Beam - Reimage the fun in studying 😊

What's the challenge?

Studying feels like a chore. 😩 

Ever wonder why it's so hard to study yet so easy to procrastinate? 

As college students, it feels inevitable to develop the habit of procrastination during our 4-year academic journeys

Post-graduation, this habit tends to stick around and we graduate as pros in procrastinating...


To better understand the root causes of procrastination, Carolina and I spoke with 46 people from college to dig deeper into investigating this familiar yet great unknown.

πŸ•΅πŸ»β€β™€οΈ πŸ•³πŸ•΅πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Our process

My role as the UX designer & researcher 🧩

  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping 
  • Userflow design
  • User-testing
  • User-research

Carolina as the PM & developer πŸ—Ί

  • Documentation 
  • Setting Timelines 
  • User-testing
  • User-research

Tools we used βš™οΈ

  • Google Workspace
  • Slack 
  • Calendly
  • Zoom
  • Figma 

β‘  Discovery Stage

We focused on understanding college students' current workflows in order to identify the problem spaces across each of their studying experiences.

For the 40 problem discovery interviews, we spoke with students age ranging from 17 to 25 as our target-users. 

We then spoke with recent graduates, faculty members and academic support staffs to get their perspectives as well from a different angle.
To minimize our own cognitive biases,  we consciously approached interviewees from a variety of academic, cultural and geographical backgrounds. 
Mainly attending schools in NY and Toronto
, leveraging our own networks. 

Doing so granted us with lots of insightful qualitative data that both validated and invalidated our initial assumptions!

3 Key Takeaways from Our Potential Users πŸ”‘ 

1. Existing LMS (Learning Management Systems) do not feel intuitive nor incentivize college students to study and engage with others. Most use cases are for assignment submissions only. 

2. College students crave intimacy and trust when it comes to studying because the process of learning is vulnerable and personal to them. 

3. Students became more proactive in seeking out online student-initiated communities outside of school with the sudden shift to remote-learning. Doing so helped them make new connections and study together using IRC servers (Internet Relay Chat).

β‘‘ Defining Stage

Who

are struggling to study the most– our target audience?

What

are the obstacles they're encountering and current solutions?

How

can we provide a better solution for addressing their most significant pain-point?

Why

does solving this specific problem matter to them and to us?

Here are the 3 most relatable student struggles we've uncovered.

Amy

β€’ High school graduate 

β€’ Applying to colleges

β€’ Based in Toronto, Canada 

–

'Studying alone in the same environment everyday is tough. My motivation and attention span keep decreasing! I'll scroll on social media and lose track of time. I know it's bad for me but I'm used to procrastinating now and come up with excuses.'

Ron

β€’ Recent college graduate

β€’ Working in the creative industry

β€’ Based in Cali, USA

–

'I never showed up to lectures. I crammed studying to last minute right before exams. Wish I put more effort into studying and meeting other students after classes! It's hard to meet new people now.'

Jen

β€’ First-year, international college student

β€’ Working part-time

β€’ Based in NY, USA

–

'English is not my first language and I'm an introvert. Meeting other students can be tough. Even doing group projects can feel lonely! We don't get to really know each other since we're in different time zones and don't talk during class.'


How might we?

Provide first year college students with a social accountability system to foster sustainable studying habits, in order to overcome their current tendencies to procrastinate


As a result, they can successfully graduate college with a strong supportive network and take away transferable learning skills into the real world.

β‘’ Developing Stage

Beam

The mobile app to enable college students to connect with study partners-in-crime in one click

Spend less time managing and more time studying

Beam lets you know when, what and with whom you're studying with for the day. 

Leave the tough scheduling work to us, just click and easily ease into studying with your pals!

Studying does not have to be lonely anymore 

With synced calendars, Beam helps you
create study groups in just a few taps with suggestions for times that work for both you and your pals, along with places to meet up.

It's never too late, seriously.

With the proximity feature, Beam finds study groups happening near you to join in any time you want, just one click away!

β‘£ Delivery Stage

Test and refine. Then test and refine some more! πŸ§ͺ

Before presenting to you the latest design above, it actually took us a year to reach to this point of solution.
Here are sneak peeks of the 3 different versions of our deliverables. All share the same purpose of user-testing with our potential users. 

Shoutout to them for their honest and inspiring feedback!

This is the very first mockup we designed to test with 6 potential users in October 2020.

This is the first prototype we designed to test with 6 potential users in August 2021.

This is the first high-fidelity mobile screen and mockup we designed in October 2021. Testing sessions will resume again!

Reflections

Dig deep and wide. 

Invest time and patience into discovering and uncovering a problem worth solving.  

Your design is only as significant as the problem you're solving.

Share your ideas, always.

Empathy takes two if not more people to foster and never one.

Therefore, don't be selfish and egotistic about 'your idea'. Share it to embrace feedback from multiple perspectives.

Design for progress over perfection.

Design is to serve a function and people. Don't allow aesthetics and the thought of perfection immobilize your purpose. 

Focus on your design iterations to improve the next solution.

The journey continues 🌱

What do you think?

Curious to learn more or want to collaborate with us? 
Let us know! πŸ‘‹

- Val & Carolina

This website and its content is copyright of Valerie Poon. Β© Valerie Poon 2021. All rights reserved.
Using Format