A responsive website that helps new Carnegie Mellon students get settled & feel prepared at different stages of their move to Pittsburgh.

Timeline: 3 weeks, team of 2

Role: co-designer & researcher

Keywords: customer journey mapping, directed storytelling, wireframing, sketching, responsive web, to-do lists, service bundling, web design, mobile first design


Summary

Assignment

Design a new website for Carnegie Mellon that improves the experience of new students arriving here from their homes. It must be equally effective on desktop and mobile screens.

Outcome

We discovered that students were having trouble keeping track of the logistical aspect of arriving and getting settled, both in their home and around campus. We designed a responsive website to assist them in organizing and completing those tasks before and after arriving.

Takeaways

I learned how to conduct directed storytelling interviews, create customer journey maps to identify pain points, and refocus a design prompt to solve the pain points we discovered during research. I also learned to design responsive sites with strong focus on mobile first.


Process 

Directed STorytelling

We conducted interviews with current Carnegie Mellon students to learn about their experience moving to Pittsburgh at the start of school. We had them tell us the story of arriving and getting settled, focusing in on their emotions throughout the process. We discovered a high level of confidence while navigating to Pittsburgh, and then a lowered sense of confidence as they had to navigate a new city and complete various tasks, like picking up their ID on an unfamiliar campus or remembering to transfer their prescriptions to a new pharmacy nearby.

Journey Mapping

We created journey maps of the students' confidence over time as they went through the four main stages of relocation - discovery, planning, traveling, and navigation. We also created an idealized version of that same journey map to help us set a goal for what our website design should address and accomplish - avoiding that big dip in navigational confidence and the feeling of being overwhelmed with tasks upon arrival.

Scenarios & Wireframing

Using our journey maps, we developed user scenarios to give us tangible ideas about how students should feel while using our website and what interactions they could have with it. We wanted to create an application that would:

  • Decrease the amount of tasks they need to do upon arrival. 
  • Help students get oriented quickly.
  • Welcome them personally to the city and school.

We decided that by building out a traditional to-do list and bundling it with other services, we could help students feel prepared for their move using just one main website as a home base to plan ahead.


Final Result

With our user desires in mind, we created high-fidelity prototypes of a responsive website that:

Personalizes the experience of settling-in with information from their student account and class registrations. Our sketches allow students to add their own tasks to their to-do list, as well as automatically add suggested tasks based on common needs. The website should automatically take into account the student's arrival time and new address in order to provide seamless services like airport pickup and grocery drop-off.

Allows students to accomplish logistical tasks before moving through service bundling. Allowing students to interact with their to-do lists before moving (as part of the acceptance process) helps them to plan ahead and creates a platform for them to complete some of these tasks ahead of time, so that they don't have to worry about them during the busy few days of move-in. We imagined a student pulling up to their new house in Pittsburgh with a moving service waiting for them, their next meal scheduled for delivery, and their new bank card already in their mailbox.

Uses grouped errands as an opportunity to establish bearings. Some errands inevitably have to be accomplished in person. We wanted to make the best out of the situation by leveraging errands as an opportunity to help new students get oriented in their neighborhood and on campus by adding personalized navigation tips that point out landmarks and buildings. For instance, on their way to pick up their ID from Student Services, their directions might point out the building where their calculus class is on Tuesday or a good study spot around the corner.