Problem: How might we help students tap into their peer network for questions related to their studies and campus life?
This is a student-initiated startup where I work with two other developers and one product manager. As the sole designer on the team, I take over the UX and visual aspect of the product.
The project focuses on providing a peer-to-peer learning social networking website for undergraduate college students and high school seniors transitioning into college. It is a platform that allows students to ask and discuss their academic and student life questions safely through self-generated usernames. For Peerstachio, our team won the grand prize of $10,000 at DTX Launch Detroit in Summer 2018.
In order to understand how students often go about seeking academic help or asking questions about student life, I interviewed three undergraduate students and one high-school senior. Key takeaways include:
Based on my findings from the user interviews, I identified five platforms as our direct and indirect competitors. It became clear that there is no single platform that addresses both academics and student life. Existing applications commonly used in colleges have relatively bad user experience and students only use them because their professors have chosen those platforms. More robust platforms such as Quora aren't specifically targeted towards students.
In order to better understand use cases and contexts and get our developers and business manager on the same page about user needs, I tried to unpack the steps taken by a primary persona who is an undergraduate student who wants to find information about a class assignment or the job search process. I then mapped out the user's steps to identify pain points and opportunities that could be explored in our new platform:
The next phase involves brainstorming the user flows to best support the user activities and tasks identified in the story map. In order to come up with an MVP for production, I decided to focus on the critical flow of how a user may use Peerstachio to find the answer to her question from her peers. The flow is broken down into three steps:
In order to prepare for pitch competitions, I created a brand identity guideline and the visual design for Peerstachio's marketing website, which includes the Home, About and Contact pages. The visual elements will be reused when I come up with high-fidelity mockups for the web application.
Marketing Website for Peerstachio (click on the image to enlarge)