A UIUX project driven by design research at the Brown University John D. Rockefeller Library.
Points of Interest
Final Product Experience
StudBuds was created from a design research project which focuses on generating a product based on a specific location. The prompt was to investigate the context of the location and its user behaviors and user needs, then synthesize these factors to propose a solution.
Technically, this solution was - for the purposes of the class - intended to be physical. However, my research led me to believe that it was not a physical product but a designed system that was needed.
Points of Interest
When selecting the location, I was interested in looking at places where there information transfer was the main focus. I was fascinated by the experience of interpretation and how its intention shaped and interacted with the spaces it existed in.
I decided to focus on the publicly accessible study areas on the first floor of the Brown University John D. Rockefeller Library. Initial research involved a general survey of the space and basic data on the demographics of the users.
The space was used by primarily Brown students from a wide variety of backgrounds.
I then identified some interesting observations that emerged from my user research.
From the staff, I learnt that collaborative spaces were not being fully taken advantage of.
From the data, I learnt that people in this space usually come to study or write papers and tend to be revisit material rather than seeking out library resources.
There was also indication that some people liked the available collaborative spaces and felt that the social pressure of working in the presence of others kept them accountable for their own work.
I also observed that some groups that sat together were each doing individual work - perhaps because these groups were friend groups rather than study groups from the same class. Additionally, some rooms with multiple chairs were being used by one person.
Hence, I decided looked further into whether a tool to help people find other students studying for the same subjects would be beneficial to collaborative learning at the library.
This led me to look further into the process of studying and the role of group work within it.
Notice how, if everyone really retained as much information as they claimed they did, their collective testing average would be 96%. As this is highly unlikely, this data perhaps indicates that we really don't know what we don't know.
Group study time could potentially be helpful to this by exposing group members to information they may not have otherwise picked up themselves.
Similarly, groups can help patch missed details and use a range of logic to walk through applications and equations.
Categorization, repetition, and note copying are also potential group activities.
As research participants expressed, working with others can motivate focus. This added to the observation that ineffective groups are usually not class or task specific indicates that there is potential benefit in helping form academic based groups.
Negative comment regarding group study mainly centered around distraction.
Again, the relevance of forming groups for specific classes or subject areas could help eliminate distraction as conversations can be more easily driven by study content.
The core function of connecting the user to a study group naturally lent itself to a very systems and user experience based product. The design challenge was in refining the connections between each component of the system to create ease of use and convenience in a context where users are sometimes under time pressure.
The user must first decide to go to the library as they are making study plans.
Hence, the process of deciding to go to the library should also be designed.
The product could come in two parts: one which the user first encounters offsite and another one to echo and support the first at the library.
The component onsite should provide some anchoring aspect so that the user feels a sense of commitment when they decide to go and a sense of validation when they check in on site.
To not be repetitive and/or redundant, the off and on site components should have different functions.
The on site component should deliver more immediate, simple (as it is shared and time is an element) and tangible information.
Version two has more potential as it is much more versatile, and can deliver a lot more information more immediately.
The user testing helped shape some minor changes but otherwise indicated that the structure was effective.
With enough time and resources, launching a product test with a functional prototype would be a lot more idea for capturing the social nuances established by the use of this new system.
Final Product Experience
Find a study group based on your classes or start one yourself.
Study together and have people join your group. Let others know you're gone on your way out.
Keep in touch with your group, share notes, and organize future study sessions!
Special thanks to my Spring DPII class.
Programs used for this project include: