Nov 2021 (1 week)
Nov 2022 - Dec 2022 (3 weeks)
User research, UX/UI Design, Prototyping, Observational Testing, Iterating
NYU Albert is the website students use to view degree progress, enroll for classes, check official grades, and view their school schedule. I overheard students students voicing their frustrations about various usability issues and bad experience when using the website, so I decided to do a personal design sprint project to envision a more user friendly version of NYU Albert.
Before jumping into the research, I came up with a general question.
Below is NYU Albert's Current Model
I started the process by creating a survey to see how NYU students currently rate their experience using NYU Albert. I received 27 responses.
The participants were also asked to elaborate upon their rating, as well as given an opportunity to discuss their experiences. I compiled all the issues that were mentioned, and created an affinity map to sort all the issues into 5 categories.
Reflecting upon the research that I conducted, I created two personas of students with various goals and pain points to keep in mind while designing.
After collecting quantitative and qualitative data from students and sorting the issues, I brainstormed some ideas and functions to include in my design to improve the experience.
Then I created a user flow as a guide for how the user would ideally go through NYU Albert. This also informed me on what pages I needed to design and create wireframes for.
Although the current NYU Albert does not follow the NYU design guidelines, I made sure to follow the NYU Design Guidelines when designing my final product to maintain consistency.
This concluded my 2021 design sprint for NYU Albert. I thoroughly enjoyed tackling the usability issues and finding solutions for the problems that arose. Due to the project being a sprint and completed in one week, there are still additional steps I would like to take with this project for the future. I would like to conduct some usability testing with the prototype that I have created and discover areas of improvement to iterate upon my designs.
One year later, I decided to revisit this project to continue the testing process.
I observed 5 users go to the Tisch:IMA classes, leave to find another class, and check their schedule using both the current NYU Albert and my prototype.
The users were instructed through a Google Form to perform those 3 tasks with both designs and asked to rate each experience on a scale from 1-5 (1 = very difficult, 5 = very easy).
The overall improvement in ratings validated that my design was going in the right direction.
I looked back at the recordings to observe and time their process. Watching how the users interacted with my prototype gave insight to areas of improvement as well as areas of strength where the interactions were more seamless.
4 out of 5 users did not complete task 3 of looking at the schedule in various formats due to not being able to locate the calendar buttons.
The user who opened the schedule expressed that color coding the classes would make it easier to view which classes are recurring.
When users have a specific class they are searching for, they are typically not reading the descriptions for all of the courses. They are primarily skimming the titles to find what they are looking for. Shortening the descriptions while allowing students to expand leads to less scrolling while still keeping the option of reading the full description.
A modern UI has been applied to the homepage. There is a list view for information and schedule view for visualization. Students can view and expand their schedule with a click of a button, as well as, color code their classes to see recurring classes.
The affinity mapping and observation testing shaped the design of the course search. Students can now easily browse classes from various schools and majors.
No more starting from the beginning or scrolling through a long list of majors.
Students are able to quickly search and switch between classes and see how new classes fit with their current enrolled classes or classes in their shopping cart.
No more starting from the beginning after clicking into a class.
I realized the first survey I sent out included biased language, such as “how difficult is this function?” Therefore, while I had to leave out some data from the initial survey due to biased language, I adapted and applied unbiased language to the second survey I conducted during the observation testing.
When I designed the first version of my NYU Albert, I didn’t want to veer too far from the current NYU Albert design because I wanted it to feel familiar. However, after observing users try out my design for their first time and navigating through it seamlessly, I learned that it’s okay to make big changes. If the new design is cleaner and more intuitive, then it doesn’t need to have remnants of the original design.
This NYU Albert project was extremely retrospective considering I decided to continue working on a design challenge from one year ago. I was able to apply my newfound knowledge to the latter of the project and see improvements within my research and design skills. In the future, I would like to present this case study to NYU to make Albert easier and more efficient for thousands of students.