General Assembly Mobile App
This project is about exploring a problem/ area of opportunity for an existing brand.
Vincent Lai ( me ), David Plakon, Elizabeth Kulikova
General Assembly is a pioneer in education and career transformation, they specialize in today’s most in-demand skills. The leading source for training, staffing, and career transitions, they foster a flourishing community of professionals pursuing careers they love. General Assembly has 15 locations around the world, 25,000+ alumni community. 250 + expert instructors and began as a co-working space in 2011 has since grown into a global learning experience.
In this Technological age, Having a mobile presence is the norm. General Assembly leverages the latest technological tools to provide their students with an engaging, blended online and offline learning experiences, yet they do not have a Mobile App. This is truly a missed opportunity. The General Assembly App can foster the great community that it has by offering the same kind of positive experience it does in classrooms. It gives students a safe space for sharing their work, cultivating a positive feedback community, building new relationships and staying informed.
Our process consisted of user research techniques like competitor analysis, affinity mapping and user interviews. From our research we were able to address the needs of the user which is a mobile app that aims to foster the community that General Assembly has. It creates a safe space for it’s students and is a convenient way to engage and stay informed.
We started off doing Competitive/ Comparative analysis. We studied and compared General Assembly’s competitors which were, Flatiron School, School of Visual Arts, Coursera, and NY Code and Design Acadamy. ( Note: we only compared competitors that have Immersive courses.)The analysis that we conducted were to compare the Branding & Elements and Marketing Positioning of these companies. We also did a Feature Comparison between these companies as well.
- GA and Coursera have easy to navigate websites because of a clear organization of information. Branding and imagery through all the competitors are consistent.
- All competitors except Flatiron have international campuses which allowed them to have students from all around the world.
- General Assembly Alumni have good portfolio placement, which makes it appealing for perspective students and employers.
- Through out all competitors, only GA and Flatiron school offers introductory classes, which helps influence new students make the decision on signing up for the courses.
- Even at the higher tuition fee, GA offers quality services and features which makes them stand above another competitor.
We wanted to take a closer look at user behaviors and habits. This would provide us with a personal element in the equation, allowing us to emphasize and form a deeper connection and how to solve for that deeper problem. We would understand “why” and most importantly, “who” we’re solving it for.
Utilizing Google Forms, we sent out a survey screener to compile data by asking questions geared towards our audiences’ views. As a team, we set parameters of who we want to reach out to. In this case we wanted to interview anyone who had a connection with General Assembly. We reached out via, General Assembly Slack channels, LinkedIn and through personal connections. This screener showed us general demographics, preferred mobile device and insight on roles and disciplines.
After our screening, we selected willing participants from a variety disciplines and roles across General Assembly. We wanted a sampling response across disciplines. Before the interviews, we wrote down what we wanted to find out and which questions to ask in order to get there. We recorded the interview sessions and took notes on the responses.
Key Findings and Takeaways
From our User Interviews, we found that a lot of the subjects that were interviewed had similar pain points about General Assembly. All Alumni and even a teacher were concerned about finding a job after graduation from the course. Other trends surfaced were that many are willing and able to give and receive feedback on their work. Almost all participants want to meet other people and learn about the cool projects that people are working on. Overwhelmingly positive feelings towards the community at General Assembly.
After our User Interviews, we wanted to gather the main trends that our participants mentioned. We wrote down quotes from our subjects and started to make an affinity map. We separated the map into four quadrants: Pains, pleasure, behaviors, and context. Our goal is to uncover common trends that our participants share.
The main trends that we gathered from infinity mapping were that students felt disconnected with one another. They love the community that General Assembly offers, but finds it not accessible because of time and workload. They also feel abandoned by General Assembly after graduation because they don’t offer much support. Communication from the Administration is inconsistent.
- Feedback source and context is important to me.
- Getting and giving feedback is positive.
- General Assembly Community is very important to students.
- I haven’t seen other students work/ I don’t know what is happening.
- I use Slack as a main communication tool.
- I don’t have time to consider other’s work.
- Post graduation communication and support is lacking.
- Administration communication is inconsistent.
With the data collected from the survey, and trends we synthesized from our user research, we were able to build some personas to humanize our project.
Teachable Terrance has not time and has a busy work load, He feels disconnected from the GA community.
“I am a GA student and feel disconnected from the entire community, especially once I graduate would love a place to communicate and get feedback from the whole community.”
“Feedback source + context is important to me.”
User Needs vs. Business Needs.
We created a diagram to compare User Needs and Business Needs and trying to create features that will address Both needs.
Feature Prioritization — MoSCoW Method
To determine which features to include, we used the MoSCow Method. We determined which features we must have based on User and Persona needs. We determined that Sharing work, receiving/ giving feedback, Announcement are Must Features. Since students don’t have much time, checking announcements quickly will allow them to engage the app and allows them to stay in the app. They can then engage the community by viewing and sharing work, give feedback which strengthens the community of General Assembly.
As a GA student, I want to feel more connected to the entire General Assembly community. I would love a safe space to share and discuss projects, view relevant course information, and keep me connected after my course is over.
There are many inspiring projects and ideas created by General Assembly students from all disciplines and campuses around the world. Currently, General Assembly doesn’t have an easy way to view projects that other students in different cities, cohorts, or courses are working on. With an app, students would be able to share their work across disciplines, communicate, and submit to have their work featured in the app. Additionally, the school would be able to push schedule notifications, and instructors would be able to publish schedules. The main feature would be project sharing, but could expand to be a full featured all-in-one GA education management experience… Schedule, group communication, discipline cross-pollination, & even an alumni support network.
User Scenario/ Storyboard
Teachable Terrence doesn’t really have much free time. While waiting for the bus during his morning commute to class at General Assembly, he gets an alert on his phone about daily announcement and scheduling for the day. He enjoy these alerts because he knows what to expect and can plan for the day. While reading the alerts, he see’s someone left some feedback on his work that he shared, he browses work that other students have posted and also leaves feedback.
Comparative Analysis of Work Sharing Sites
We determined one of the key function is a work/portfolio like management feature. We studied mobile apps that have similar features to help inform us during the design process.
Tech Specification Research
Concept & Ideation
After sketching ideas on paper and testing paper prototypes, we created Medium Fidelity Prototype and conducted User Testing. Our goal is to find out the usability of our concept. We were mindful to also test non- UX Designers to get a fair result. We asked an Android Developer and an Information Architect to test our Medium Fidelity prototype.
Results from User Testing
After User Testing, we addressed the High Priority Issues regarding our Medium Fidelity Prototype.
High Fidelity Prototype
The following is a walkthrough of our prototype:
The following is our Prototype:
- User Test
- Refine profile page.
- Iterate filter bank information
- Fix Spacing
- Teacher version of the App.
- A look at how we integrate instructors.
- User Test
- Build out Favoriting and commenting options.
- Research Filtering or Flagging Inappropriate Content.
- “Creation of Work” flow
- Refine design elements, such as icon, color and design choices.
- Flesh out all the features on the App
- Android App