Case Study: MajorPush

Helping to connect college freshman to upperclassmen in their degree of interest

Choosing a college degree can be a difficult decision for first year students. Many believe that choosing a particular degree will confine them to one career forever, however studies indicate that 50% of college graduates pursue careers not even related to their degree.* 

If students were encouraged to explore their interests they may be more likely to select a major they are passionate about. Pairing first-year students with a peer mentor could potentially help them discover their interests with support, guidance and resources on campus. In turn, strong student connections will lead to better academic performance, student involvement, and higher retention rates needed for a successful educational institution.

PROCESS + DELIVERABLES

— 5-Day Design Sprint
— User Research
— User Interviewing
— Personas
— Empathy Mapping
— Journey Mapping
— Prototyping
— Usability Testing

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THE PROBLEM

The student disconnect in choosing a college major.

THE SOLUTION

MajorPush: an app that would allow students to choose a major, choose a mentor, and find out if the degree they envision is the career they want.

RESEARCH

I began research with rapid mindmapping and storyboard exercises to uncover important ideas and connections between the mentor, mentee and institution. 

I found, throughout these exercises, a considerable amount of similarities. It became clear that the mentor and institution hold just as much importance in the analysis and process of how to solve this problem.

INTERVIEWING: Discovered Themes

Guidance

The relationship is a mutually beneficial peer-to-peer mentorship.

Experience

Long-term connections develop between students and school.

Reputation

High academic performance benefit the student and college’s status.

PERSONAS

I discovered the need for more than one user for this app. There’s the mentee, a younger college student seeking guidance. A mentor, an older student looking to help. And the institution, as a stakeholder, looking to gather data to help with student retention.

User Goals
— The student wants to feel fulfilled in major and make connections.
— The mentor wants to practice leadership skills and build experience.
— The college wants to see better student performance and create stronger ties with alumni.

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EXPERIENCE MAPPING

Creating an experience map allowed me to identify behavior, motivations, needs, and pain points along each user’s journey as either a mentor, mentee, or stakeholder.

View Full Size Map

Phase One

The first phase of the MajorPush journey map illustrates the pre-activity phase, or the user’s goals. The mentor wants to improve their leadership and communication skills. The mentee needs guidance to excel academically, socially, and professionally. The director is looking to improve student performance and retention rates.

Phase Two

The second phase shows the activity phase which consists of three parts: commitment, communication, and scheduling. Here, the interconnected journeys of all three users highlight important touchpoints along the way.

Phase Three

The third phase is post-activity, or the following up, between all parties. Mentor connects mentee with job leads and donates money to the program as an alumni. The mentee valued their experience and wants to give back as a mentor the next year. The administration is able to track data and behavioral patterns of students and work to better improve the program.

USER FLOWS

The user flow enabled me to clearly define the app usage for both mentor and mentee users. It states the requirements and limitations and illustrates the interactions between users. Here, I was able to better visualize and develop security measures to establish trust between the user and the application. In order for students to sign up for the app, they would need to have an official school email address that would need to be verified.

PROTOTYPING: LO-FI TO HI-FI

Early prototypes were low fidelity sketches to visualize what the initial user flow would be. For early stage testing I employed the POP app to bring my paper prototype to life. Second round of prototypes were medium fidelity, mocked up in Sketch, and tested in InVision.

USABILITY TESTING

The usability test was designed to focus on communication and scheduling within MajorPush. I recruited about five student mentors and mentees to participate in the recorded test. 

KEY TASKS

Mentee Point of View
— Sign up and create an account.
— Search for a mentor
— What do they filter by, if any? Why?
— Select a mentor and contact them.
— What form of communication do they use? Why?
— Schedule a meeting with a mentor.

Mentor Point of View
— Find your current mentees and contact one of them.
— What form of communication do they use? Why?
— Accept or decline a requested meeting. 

 

NEXT STEPS

The next phase of MajorPush will consist of usability testing focused on the new onboarding process and prototyping adjustments for the complete userflow. 

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