 21 responses through Google Forms.

Through Affinity Mapping, I discovered the embedded patterns and clustered the ​information into 3 focus points.

  1. Creating a network

  2. Orientation Tasks

  3. Commute

Problems faced by incoming students

  • No communication platform between the students

  • Difficult to find help with non-academic chores

  • Lack of information about orientation processes

Problems faced by experienced students

  • No network between the students

  • Excess spamming caused by incoming students (email) 

  • Find it difficult to share advice with others

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User Flow

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The user flow would remain the same for incoming and experienced students.​

The only difference will be the tasks changing according to the student's academic needs.

Low Fidelity Paper Mock-ups

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Information Architecture

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Since the application has been designed keeping RIT students as my focus, the user is supposed to

log-in through their university ID, avoiding the hassle of creating another username and password.

Onboarding

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Writing a post

PAW WALL, lets the users interact by letting them post questions or advice.

The option of adding +1 to a question eliminates the chances of redundant questions.

Hashtags make it easier to discover posts around specific topics like trending, academics, most asked.

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Post visibility allows the user to make it public or just seen by the people tagged. This helps, if there is a question directed to someone in particular.

Segregating the posts allows the user to search for posts specific to their concern, reducing the load of scrolling through the entire feed.

Since RIT is called the brick city, a brick wall icon was selected.

Commenting and sharing as post allows the users to start a conversation or      re-post.

Tasks

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The check-list contains all the tasks to be completed on arriving to the campus

Google Maps Integration 

The location of the destination is visible through google maps.

Personal Note option gives user the freedom to keep important information noted.

What and Where simplifies the process.

Google Keep & Google Drive integration

Connecting with others

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Searching for a user will list down their profile and recent posts, making it easier to navigate through.

Posts with tagged locations helps students find the destination through google maps.

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The profile of the user mentions their college, year and course to provide enough information to another user to send an invite.

The email ID is not provided here, to avoid spamming of questions directed to a single person.

RIT assigns PALS to incoming students to ask questions & seek guidance. 

Here, the PALS hold some accountability for responding to the questions asked on the wall. 

(Well, we don't want to leave questions unasnwered)

Google Hangout and Google Meet  Integration

The user can send an invitation, through hangouts to start a personal conversation with the other student. 

Suggested Connections

Creating a user profile will help the other students find the user hassle free

The user has the ability  to enable/disable the option of letting other students send direct invites on Google Hangout.

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Once the user has created their profile, the application suggests three possible connections the user could make to increase their network.

1. RIT assigned PAL 

2. Course Senior

3. Peer

*All the RIT logos & branding tool kits are available on their website for the students.

Scope

  • Google Integration - An improved map layout for RIT campus that highlights the​ key features of RIT.

  • RIT uses G suite as its workspace and a lot of other google services can be integrated in this product for possible scenarios like scheduling meetings, making announcements etc.

  • The check-lists can be transferred to Google Keep.

What I learnt

  • Since there's very little to offer for an experienced student on the application, this project's features can be Add - ons to RIT's current mobile application.

  • One-week target forced me to surrender a lot of my design process.  

  • If I had more time, I would re-think the project with complete awareness and add Usability Testing reviews.

Thanks for scrolling!