JiSun Hong
Product Designer

Academicly

Research, Design & Testing the enrollment management system

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OVERVIEW

Project Brief

Academicly is an enrollment management system that brings students, high schools, and colleges together in one ecosystem to manage the college application process through real-time document sharing, communication, and expanding opportunity and access to education.

The Goal

The goal is to improve the overall experience of the web application in order to acquire many more students to the platform in the near future.

My Role

Responsible for a variety of UX tasks, including; conducting user research, restructuring the user flow, usability testing, and creating the final prototype.

Team

Worked in a cross-functional team - CEO, Product Engineer, and Creative Director. As the main product designer, I was involved in all phases of the project, from mapping out the problem to delivering final designs.

Plan & Understand

Problem

Many high school students struggle to look for the right colleges that meet all their requirements. It is common to get lost in the process.  Especially for first-generation immigrants that move here at a young age.  Most parents have clueless about how to apply for higher education. 

How might we create a seamless experience for students to search and apply to their desired colleges?

Design Process

Academicly

Research Method

User Survey

Who: 133 High school students using google forms
Goal: To understand the student's overall challenge in searching for colleges & universities.

1-on-1 Interviews

Who: 2 High school students using through google hangouts call
Goal: To obtain a thorough understanding of the pain points, motivations, and goals.

Define

Information Architecture

Shown below is the IA of how the experience will take place for students, (old and new) once they login to Academicly.

Ideate & Prototype

Wireframes

Using the user flow and looking through the current product, I created quick wireframes using Figma to get a sense of where the main elements would be placed. Once the wireframe was complete, I went through the designs with the CEO and the Creative Director to make sure everyone was on the same page. After some feedback, I iterated the designs to proceeded forward with implementing the UI.

Validate

User Testing

I was able to talk to five high school students to usability test the product for validation before shipping out the product to the developers. User testing was done remotely, through google hangouts. All the users had very different insights about the product and I was grateful to gain feedback for the designs I created.

Key Findings

  • Lack of consistency & discoverability

  • Confusing elements in the application

  • Grouping of information needs improvement

  • A better way to communicate certain functionalities

Final Design Solution

Academicly

Student Profile

Students can create a personalized profile where they can highlight their achievements.

Academicly

Documents all-in-one Place

Students are able to upload documents required for college applications.

Academicly

Manage Colleges Applied

Students are able to look at which colleges they applied to. They are also able to view the status of their application. 

Academicly

Chat with recruiters

Students are able to chat with college representatives and ask any questions they may have about the college.

Academicly

College Search

Students are able to search for colleges by either typing out the name or filtering the search. 

Implementation

After finalizing the design, I used Figma and Invision to deliver the designs to the engineering team. When they complete the product, I am planning to conduct another round of usability testing to provide suggestions and fix any minor usability issues that appear.

Reflection

The next steps involve more QA work, user testing, and design iterations once the complete product is pushed live.

I feel like Academicly is such an essential tool especially for students who feel lost, and confused about where they would have to go after high school. I remember myself struggling to apply to college overseas because my parents were unaware of all the important documents that needed to be prepared.

I’ve learned how important user testing is and feedback is essential to any product that is created by human beings. We can make mistakes, we can miss a minor issue that could be a major issue to someone else. Note to self: Continue testing, getting feedback, and iterate the designs accordingly.

5
Iterations
79
Screens
20%
More users