International students feel lost in a new country
Even though there is diversity in the United States, international students face a variety of General living, Academic, Social, Cultural, Psychological and Emotional adaptational challenges when they go to a foreign country to pursue their education
Fella Mobile App
Designed a mobile application featuring voice user interface and AI which can be used by international students for searching new places, asking questions, finding friends, and learning more about different cultures.
Conducted a substantial amount of research among university students in the form of observational studies surveys and user interviews. After defining the user requirements, I created
• User flows
• Wireframes & mockups
• Interactive prototype for usability testing sessions
Create a one-stop shop for students to get the information they need
The goal was to focus on a solution which helps international students to overcome the predicaments faced in their day to day general activities in the social setting, thus making the transition smoother & convenient for students.
Understanding students & their needs
In the research phase, to understand and identify the needs of international students influencing their academics, I conducted user interviews, observations during multiple university events, and a couple of online surveys. The research questions which we addressed were:
• What are the challenges, international students face when newly enrolled in school?
• How do students find related information for their day to day needs?
• How do students cope up with stress and loneliness when they feel homesick?
• What kind of activities students tend to get engaged in to overcome their problems?
We conducted in-depth and semi-structured interviews with eight international students from different countries studying various fields at Indiana University. Students faced issues in finding a place for accommodation, dealing with bank accounts, finding preferred restaurants, getting a driving license, etc. Even after regular newsletters and announcements, students were not aware of the local events and activities happening around them
Field observations were conducted in various places like at university event, student game room, and university coffee shop. During this, we found international students were struggling with their communication to understand the local slang and various American accents.
Online surveys were divided into 5 sections which were General Information, Experiences, Cultural Differences, Technology, and Attitude. 31% of students responded to problems regarding general living, and 12% went for academic issues. Based on the responses, we decided to take some informed decisions
Challenges students were facing
On the basis of the collected research data, we categorized challenges faced by students under broad subjects. The major issues were:
Finding accommodations, creating bank accounts, phone connection, health insurances, transportation, driving license, etc.
Social & Cultural Difference
Making friends, attending local events, learning and understanding local slangs, eating preferred food in restaurants, etc
Psychological & Emotional Problems
Isolation, homesick, loneliness and stressed due to various reasons
Unable to cope up with academics due to poor English proficiency.
Identifying and linking the gathered insights
To generate an in-depth analysis of qualitative research data, as a team we performed Affinity diagramming. We consolidated the information based on the issues faced by the international students and categorized them under above discussed subject frames.
Understanding user expectations
We created user personas to understand user behavior, goals, and their exceptions when they face the problems. This helped us to empathize the user needs.
Exploring new possibilities
Affinity diagramming, left us with a lot of features which were too broad and outreached. To shortlist the main features, we conducted a brainstorming session. While mapping, we quickly realized that all the feature requirements were somehow interlinked.
Empathizing & capturing different scenarios
I created storyboards to visualize user’s scenarios in different situations. Creating this, helped us move on to see what all functionalities and features would serve best for our users.
What was the rationale behind the solution?
After all the brainstorming, we decided to design some features and functionalities which were the best fit for the solution.
Mapping out the user experience
We wanted to deliver a better user experience to students by letting them accomplish their specific goals within the app. To do this, we started by creating journey map based specific use cases.
Low fidelity prototype
Based on the selected features and user scenarios, we created low fidelity prototypes for the app using Balsamiq tool
HIGH FIDELITY PROTOTYPE
We came up with design patterns for the user interface and designed high fidelity prototype for our solution. Using the Sketch app tool, we created the main UI screens for the app which are shown below.
Signup & login process
For secured login, students can use voice passwords and face recognitions. To expedite the signup process, existing emails, facebook or twitter accounts can be used
Onboarding & Personalization
To receive personalized notifications and suggestion, users can select their preferred tasks and interests they intend to accomplish. The user can add missing fields from the list at any giving point in time.
Create your gang
Students can create gangs to based on tasks and interests they have selected during personalization within the application. Users can choose if they want to make a gang, private or public and can also add other people using their contact list.
Create & share events
Students can create events within their gangs and invite their friends to that particular event. These events will be directly synced with the calendar to remind students about the event. Once the events are scheduled, students in that gang can respond using YES, NO or MAYBE depending on their availability.
Gamified learning experience
The app will notify students if they want to play a game based on the information it provides like social facts, slangs, etc. Once the students accepts the game request, they will be able to play a quiz game. We have a lot of exciting new feature we have planned for the future like providing restaurants deal coupons and so on.
Eskenazi Health Foundation