I applied for a Google internship program in hopes of getting an opportunity to work on amazing projects with people from all over the world. After 2 weeks, I received an email from Google saying that they'd like me to work on a design exercise for a week.
Design exercise from Google:
'Design an experience for students to discover orientation events and craft a visual system to accommodate different types of events: sports, music, visual arts, social groups, and volunteering events. Provide high-fidelity mocks for searching, browsing, and viewing the details for these different events.'
I conducted multiple interviews with random students at the Emily Carr University, and my goal became clear: create designs that will help students to browse events with a minimal effort and within a few swipes, and provide a relaxing and fun atmosphere.
As mentioned above, Event Planet is a web application that allows students to log in, search, and browse orientation events with a few swipes and taps.
Event Planet, is named after combining the three words : Event + Plan + Group suffix.
For the logo design, the main idea behind the orientation event is to welcome and bring new students all together. Having that said, my idea was to visualize this as a planet full of good vibes and energy where students are invited.
Event Planet works like a SPA (Single Page Application) and has a very simple userflow - easy for students to browse events quickly and simultaneously.
My main goal was to narrow down the scope and produce a design solution that would most effectively serve a specific purpose.
Instead of creating a design that enables users to do a lot of things, I focused on creating a minimal design.
This design exercise has a great potential- associated with a variety of many possible solutions and designs.
Considering the user research findings and restricted time of 1 week, I narrowed down my scope to produce one web application prototype and one sticker book.
I worked on a limited number of features and interactions to design responsibly- accounting for all of the possible problems and preventatives associated with the design.
I believe co-design is a powerful approach in that it takes away bias and really helps to design FOR the users.
Before I move on to design anything, I conducted interviews to hear about what students think and feel about orientation events, and what things are important to consider in my design solution.
Interviews helped me to generate a number of ideas and possible design solutions.
My goal was not to get a large number of students but rather have a good long conversation with a smaller group of people and find out the important values, qualities, features, and paint points that are associated with the orientation event.
After I collected important insights from the interviews, I did card sortings with two participants. My main goal in this activity was to access the pain points, keywords, and main qualities that the students consider important during the orientation week.
I first did brainstorming to generate a large number of ideas, then I did several card sorting exercises after.
Using the insights and collected data from the previous user interviews and affinity diagram, I ruled out unnecessary and unattainable ideas.
This is the stage where I decided to work on a web application platform and a sticker book.
Coming up with a variety of possible screens with paper sketches to do user testing in the early stage; get new insights and choose a layout
Userflow iterations using different layouts
From the user research, I learned that students want a platform where they
can search events efforlessly, quickly, simultaneously, and view all of the neccessary information without feeling overwhelmed.
Therefore, using a variety of layouts, I explored ways to improve the efficiency of browsing and viewing the events and also, ways to prevent the problem of feeling over-loaded with a large information all at once on a page.
I also did user testing (indicated with the red pen from the users) to receive feedback and new insights that I may have been missing, and finalized the wireframes after.
I enjoyed doing this design exercise as I talked with a lot of people in such a short amount of time and their inputs were reflected in my design.
Without their feedback, ideas, and participation, I think I would have arrived at a completely different design where there are too many features that are important only to me and not for many others.
I learned to listen to people's stories and ideas and reflect them in my design.
Often times, many designers design in the ways that they like and forget about others. I learned to give up the things I like and believe - and gained a whole lot of surprises along the journey.
Due to time constrainsts, I coud not touch up on the "community" area in this design exercise- which was one of the major components that shape up the experience in the orientation week.
If I had more time, I think I'd have done more research and added the 'chat', 'friend', and 'share event' features.