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SAIC Mentor Connect
An engaging application that helps School of the art institute of Chicago students make a mentor-mentee relationship through personalized search.
Figma, Adobe Illustrator
School of the Art Institute of Chicago(SAIC) wants to strengthen the community by encouraging experienced students to connect with new students and help them adjust to campus life. Design an experience that allows mentors and mentees to discover each other. Consider the needs of both mentors and mentees, including how someone may become a mentor and how to connect mentors to mentees.
How Might We Questions
How might we make the experienced students and the new students go beyond sharing their experiences and form a sustainable mentor-mentee relationship?
How might we help the students discover each other based on their needs?
How might we make a platform a foundation for strengthening the school community?
Students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Less experienced students who need help to properly adjust to campus.
Online survey (Google form)
Identify existing online and on-site platforms related to community building
Discover how the new students are connecting with experienced students.
Examine how the students developed their mentor-mentee relationship.
Analyze how the students are utilizing the current system.
Identify the strengths/potential of the current system.
It's Impossible to identify the students’ needs. Moreover, since there is no way to search other students through filters, it is difficult to establish a meaningful connection.
Research 1 - Existing Systems
Social media (Instagram/Facebook)
Organization fair, Group Fair
Research 2 - Student Surveys & Interviews
How strong do you feel the sense of community within the school is?
Do you currently have a mentor at SAIC?
If you have a mentor, how did you find him/her/them?
out of 10 average
have a mentor at SAIC
Have you ever asked another student at SAIC for advice when you were a freshman?
How helpful was that experience?
Are you still in contact with the student that you asked for advice?
asked for advice
out of 10 average
still in contact
Research Findings / Pain Points
It’s challenging to keep track of information about mentorship opportunities and events.
Information is scattered across various platforms.
Most students looked for mentorship in their freshmen year, but it was challenging to keep in contact. It is difficult to find an available time for both mentor and mentee.
Lack of platforms that allows students to have group-mentorship opportunities
There is no platform that supports students to find mentors within the school. Moreover, it is difficult for students to establish a sustainable relationship
Q. What is the most efficient digital platform?
A. Mobile Application
The usage of messenger helps to maintain a constant mentor-mentee relationship. It is an excellent platform to check various Up to date information without having a regulation in location. Students' application utilization rates are high. According to the survey, students obtained school-related information through mobile phone applications such as e-mail and social media.
One organized platform
Platform with a program for community building and mentor-mentee information. Students can check school events or mentoring opportunities all at once. A synchronized Google Calendar to check.
When starting an application for the first time, the more efficient procedure of discovering a mentor and mentee that have the same interest by checking areas that need help and areas
Providing available time slots for mentors and mentees to have a conversation whenever they wish to.
Add a messenger function within the application for the durability of mentor and mentee relationships and personal connection building.
Make it school friendly to increase the frequency of the app usage
Included school-friendly features. Students can see other friends joining events. This feature also helps build an inclusive community.
Community building to create an inclusive environment Adds to the existing student peer support system
User testing feedback
It’s convenient to find all the information on one platform.
It’s convenient to check events and mentoring schedules at a glance.
The feature to send reminders is great.
It is clear whom to ask for guidance.
I like there is no review feature. I hope that there is an endorse feature.
Presenting to the school
While I went a step further with the hope that my application would make a practical and positive impact on the future community, I presented my ideas to school assistants and had an interview for about an hour. In the interview, I was able to find the opinion of the school on my application. I heard specific answers about how my application would appeal in terms of business, and what advantages and suggestions it brought.
SAIC Campus life interview
Feedback - Advantages
It meets the more diverse needs of students; they can post quick questions on the discussion page and get other students’ advice. If they need further guidance and more specific feedback, they can arrange an appointment with mentors that appeals to be effective.
One-stop-shop application is something that has always been demanded. It’s great to have a feature to link to school events.
It enables users to effectively filter mentors and mentees. And it’s effective to find people who match their needs.
The rating feature is not crucial, so it’s better not to be in the application.
Associate Dean of Student Affairs for Campus Life
Director of Campus Life
Assistant Director of Campus Life
Feedback - Suggestion
In order for the application to actually be implemented at school, monitoring is required by the school administrator, so a platform of the desktop version is also required.
If a user can log in via their social media ID rather than school emails, I think it will provide more personal experiences by using user algorithms.
This project has focused on user research and identified needs. Generally, if you follow users, a solution inevitably follows. Interviews with students and surveys enabled me to find out diverse perspectives and solutions.
If I had had more time, I could have collected survey responses from more students. And I believe I could create a website version as well as the mobile platform.
When I gave the presentation about my application to the school, I felt much proud of hearing that the school official told me he would carry out more things that he could immediately do. I realized what the role of a UX designer is not only to design a good idea but also to develop everyday experiences of the community with the design.
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