Designing mobile application for resident advisors at the University of Washington
SKILLS AND TOOLS
Ideation - Storyboards
Prototyping - Wireframing
Implementation - Hi-Fi Mockups
10 weeks (Oct - Dec 2018)
The Problem Space
Resident Advisors (RAs) face the workload of typical college students in addition to working full time as advisors to support 40 to 60 on-campus residents. Their job includes interacting with residents on a daily basis, performing rounds, planning floor events, responding to emergent situations, enforcing housing policies, and more.They are often overwhelmed with work, especially on tasks that require extensive documenting on various platforms.
How might we help Resident Advisors perform work tasks more effectively and efficiently?
The Solution: A Mobile App for RAs
Since RAs carried their duty phones all the time and most of them were comfortable with using technology to perform daily tasks, a mobile app would be the best solution. I came up with a mobile app concept that would support RAs to perform their duties through simplifying documentation processes and improving organization of tasks.
The goal of my app called RAdiance is to provide a platform for RAs to complete work tasks in one place, improve accessibility for RAs to make changes/submit duty materials, and support their work-life balance.
The Dashboard allows easy access to common RA tasks such as checking in for duty, submitting duty report, filing a work order, and scheduling inspections with residents.
The Dashboard has a quick reminder feature that organizes and keeps tracks of upcoming events for the user. This feature would help RAs prioritize tasks better, thus improve work-life balance.
For inspections, the slider interaction reveals hidden options such as edit, mark as complete, and delete for each inspection item on the list. Additionally, the status of each inspection is displayed in different colors to help the user distinguish and decide which tasks to complete next.
The Duty Report enables RAs to submit reports using a mobile device. The required tabs are collapsable for a clean interface that users can navigate around, preventing accidentally deleting a section.
My Residents feature enables immediate access to resident information, logging in weekly interactions and writing in comments about each resident to complete their husky experience profiles.
The Duty Contacts feature enables quick dialing to important personnels during emergent situations.
User Research Findings
I conducted interviews with 6 UW resident advisors to understand their needs and the types of support they wanted to receive to help them with their work. After analyzing daily tasks of RAs and the resources they are currently using to perform the tasks, I arranged findings in an affinity diagram to understand the users’ pain points, needs, and desires.
"Currently, the only way we can submit RA reports is through the a website on a computer but most of the time I don't have access to a laptop when on duty, because I’ll be walking around in the building.
"I wished that there was an easier way to submit reports. "
"The most difficult part of the RA job for me is having to keep track of all the pre-inspection times for each room and organize them so I won’t miss any.
Based on the research, here are the main findings of my interviewed participants:
Many RAs believe the current RA website is hard to use and poorly designed, which makes documentation and submission process difficult
RAs need to be more organized in performing duties
They want easier access to submitting documents and logging in information about residents
They want to keep better track of personal interactions with residents in the residential community
Include access to complete frequent RA tasks on the go, such as
logging resident profiles,
checking in for duty,
submitting/updating duty report,
filing a work order, and
scheduling inspections with residents.
Reduce time needed to search and complete each task, compared to the current technology in use
Have the ability to organize/keep track of tasks
Display clean and beautiful interface that RAs would love to use!
Storyboards helped me to see the context my product would be in, picture how users can interact with it, and evaluate the feasibility of the design.
Easier access to taking notes about each resident to complete their Husky Experience Profiles (HEP)
Submitting Work Order on the go while on duty during rounds. No need to wait for access to a laptop. Always submit on time and reduce the time need to submit on a laptop.
I designed the workflow and general locations of the APP's main features during the wire-framing phase. Here are some example screens. These allowed me to gain feedback from potential users and test if the current features made sense.
What I learned
Doing a project on my own is hard, especially when time is a constraint.
My goal was to have a working prototype by the end of 2018. I rushed over the research process, and spent most time designing wireframes and iterating hi-fi prototypes. I wished I had more time to explore research methods such as creating personas and analyzing the user journey.
This project is built on the assumption that the UW Housing and Food Services would allow RAs to download APPs with information about their residents. If this app gets implemented, there is a potential privacy issue that needs to be explored and addressed.
I need more usability testing on this product. I realized that there are a few places that require tweaking the design, and some design decisions may be confusing and not intuitive enough for the users to complete their tasks. Now with the prototype, I can show it to others and receive evaluations on its current features.
Do more Competitive Analysis
Explore current mobile application trends
Reach out to more diverse users for feedback and test out my product
Iterate over my designs
Expand features to become more powerful/productive
Look for possibilities in actually implementing this product