Interaction Design / User Experience / Concept Development
This project is from my Microsoft Expo class with a topic on Conversational User Interface. Our group came up with the idea of Wingtip, a new generation of ID card embedded with a CUI(Conversational User Interface) that helps people shorten the learning curve and adapt into a new environment better and more smoothly.
- Developed Concept
- Video Prototype
Transitioning into a new school environment can be difficult to a lot of new college students as they need to go through the stress of adapting new life style and familiarizing themselves to the new place as well as new people.
The goal for our project is to create an experience, using CUI system, to help new college students to shorten their learning curve and transition into new environment more smoothly.
Phase 1: Study the Current State of CUI
Because the topic of our class is CUI, we started by study the current state of CUI and relevant products in the market. We soon found our interests on the aspect that CUI can be an efficient assistant helping people transfer into new environment because of its accessibility and ability to relay information quickly.
Phase 2: Understand Pain Points
Then we conduct primary research on new college students (both local group and transplantation group) and their experience of getting into new schools.
When asking new college students what were some important aspects contributing to "adapting" process in a new environment, besides getting familiarized with surroundings, many answered that making new friends was one important factor because it gave them a sense of belonging to the new environment. During interview, we found that people generally have interests in making friends with people from different groups; however, there are some pain points and obstacles appearing during the process.
1. Ice Breaker
During our research, we found that the best way to make two groups feel connected is to share something they have in common.
Sharing common interests gives us the opportunity to shorten the learning curve for international students to blend into a new environment by:
- creating a gateway for different individuals/groups to initiate/facilitate a conversation
- building up the understanding between international students and local people
2. School Events and Resources
Using University of Washington as an example, there are a lot of UW resources and local events waiting for students to join. Currently, the notifications of these events are published through myUW, campus calendar, The Daily, RSO calendar, Twitter, HUB calendar, Facebook—splitting between more than 12 sites.
With all useful resources in hands, the next question comes to:
How could the technology be distributed equally to all of the students at UW?
A New Generation Student Card Embedded With CUI
The answer is: Husky Card (UW student ID card)—A student ID card takes the journey through college with you. It stores a lot of personal information and most people take it everywhere; making it the perfect platform. Embedded with our CUI, Wingtip, Husky Card can empower new students with all the available resources.
Through voice input, Wingtip learns your interests and securely protects them on your UW account. It recommends nearby events base on your location and your interests. It also takes anonymous location and near frequency data.
The CUI aspect of Wingtip works on the card, but it can be accessed through the myUW website and app or through messaging.
Brainstormings & Storyboards: How do we tell the story?
After research, we started to brainstorm scenarios on how CUI system can help new college students adapt into new environment.
At the early stage, we choose to feature international students as the main characters in our story because we perceived that they had a larger need for this device. Some scenarios we developed include:
- In a student event, Wingtip introduces and connects students with similar interests on their profile;
- In a student event, Wingtip works as a conversation facilitator and help students from different countries to overcome cultural barrier by explaining terms that might be confused students from different cultures;
- An international students needed help on language training in order to articulate his concern in English so he practices it with Wingtip first before he meet with his advisor;
- An international students was invited to watch football game with her American friends, but she doesn't know anything about football, so Wingtip gives her a brief introduction about football. With better knowledge of football, she can enjoy watching the game with her friends.
- Wingtip suggested a local concert to an international student that he might be interested in. He later found out that his classmates were also into music and were going to the concert, so he was able to join the group and meet new friends from the concert.
A Common Story That Everyone Can Relate To
Based on the critique we have, the scenario was too focus on the experience of international students and only depicted a specific moment, and therefore doesn't convince the ideas that Wingtip could help all new college students adapting to new environment over time. It would be better to showcase the functionalities of Wingtip, and how does it work in different scenarios for general new college students.
During interviews, we found out that many new college students share a similar pattern regarding to the stress level of facing a new environment that the stress level of the first two stages remain high. Therefore, in our iteration, we decided to pitch user scenario based on this similar stress pattern, and describe how Wingtip would help at each stage. With this approach, we were able to iterate a new version that can resonate to most students' case.