Case Study: CPP Registration Planner

The following is a case study for a California Polytechnic State University, Pomona mobile planning app created for a class assignment.

Problem Statement: Cal Poly Pomona students need a more accessible, comprehensive way to identify the classes they need to take.

Step 1: Research

The first step to creating an app was understanding the problem that we designers could find a solution to. As a group, we first began to figure out the main concerns and frustrations of the students of Cal Poly Pomona. With the help of the professor, our group figured out that registering for classes was stressful and problematic for Cal Poly Pomona students. Based on this, we began to gather research on student problems and where the problems arised from.

We created a survey that would find out the main factors of registering for classes that students were having problems with and how the students felt the issues needed to be addressed. We came up with the questions together as a group and I was able to put it together into a google form. The following is some of the data gathered from 66 student responses:

Another important part of our research process was creating a journey map that demonstrated the thoughts of students as they’re going through the registration process. I created the journey map on paper first, and then Alyssa, my group member, was able to digitize it and put it on our group Powerpoint. This allowed us to clearly see what students were doing, how they were thinking, and what they were feeling during this process.

The main insight we gathered from the journey map was that students felt stressed and unsure of what classes they need, if they are following their road map, and if they took all of the prerequisites that a class requires while planning out their schedule. Also, students should find time to plan their schedule before actually enrolling to decrease their stress. Registering for classes is something that students dread because of how confusing and stressful the process is.

Step 2: Defining the Problem

Based on our research, we created a series of “How Might We” statements, where we would figure out how to address the main concerns of Cal Poly Pomona students. It took a lot of revising to finally get to statements that were not too broad or too specific, and really allowed us to address the problem we wanted to face. The final how might we statement we came up with is:

How might we make planning classes for registration less stressful and more straightforward for Cal Poly Pomona students.

Based on our how might we statements, we came up with the final problem statement, which is:

Cal Poly Pomona students need a more accessible, comprehensive way to identify the classes they need to take.

Step 3: Ideation

After our research and defining the problem that needed to be addressed, we began brainstorming how the app would be used in context. We thought about the features and context the app would have, and how people would use the app and in what context they would use it in.

We thought about who would use the app, why they would use the app and when, and specific features of the app individually then put them into clusters for each category. From these different sections we were able to create one storyline that showed the purpose of the app and how someone would use it. Individually, I expanded on the storyline we created in class and put it on a document, and then the group edited and added on to the story. Here is the story we came up with:

Based on our storyline, we then created sketches that would begin as the foundation for our mobile application. We separated from our group and created the sketches and paper protoypes individually.

Step 4: Prototyping

Paper Prototypes

The prototype process began with prototype sketches with pencil that eventually transformed into color prototypes on an iPhone outline. Based on which button was clicked, users would be able to view the next screen that would come after the one they were viewing. This allowed me to test the flow of the app and what user interactions were working and not working.

Three users were tested: Henry, Gabriel, and Alice. The users provided much needed feedback, specifically on the carousel that was introduced, saying that the arrow and swipe were different directions and how the button should be an arrow entirely. There was also feedback on how the side menu should be a hamburger menu, which would be more user friendly. This gave insight into the mental models that people hold for mobile applications, such as swiping left to reveal what is on the next screen. The feedback was incorporated into the final prototype.

Final Prototype

App Icon & Name

The final app is called “CPP Registration Planner.” The final app prototype holds features such as live advising chats, registration notifications, and an easy way to plan for classes. Planning for classes is the main function of the app. Other resources, such as semester conversion information and additional advisor information are also available on the app.

The process of planning for classes is simple. The app takes into account a student’s degree progress report, as well as prerequisites for the classes that are satisfied for the classes they need. Based on this, the app will provide the different class areas a student is eligible to take, and students will be able to choose which areas they want. After choosing the area, they will choose the classes they prefer in each area, and a list of classes they prefer will appear afterwards. Students will be able to send their plan to their email, go directly to BroncoDirect, or simply edit their class choices. Most students register on their laptop, so they would easily be able to look at their class list on their phone and work on their laptop simultaneously.

How CPP Registration Planner addresses the problem statement:

The app is essentially a comprehensive, easily accessible way to plan their classes as it makes planning for classes simple. Students no longer need to worry about if they are eligible to take a class or if it follows their degree progress report. They choose which classes they like and have a wide range of backup classes in each area if a class they want is waitlisted or full. The stress and confusion of looking for classes is ultimately decreased.

A more in-depth overview of the app is shown below: