ASUCD Campus Legislation — A UX case study

Background Info

Since its original founding on December 10, 1910, The Associated Students, University of California, Davis, or ASUCD has adapted to better serve the current student population. However, in order to do so, student needs have been recognized, validated, and addressed.

Recently, our nation went through a phase of immense virtual dependence, and we believe that it would be extremely beneficial to take full advantage of these changes. Over the past few years, UC Davis student involvement and attention to ASUCD have been rapidly declining despite efforts by student officers and senators. As a result, the programs that students take advantage of regularly — Unitrans, Bike Barn, CoHo, Picnic Day, and more — are declining in quality of service.

Awarded: Best User Research

Meet the Team

Team members that worked on this project including our manager.

Problem Statement

As students return to campus, Davis is faced with 10,000+ new students who are navigating campus and its student government for the first time. UC Davis’ organizations and the government is vast and intimidating to many new and older students. Valuable feedback or urgent questions from the student body may be missed because they do not know where to route their concerns.

How might we create a platform that informs students about campus legislation and connects them with proper organizations to solve their issues?

User research

To understand how students and faculty are affected by the current experience ASUCD offers, we decided to conduct user interviews. We recognized that in order to truly understand the problem we were dealing with, we must interview all the different persons that interacted with ASUCD. We organized our interviews into 3 tiers:

The 3 tiers of people that interact with ASUCD.

From our interviews, we discovered five consistent concerns.

  1. People need to know the importance of ASUCD to UC Davis’s campus and culture
  2. Extremely low voter turnout for senate elections
  3. Needed more student involvement in voting and other campus legislation activities
  4. ASUCD has a large intended audience, therefore difficult to balance stakeholder’s (UC Davis) needs
  5. ASUCD is the largest on-campus student employer but students mainly look for on-campus jobs via Handshake
Affinity map created to help with ideation.

To further analyze what was the root of this problem we did another round of user research. We conducted Behavioural Task Analysis and asked users to complete tasks that involved interacting with ASUCD’s current website. We also asked ASUCD faculty to show how they expected users to interact with their website. We reviewed an existing survey conducted by ASUCD to further understand the problems within ASUCD.

Ideation

We realized from our user research that there was a huge gap between ASUCD and the students on campus. We took a deeper look into our problem space by creating an affinity map and grouping them into groups such as Appeal, Voting, Jobs, Audience, and Branding. Through voting on the most important statements keeping in mind our stakeholders we. narrowed it down to 3 insightful points.

  1. ASUCD will benefit greatly from student involvement & students will benefit from ASUCD resources
  2. Problem is that the experience isn’t readily available to students
  3. Organize the information in a digestible way that is relevant to the students
The 3 of us conducting our first round of affinity mapping

This led us to our “Ah-Ha” moment. We had to Personalize the Student Experience.

To be able to personalize the student experience, we wanted to first understand our users. Therefore we created two personas based on real UCD students and identified their basic needs and pain points.

The two main personas we created for this project are based on our interviews with students.

In order to generate solutions we did come up with How Might We questions where after which we did another round of Affinity Mapping focusing on solutions to the How Might We questions.

The How Might We statements we generated

Prototyping

Lo-Fi sketches along with the colors.

In order to visualize our solution, we create Lo-Fi sketches to help each other understand what we wanted our app to look like. We also created a user flow that guided us while creating our Lo-Fi sketches.

Initial Lo-Fi sketches
User flow of the application.

Usability testing

Upon gaining clarity on the framework of our application we created our Mid-Fi screens. During the creation of the Mid-Fi, we came up with different variations to specific designs and did not know which one to pick. To solve this we resorted to A/B testing from potential users of the application. When conducting A/B testing we also asked users why they picked that particular design to better understand their chain of thought.

On completion of our Mid-Fi screens, we conducted a round of usability testing where we asked users to perform specific tasks on our prototype and explain thought processes along the way. We also got general feedback on our choice of words, colors, icons, clickability of buttons, sizing of icons, and. overall design.

Hi-fi prototyping

After doing some A/B testing and going through our usability testing, we decided to redesign some components and essential parts of the design system we had created during prototyping. We finally felt like we had a solid framework for a mobile app, yet we wanted to truly emphasize our mission: to personalize the student experience.

  • Color: Use color perception to create semblance between different pages of the ASUCD app. For example, make all the legislation pages yellow/gold while making all the unit pages turquoise. We did this to follow ASUCD’s current design system but added elements from our research in order to compartmentalize the pages.
  • Components: Downsizing to clarify negative space and ease visual tension, getting rid of negative pixel spaces, and creating centered alignments and proper margins.

ASUCD Campus legislation app

With the previous changes in mind, we finally came up with our final app concept, ASUCD Campus Legislation: an app meant to help bring personalization to each student’s fingertips.

Survey

  • A survey meant to gauge and represent the individual perspective of each student
  • Geometric pattern serving to “build together” and “connect the dots”

Home

  • The hub and central platform of the app
  • Facilitates and incorporates features such as favorites, updates, and notifications.

Jobs/Scholarships

  • Interchangeable Jobs and Scholarship pages
  • A filter meant to further customize
  • Intuitive gestures and clickable functions

Units

  • Visual primers and bookmarks — a quick way to make something yours.
  • Expandable descriptions

Legislation

  • Expandable senate — get to know your government.
  • Voting accessibility

Impact

To help better understand the relevance of the application we created we found out the major ways in which it would impact the student population of UC Davis and also created measuring units for each of them. They are:

  • Easier to get notified when new jobs available are on campus -> faster rate for jobs to be filled
  • Increase interaction between the student government i.e. ASUCD and UC Davis Students by making it easier to vote -> % increase in voter turnout
  • Providing students with a live stream of the senate meetings on their phone -> % increase in senate meeting turnout
  • Easier to hear our UC Davis students wants and needs -> more students represented a change

Takeaways

  1. Digging deep into the problem space helps develop a more comprehensive solution.
  2. Revisiting the problem statement during ideation ensures that we don’t deviate from the original problem.
  3. Importance of putting ourselves in the situation of the end-user.

Next steps

  1. Creation of an onboarding process for the user
  2. Working with ASUCD for possible implementation.
  3. More time observing user behavior

We’re a student-run design consultancy @ UC Davis!

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We’re a student-run design consultancy @ UC Davis!

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