3 minute read

Introducing Campus.

When you arrive at Lehigh University, the campus feels vibrant and open--with a massive club fair promising hundreds of groups to find your home. But just a few weeks later, if you haven’t found your people, the campus becomes closed off and divided into distinct cliques.

In 2020, I co-founded, designed, and helped develop Campus - Find Your Fit--a platform made to help college students continually explore their developing interests and connect with their peers.

User Research

To validate our first-hand experience with the problem, we first conducted empathy interviews with students and group leaders in and outside Lehigh; in multiple matriculation years; and part of a variety of organization types, where we discovered:

  1. Existing org discovery tools felt unfriendly and lacked modern exploration features;
  2. Busy students preferred to stumble upon social opportunities rather than spend time researching;
  3. Attending events is the best gateway to finding community.

Ideation

While our team had identified our users' pain points, we still disagreed about the best direction for our solution.

To resolve this, I hosted a week-long design sprint to unify our team's vision for the platform, where we wrote our first How Might We:

HMW help Lehigh students continually & easily explore their developing interests through campus events & organizations?
An IDEO-inspired design sprint I hosted to unify our team's vision.

Design & Prototype Interviews

Now with clear direction for our product, I led three stages of design and virtual prototype interviews, learning that our potential users:

  1. expected similar interaction paradigms to social media;
  2. disliked gamification and preferred clean, professional UX;
  3. appreciated robust search tools.
Top to bottom: the evolution of Campus's prototypes from blocky wireframes to polished final designs.

Pitching

Now armed with validation, we began pitching for funding for a prototype.

In June 2020, we were finally successful, winning a Stage 3 funding award of $1000 from Lehigh Baker Institute's Eureka Pitch Competition for "prototyped ideas that have clear externally validated rationale both technically and financially".

A promo we created for the People's Choice pitch competition in April 2020. We didn't win, but it inspired us to pitch again and win in the June funding round.

COVID Pivot

Around this time, it also became apparent that COVID would have a major impact on the next year’s student life--so we pivoted to replacing the cancelled in-person club expo with a virtual experience. Returning to ideation, we wrote our second How Might We:

HMW help Lehigh students connect to lasting engagement on campus through a virtual club expo & engagement platform?

We then presented our proposal to Lehigh’s Student Engagement office, and secured a close partnership with them through summer 2020.

I served as our liaison to their team, hosting several weeks of ideation sessions with their staff and conducting live interviews with club leaders to validate our plan for the event.

A brainstorming sprint I led for the Office of Student Engagement to plan the club expo.

Development

After all of our design validation and approval from the Student Engagement office, we only had 10 weeks of summer to complete development.

We were able to the results of our design interviews to prioritize only the most in-demand features and built them with a high level of craft.

A group editing form I developed, focused on elegant interactivity.

Marketing & Launch

To make our event and launch successful, we’d need clear communication with both group leaders and students-- thus I wrote, filmed, and edited a series of marketing videos explaining the expo and promoting our platform.

One of three videos I created to market the club expo and campus app.

Despite a last-minute bugfix for a critical issue, the club expo launch event was a massive success. Not only did we get 200 student organization participants and 1400 cross-platform users, but students and group leaders alike shared stories of finding community and new friends.

200+ Student Orgs. 1400+ active users. Students finding community despite a pandemic.