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Have questions about career, academic, or college life? There are answers here!

Pioneers is dedicated to help first-generation students with their questions about academics, career development, and professional networking. You can get answers or answer questions from others by joining this growing community!

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Get insight from verified pioneers and your friends

On Pioneers, successful students and alumni who actively help people will be verified as "pioneers". You can invite them or your friends on Pioneers to answer your questions

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Build your first-generation student network

Pioneers recommends verified pioneers and friends you may know to help you build a vibrant first-gen student network.

Learn more design story about this app

Initial Thought

One of our group members is a first-generation student. She often has questions that other non-first-generation students would not usually have, so she wishes there is someone who can answer such questions from a first-generation studnet's perspective.

This is why we wanted to design an app to help the community of first-generation students.

Team Members

Diane Taria | Lu Yang | Natasha Rojas | Zhaoxing Wu

My Role

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UX Design

Ideation
Low-fidelity Prototyping
High-fidelity Prototyping

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UX Research

User Interview
Persona
User Testing

Research

This is the breakdown of our milestones.

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Interview

We recruited 21 participants and conducted 9 user interviews to understand our target users.

We recruited 21 participants and conducted 9 user interviews to understand our target users.

Persona & User Journey

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Affinity Diagram

(Click to view full image)

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Storyboard

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Anthony was having trouble networking

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He was overwhelmed by existing networking apps and spent a lot of time on search for answers to his academics problems.

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He hoped to use a networking app that targets only at first-generation students. Then he found Pioneers.

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The app makes it easier to reach out to other first-generation students like him, and share their thoughts and insights via Q&A.

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After using Pioneers for a while...

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Now Anthony has connected to many successful first-generation alumnus and does not worry about finding an answer to his question!

Current Solutions

Based on our user data, we used three most popular apps with networking and Q&A features for a week as a new user. Here I summarized our user experience as this comparative analysis:

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Linkedin
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Quora
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Stack
Overflow
Designed for FGS wifi wifi wifi
Question-and-Answer wifi wifi wifi
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Conclusion

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Most interviewees have trouble finding answers to questions about academic, financial, and housing issues. Therefore, we will make question answering system a key feature of our app.

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Over half of the interviewees mentioned that they wished someone who had succeeded in their academic and professional career could be their "mentors" who could offer them tailored guidance instead of generic suggestions.

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Most interviewees want to connect to more first-generation student peers, especially those who has had a job in industry or advanced degree at college.

Ideation

Based on the user interview, each group member of the team came up with 20 ideas that could possibly help solve our potential users’ problems. Each of us "sold" our ideas to the whole group and then voted. At last, three ideas were chosen to be potential solutions to the problem.

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Educational game for freshmen first-generation students

In this game, users will play as a first-generation student exploring the college life. Users will be asked to complete a series of tasks that can help them get familiar with college life, then get rewarded in the game. To summarize, this idea was a gamification of the process of fitting the college life

"Question pool"

Another idea of mine was a "question pool" where users can answer questions posted by other people and post their own questions. In this way, this pool can be an online community where first-generation students can help each other by answering and being answered.

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Find first-generation students near me

This solution is an app that automatically finds first-generation students near the location of the user. Once a first-generation student is found, the user can choose to connect with him/ her and become friends to each other.

Discussion on Solutions

We discussed on the final solution as an app. We reached the agreement on an app that combines networking feature only for first-genration students and question-and-answer feature to help first-generation students feel less confused about college life and more connected with other first-generation students.

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Final Solution

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Low-fi Prototype

Based on our notes on the final solution, I developed the lo-fi balsamiq prototype.

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High-fi Prototype

Reads

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Ask New Question

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Network

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Responses

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Profile

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User Testing

In order to know how our app works for real users, we recruited another 9 participants to perform some tasks with our app's prototype.

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Design Iterations

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Final Design

Reads

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Ask New Question

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Network

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Responses

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Profile

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Play with our Prototype

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