Beyond Class is an application to foster knowledge sharing, connection, and a feeling of gratitude amongst the student of the Emily Carr University of Art + Design. The focus is to promote one on one communication hence the service is oriented towards conducting short knowledgeable sessions with peers around. It is built on a transactional model of virtual currency to ingrain a sense of transparency, gratitude, and healthy competitiveness.
Duration: 4 weeks
Methods: Focus Group, Personas, User Journey Map, Prototyping
We often feel excited to pick up a new tool to learn and practice it rigorously for a few days until we fail to continue pursuing it or it gets buried under the pile of priority items. And seeking help from peers feels hard to endure especially when you don’t even know whom to reach out to. The motive was to build an application that could be the rescue in such a situation and help with individual skill development through community engagement.
Initially, a focus group with 6 students from MDes Interaction and MDes Interdisciplinary that included 3 males and 3 females was conducted. It helped to validate the pain points and understand factors that impacted learning from peers.
Personas were created based on focus group results for a better representation of users’ needs, experiences, behaviors, and goals. Using which a journey map of a scenario was created to illustrate user flow through the application, starting with the process of discovery and continuing through the process of engagement to long-term loyalty. It identifies the key interactions and touchpoints of the application and describes in detail the actions and feelings of the user at each step.
Below are the insights that were analysed from the research:
• Encourage transparency and honesty
• Promote cross-disciplinary engagement
• Provide customisability & tailored content
• Provide flexibility in connecting online
Based on the insights I created a transactional model with a virtual currency called “Grats” derived from the word “Gratitude” which means the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Grats were introduced to evoke healthy competition while still being grounded because, in the end, the actual transaction was of knowledge between humans. It was to generate a sense of fairness and satisfaction.
The main focus was to encourage skill sharing through connections. In order to build lasting connections the process of referring was leveraged. Wherein the referer (Peer A) would incur a 20% commission if there was a success in the transaction between the tutor they referred and the peer B.
While I was brainstorming for a transactional model I came across a couple of complexities and questions. After a thorough thought process, I decided on a certain starting amount to be assigned to a new user and a base amount for each session attended. I still believe there are a few loopholes that need to be addressed through system intervention and product testing. In a way, designing this model also links to my research interest in using persuasive strategies for a positive impact. Earning commission through referral is one such strategy that I have already implemented to encourage building connections.