Career Pathway Application & Showcase

CGT 45200: User Experience Design II

Designed and prototyped the user experience and user interface of a conceptual career showcase application and informational website for the UI/UX career pathway in the Computer Graphics Technology program at Purdue University Northwest (PNW).

Introduction

Project Type

Academic

Duration

2 months

My Role

Product Designer

Tools

Adobe XD, Photoshop

Background

The problem

The CGT program at PNW is experiencing a downturn in new student enrollment.

In response, faculty restructured the curriculum to allow students to focus on specific pathways relative to demands of the regional job market. One key market area that trend towards increased demand is UI/UX Design. Thus, in order to increase the enrollment in these courses, program stakeholders have determined an investment in the marketing of UI/UX courses is warranted.

The high-level business goal is to increase the awareness of the UI/UX courses within the CGT program at PNW among middle-and-high school students who are interested in pursuing CGT-related careers. The low-level business goal is to increase the enrollment of new students into these courses by 20% by the start of the 2021-2022 academic year.

HOw might we

How might we develop an experience that will result in potential and first-year CGT students who may be interested in pursuing this pathway enrolling in UI/UX courses within the CGT program at PNW?

Strategy

As a class broken into teams, we began our research by extensively evaluating the UX strategy of the product. My team and I evaluated the 4 tenants of UX strategy, as well as conducted a competitive analysis to better understand what competitors were offering.

Tenant EVAluation
Business Strategy

The Computer Graphics Technology (CGT) program must acquire and maintain sustainability. The two major guiding principles for achieving this objective include showcasing job opportunities in UI and UX along with the growing demand in the regional marketplace, and demonstrating course outcomes in an interactive student gallery.

A competitive analysis of other regional universities allowed us to take away 3 main findings:

UI & UX courses being offered at regional universities is limited
Purdue Northwest offers one of the most affordable tuition rates of regional universities
Purdue places emphasis on student success through graduation rates and student-to-faculty ratios
Competitive Analysis Document (click to enlarge)
Value Innovation

To meet the stated business objectives, this project must focus on adopting a strategy of sustaining innovation among PNW existing customer base, specifically to currently enrolled first-year college students AND potential middle and high school students whom are college bound.

Most students at PNW are commuters, paying around $10,000 a year.

PNW being one of the cheapest colleges in the Midwest allows these customers to attain high value at a reasonable cost.

Validated User Research

A Minimum Viable Product must provide information about the value and benefit of UI/UX courses in the CGT program by establishing a causal relationship with the upward trends of UI/UX related careers in the marketplace. However, more is needed. Based on previous research, the one of the common pain points across all users is being overwhelmed with options and information. To take away the feeling of being overwhelmed, it is important to have features that address this factor.

Killer UX

The features critical to this product include designing key moments to motivate users to explore information by intuitive search and navigation, and finding information with very little excise. Enabling users to weave through touch points online and offline is vital: examples include subscribe to email buttons to send them up to date student work or information and connect with program advisors and faculty. However, success is dependent on two significant factors, search and navigation, which will provide the most value experience to users.

Value Proposition

Using the evaluated information in the UX strategy outline, we evaluated PNW's value proposition within the market. We needed to understand what specifically made PNW a valuable option to seeking students.

Product needs

In order for our product to be more useful to users, we determined that it must:

1

Deliver relevant content

2

Provide an outstanding experience

3

Give information about UI/UX

4

Showcase rising demand for UI/UX & show courses

Strategic approaches to accomplish this could include:
•  Focus on core services, as they are the main pulling factors for any business to attract potential customers
•  Ideas and strategies should focus on increasing the value of core services
•  Persuade users that CGT UI/UX courses align with the growing demand for UI/UX in the marketplace
•  Display the benefits of studying UI/UX in the CGT program

Searchability

Care must be taken to design a search experience that enables users to locate information they need. The design must facilitate search for both beginner and intermediate users. Beginning users will need to have an information architecture that would make sense and follow similar structures they have already become accustomed to.

Navigation

User Needs Analysis

uSer personas

Using the given and discovered information from research and UX strategy evaluation, my team created user personas for members of our target user groups.

01

Meet Jack, a senior in high school who's currently in his college search process. Jack has a passion for technology, but wants to pursue something that allows him to express his creativity at the same time.

02

Meet Nichole, an 8th grader who's curious about what her future life will be like. Nichole is outgoing and loves talking to people, but she's afraid she won't find something that interests her and allows her to express herself through others.

User journeys

After the creation of personas, my team and I created user journey maps to better understand the flow and experience that these users would have.

Ideation

Sketches

To explore design solutions, I sketched various versions of interfaces. Eventually, I ended up with a solution that I felt best represented my user's wants, needs, and motivations.

My team decided to utilize a voluntary survey feature to lead users toward relevant and interesting pathways in the Computer Graphics Technology program.

Wireframes

From my sketches, I developed wireframes in Adobe XD.

Design

brand guidelines
Mockups
Mockups (click to enlarge)

Reflections & Takeaways

This project allowed me to practice critical thinking, attention to detail, and human-centered design thinking to consider all the useful features and information that I could add to a website that I use almost daily. I sought opportunities to experiment with novel interactions and patterns to develop the best experience possible for my users.

In the end, I was able to develop an intuitive and practical experience, with a consistent visual design system designed to subtly inform users about available shortcuts, but ultimately give the end-user all control and versatility.

Thanks for reading 😊

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