SHERPA

A mobile app that connects college students with mentors who are professionals in the industry 

Skills

User Interviews

Need Identification

Interaction Flow

Sketches Product Conceptualization

Wireframing

Visual Design 

Low & High-Level Prototyping

How might we build and foster a community of mentors and mentees that are matched based on specific overlapping areas of interest? 

Design Process

Information Gathering 

In the current task enviroment at Georgia Tech, users perform the task of obtaining mentors through college affiliated organizations including SAA, Mentor Jackets, etc. or through online websites like LinkedIn that are geared towards professional purposes. Another source of mentorship includes networking with guidance counselors and friends/acquaintances who have the same interest.

OverviewMost Georgia Tech students have the skills and passion to succeed, but many of us lack guidance from the right mentors who can steer us towards discovering our full potential. 

 

The solution: we designed an application that

  • Connects college students with mentors who are professionals in the industry and alumni of the same university

  • Uses an algorithm to provide a perfect mentor match tailored to the student's interests and future aspirations

  • Employs geolocation services to send the user a notification if a mentor match is find nearby 

  • Provides a communication portal to reach out to, connect with, and schedule meetings with mentors

We followed the double diamond approach of design process which included diverging and converging with various design ideas and eventually delivering the project deliverable. 

Based on the field research, we analyzed our data through affinity diagramming activity and user personas. This helped us with problem finding and understanding the users better so that we could tailor a solution to them. Ultimately, with multiple iterations, we came up with a mobile application called Sherpa. 

Ethnographic Interviews

For this study, we employed ethnographic interviews in order to gain a perspective on relations between humans and the artifacts and solutions they design and use (Blomberg, Burrell). We also used surveys to collect attitudes and perceptions towards the current form of mentorship in the context of college and to understand, at mass, people’s motivation and satisfaction with seeking and maintaining a mentor.

Affinity Mapping

Affinity diagrams allow us to see how insights gathered from different interviews are connected. We can be more aware of what people liked and disliked about their mentorship experiences. That brings out issues where there’s room from improvement, and therefore create a standard approach to the problem that caters to all needs of the user spectrum.

  1. Jotted down the insights drawn from the interviews in yellow post-it notes.

  2. Placed each post-it with others that shared a common theme.

  3. As groups started to emerge, we put a title to the categories, which helped us place and remaining post-its and classify outliers.

  4. We broke down the four categories we created into more specific subcategories.

User Research through Surveys

A short survey with open and closed-format questions. Employed closed-format questions about- Gender, age, school year, clubs, Rating importance and usefulness of mentors. Data from closed-format questions were treated as nominal data. Data about attitudes were treated as interval (numeric values on a scale from 1-5). Descriptive statistics (about mentorship expectations and past habits) were used to analyze data. Open format questions captured free-response data

Went through the summary of the Google Form, and noted down insights and detected patterns in the data. Understood the different types of users and the different mentorship experiences from the varied demographics of campus. 

User Personas

Ideation Process

Plugin allows user can hover over friends’ names which will show their professional interests and experience.

Webpage where user can select student organization with mentorship programs and can compare the features of their programs of interest.

Storyboarding

Brainstorming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low Fidelity Prototypes 

User Flow of Lo-Fi Prototype - Created a Balsamiq prototype, as we agreed it is a simple solution that can recreate the functionality and flow of the app with relatively good fidelity. 

Testing Paper Prototypes

A visual demonstration of our prototype idea on paper. Demonstrate in a static representation the kind of product we envision (components of any specially-designed software applications and the UI). 

 

We chose to use plain printer paper for prototyping because it is simple to make slight modifications to throughout the prototyping process unlike foamcore where pencil strokes are more difficult to erase. As designers, drawing gave us ultimate control when prototyping. We aren’t limited by options provided by a software so it was very useful in our prototyping.

High Fidelity Prototypes 

Our prototype was designed to multiple functions of the app. By streamlining the process through a simple yet effective design, diligent students from around the world who aspire to grow, can do so with the appropriate human resources.

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