agnes: User Profile & Use Case Iteration

This was my first challenge. And I couldn’t have been more excited.

agnes is the smartest way to discover campus & stay connected. Over the summer our team conducted a complete redesign of agnes’ website, positioning, brand identity, value proposition, content, design, everything.

To be honest,

I didn’t really know where, when & how I would start. I just wanted to get my hands dirty. And I ended up getting exactly what I asked for.

As a product design & marketing intern at Agnes, one of the first challenges I was faced with was to make the app “as intuitive as possible for our users” (college students).

At the time, we were also in a time crunch because we had a small dev team that needed us, the design team, to quickly give them feedback so they could fix all of the problems & implement the changes as fast as possible. Our goal was to have a finished product at the beginning of August, the time we were planning to beginning prepping for our launch at 20 campuses across the United States. The app was already well into its 3rd iteration with almost over a year worth of changes constnatly being made and adjusted to. Coming in, I was excited but also nervous & unsure about what I could actually contribute.

So, what does “that” (intuitive enough) actually mean?

Through brainstorming sessions & discussions with my design manager, we realized that all together, the app needed some type of simplification. Whether it was a single or entire flow, there were parts that were too complicated. Therefore, we set the goal of making the experience for our users as simple, helpful, and enjoyable as possible.

We knew we needed to cut down. But how could we figure out where those areas of confusions were?

At the time, my design manager had asked me “Tony, I want to know from your perspective (as a college student), how do you feel about the app?” It was a direct & fair question. But somehow, I felt a little uneasy. I understood that as a college student myself, I had the privilege of being able to empathize with the user. However, my experiences would only account for a minute fraction of the rest of the American college population. The experiences of any other student was just as valid & important as my own. I was appreciative of such a valuable lesson, especially so early on in my journey of learning how to conduct UX research.

Because initially, I did try the former method. I went into hours of reflection and tried to think of how I would use the product. Unfortunately, the outcome was disappointing. I’d failed to think of any use cases at all and there were many areas of the app that I couldn’t relate to at all.

In that moment, I was inspired to stop imagining and start researching.

Instead of thinking how my peers might use this product, what I really to start with was to learn about their experiences with current products.

I began this process

by first interviewing my friends & peers who are currently going to university about their experience with applications that help them find events & groups on their campus.

Since this process, I have grown a lot in surveying & interviewing and had also gotten a lot of positive & constructive feedback on how to create better surveys. But to stay true to the process, here were the original questions posted to college students about managing their involvements & attending events on campus.

Survey Questions:

  1. What year are you in?
  2. What do you study?
  3. How involved would you say you are around campus? (1 to 10)
  4. What kind of activities & commitments are you involved with?
  5. How many events do you see yourself attending per week?
  6. How many weekly events do you see yourself attending that are not related to your clubs or current commitments?
  7. Would you like to be more involved?
  8. If yes, what might be something that prevents you from being more involved?
  9. If yes, what is something that could help you become more involved?
  10. How do you currently search or look for ways to get involved?
  11. Does distance matter to you when deciding whether or not to attend an event?
  12. How long before an event do you usually decide if you are attending or not?
  13. Would you go to an event you haven’t heard of or been to before?
  14. Have you organized events on campus previously or in the future?
  15. What were or will these events be for?
  16. What were one of these events you organized or will organize?
  17. What are some challenges when organizing an event on campus?
  18. Do you wish your events had more of a turnout?
  19. How do you currently organize and reach out to students about your event?
  20. Are you satisfied with current methods of reaching out?
  21. If no, what would help you get greater engagement with your event(s)?

Insights

From surveying 43 college students form freshman to senior,

Commonalities:

Students generally all use the same methods when looking for ways to get involved:

  • Facebook events (most popular)
  • Word of mouth / from friends inviting through Facebook
  • Posters
  • email/newsletters
  • clubfest/club fairs

Parallels:

Students generally use the same methods when looking ways to create/host events:

  • Facebook events (most popular)
  • email spam
  • word of mouth
  • posters
  • quarter cards
  • coffee chats
  • Distance does matter to the average student
  • majority of the students want to be more involved
  • biggest obstacle for most is time, procrastination, school work load, already too involved
  • most students have organized an event before or will do so in the future
  • most student organized events tend to be club related, social fun, and club recruitment (very club focused for events organized)
  • most clubs wished they had more turn out, but are also mostly content with methods of reaching out
  • the average student see themselves at around a 6/10 in terms of involvement
  • some students don’t want more turn out because their clubs are exclusive (aka social events within an organization that only invites members)
  • The biggest obstacle to being more involved is procrastination, laziness, poor time management, and conflicting times for events

With these insights,

I was able to create 3 user archetypes and their use cases that had relationships with each other. My research provided insight and helped define the more important use cases & features so we could start fine tunning those more important features for our upcoming launch.


Tony is currently a rising Junior majoring in Fine Arts and minoring in Business at Cornell University, Ithaca NY. He recently interned in Washington D.C. over the summer as a Product Design and Marketing Intern for Agnes.io

He can be reached at:
www.therealit.com
dl548@cornell.edu
607–379–7759