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Thesis Progress Check #1

12 February 2015

Well, it should have been no surprise to me that this idea would change at some point in the process. I guess I’ll begin by explaining exactly how the concept for The Hub, a mobile app for the University of Colorado Denver, has changed.

It began as a simple redesign of the current mobile app for CU Denver. My emphasis would be not on the features, but on the experience of using the app from a student’s perspective. This would have involved a full experience design project inspired by visual languages such as Google Materials, that would provide a superior mobile experience from those of other college applications. While it would have been research heavy and tailored to students’ needs, it soon became evident that this was just a project focused on making something beautiful. Not to mention the tediousness of including a bit too many features and dealing with backend obstacles such as connections to systems like CU Denver Access, Canvas, and email.

I pitched that idea to a few people, including faculty members, who gave me such insightful feedback that it would have been a crime not to adjust my idea. I realized that I was getting in my own way, running with my head down and not paying enough attention to some very obvious aspects. The main thing being the students. I assumed I knew what they would want (I know, designer suicide), and so I was getting ahead of myself, thinking about all the features I would include. But I never stopped to think about what the would NEED and use the most. My focus then shifted to features that are relevant to most students throughout the semester and not just at the beginning of it. The Hub has now become a social experience that bring students the information they care about the most. It’s an attempt to put Student Life in a mobile application in a sense that it should be a student’s second to last stop before finding what they are looking for. I talked to students and came up with a rough list of features that the Hub could include:

  • Events Calendar
    • Categorized according to each of the colleges, and the interests of the student in them
    • Highlighting events with giveaways and free food
  • Advising Appointment Service
    • An easier way to schedule an advising appointment
  • Discounts and Coupons
    • Digital coupons for businesses around campus.
    • Sponsored by the current discount program University Key
  • Social Media Integration
    • More specifically Instagram feed
  • Directory
    • With short links to call offices
  • Helpful Links
    • Links to external services such as RTD, Canvas, and UCDAccess
  • FAQ
    • A list of the most commonly asked questions by CU students
  • Maps
    • With images of building facades

These are just the ones that stood out the most from focus groups and individual conversations with students. The Hub is now an opportunity for students to connect with their university in way that were not possible before, and for CU Denver to amplify the message of Learn with Purpose and increase school spirit and student involvement.