How might we immerse the movers into their new environment, making them feel at home?
Savannah, GA, USA
Sep 2016 - Nov 2016 (Research + Potential Solutions)
Self + 3 International Designers
A MOVING EXPERIENCE
How might we immerse the movers into their new environment, making them feel at home?
My Learning Experience
Research Lead and Project Manager.
Process Facilitator and kept team's pace on schedule.
Brand Design and Development.
Interactive Wire-Frames and Sales Pitch.
We were a team of four international design management students working collaboratively for 10 weeks to create a social network for students and young professionals.
My role was to understand the existing market trends, closely analyze the current patterns of how the Millennials move and make data visualizations based on secondary and primary research. Conducted target user interviews and generate insights, leading to concept development and prototyping phase. I designed Interactive wire-frames to test the social network and created a Sales Pitch.
The aim of the project was to create a social network for students and young professionals.
For this project, I collaborated with three international designers from China, Columbia, and Canada. The idea for this project originated during the brainstorming session where we all could relate and connect to our personal struggles that each one of us faced when we moved from our home countries to pursue higher education in the USA.
We all faced a more or less similar Moving Experience during our move to the USA -
"The entire process of moving was very overwhelming and filled with anxiety and nervousness as we were treading in the unknown".
During the research phase of the project, we began by identifying and analyzing existing social networks and their offerings that people might have used during their moving experience to a new city. Then we conducted a SWOT analysis of various competitors and identified gaps in their service offering by implementing the "Blue Ocean Strategy" method. Proceeding on, we short-listed some potential user groups who might need a social network for their move to the new city and we created a few hypothetical personas. During the same process, we interviewed 13 people of which 4 were students and 9 were young professionals who had recently moved or had an overwhelming moving experience in recent years. We did affinity mapping of the primary and secondary data collected from the research to generate insights and opportunity areas for design.
We hit the wall as we progressed in the project during the interviews with our user group and competitor analysis of their offerings. Soon, we realized that we were dealing with an extremely saturated market and we had to offer something innovative that addresses specific user needs.
When we hit the wall, we asked questions like -
What makes our social network and offerings unique to our users.? How could our filters be better than existing competitors' offerings.?
How could our tailored experience surpass those of our competitors.? Why were we trying to play the same game as our competitors.?
which is when we decided to turn our social network on its head.
We did a "What If" exercise to give our social network a unique characteristic.
We re-framed our project brief, created a new value proposition, designed a business model canvas, and did a SWOT analysis of our offerings.
Creating a prototype, plan for Branding, and a Sales Pitch were the next steps for the Design phase of the project. Following the development of the prototype, we conducted usability testing of the prototype with our target user group - students and young professionals. The users gave us constructive feedback to perform the re-iterations and delivering a final product within 10 weeks of the academic project time-line.
The project is graphically presented using 6-steps D.E.S.I.G.N Model process.
To begin with the secondary research I started with the most important question - What is the primary source of water in Savannah.?
The Floridian Aquifer is the primary source of water in Savannah. It is one of the most productive groundwater resources in the world. This groundwater resource is shared by four states - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Savannah is one of the biggest cities in Georgia state to utilize this water resource. It is also utilized by a few cities in Alabama, most of the cities in South Carolina and almost all the cities in Florida. .........................xxxxxxxxxxxxx.........................
In 2008, the state of Georgia faced a state drought where the conditions got so bad that Georgia had to buy water from the neighboring states of Alabama, South Carolina, and Florida. In August 2010, Georgia formulated a "Water Stewardship Act" to encourage water conservation and enhance the State's water supply after repaying the debt. After implementing the Water Stewardship Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measured the impact over time to check it's efficiency. The first two years, displayed a significant reduction in water usage as the state government started the exchange program, unfortunately, it did not sustain until 2015.
Discover phase required in-depth research about existing social networks and gain a broader understanding of what the current market offers and who it's being offered to. Our team distributed the project roles based on experience and varied areas of expertise.
After studying in-depth other social networks and multiple SWOT analysis, we decided to pursue "movers", those currently in the process of moving cities.
At some point in every person's life, they have a moving experience. The reasons for moving always differ so does the experience itself.
However, one thing is certain, moving conjures up a whole range of mixed emotions. Movers appear to be an untapped user group with a vast amount of needs yet to be met.
This SWOT analysis shows different emotions, feelings, and activities involved during the process of moving.
Moving is an intensely emotional experience, leaving the mover feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
We aim to aid the users moving experience by actively immersing him into his new environment, thereby eliminating the gap between the unknown and the familiar.
Our platform engages the user through highly intimate and customized content.
This map helped us to identify the stakeholders that influence and support the decision-making process of the movers at three levels:
Core stakeholders are the movers, they govern all the other stakeholders involved in the process.
Direct stakeholders might influence the decision-making process for the movers.
Indirect stakeholders might support and help the movers to smoothly complete the moving process.
Through our contextual research and competitor analysis of existing social networks, we determined their offerings, strengths, and weakness. Analysis and dissecting the inner workings of our competitors helped us in the development of distinct differential advantages.
While short-listing competitors we chose
to focus on those networks we believed
would most commonly be used by
movers in their daily lives and/or in
their transitional process.
We selected popular platforms users might use in order to connect with others, explore their surrounding, find a place to live and meet new people.
In addition, we also included platforms that while not directly related, meet similar needs and serve similar functions for exploring and entering new domains.
Followed by the SWOT analysis of our competitors, we defined various factors known as the “drivers of competition”.
After plotting the competitors in the four listed quadrants (Highly Efficient vs Not Efficient and Less Customized vs Highly Customized) with these factors, we were able to place ourselves in the empty "WHITE" space of the quadrant, directing our social media in a direction no other competitors have been.
We called this white space, the Opportunity Space.
Blue Ocean Strategy
The Blue Ocean Strategy allowed us to discover an uncontested market space for our targeted industry and innovation. We considered 11 different capturing characteristics and 11 competitive companies, also choosing to include an additional subsection for two of the companies, Google: Google Maps and Airbnb: Airbnb Neighborhoods.
The purpose here was to find a "WHITE" space within the market in order to avoid competition in the saturated field.
Based on our chosen user group; students and young professionals.
The personas describe a current move-based biography to offer a depiction of user’s reality, needs and wants. Empathy maps were created for the purpose of gaining deeper insight into our users.
DEFINING NETWORK USERS
We identified some of the potential users that might need a social network for their new move and created a few imaginary personas.
They served in answering the question,
“who are we designing for?” and aided us in aligning strategy and goals specific to our user groups. In order to fully comprehend the data we collected during primary research we conducted a thorough affinitizing session in which we clustered the data points through four stages in order to extract its deeper meaning,
While re-framing our project's concept, we tried to associate our network and characterize ourselves as an animal.
We asked ourselves "What If" our social network was an animal, what would that animal be, what characteristic features will it reflect to be associated with the user.?
This activity helped us to re-align and
re-frame our project intent, aiding us in defining key characteristics we wanted our network to embody.
Our network offerings closely aligned with a Dolphin's characteristic traits.
The team started to head in the new project direction of embracing the unknown circumstances, undefined and unfiltered experiences. We defined the network outline, value proposition, blue ocean strategy, business model canvas, and evaluated by SWOT analysis.
Unknown is a social media network that provides movers with various different
opportunities for discovering their new domains.
In the sign-up stages, users are asked to filter their interests for basic tribe preferences. Next, the user is asked to provide the city they are moving from/exiting, which then prompts them to name their “go-to spots” in said city.
Next users enter in their new city or zip code which then provides them with a list of various former residents “go-to spots”. These first steps serve both to familiarize users with their new context in relation to like-minded peers and create content for our site.
In order to get information, the user has to provide information.
The other element of our social media network would be its regular use in the form of primary exploration. Users are asked to filter for “exploration” preferences including radius, mood, budget and form of transportation. The user can also decide whether or not he or she would like to explore by themselves or if they’d like to be matched with another recent mover. The match would be entirely random with the exception of the former filters.
Then the user is provided with a “wondering” route which gives them a random direction in which to explore and wonder. A number of different features then come into play such as “Hidden Gems” and “Mark as Favorite" which aid the user in discovery and personalization.
The application monitors for safety zones marked in red, yellow and green, which sends notifications in the forms of vibrations to users if they are entering a red zone as well as a “take me home” option.
Blue Ocean Strategy
After mapping out a Blue Ocean Strategy we came to a realization that the social network concept we created initially, was hazardously similar to existing competitors, sharing one too many key characteristics.
In an attempt to differentiate ourselves from the rest, we decided to embrace the "white space". Adjacent is a mapping of our previous positioning (represented in gray) and most importantly our current position (represented in blue) in relation to our competitors.
While developing the network, the team
conducted a SWOT analysis on Unknown
to better understand and critically evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities surrounding the concept.
The brand development process included creating a mood board, brand aesthetics, plan for branding and a sales pitch. This process helped in designing a prototype for the testing process, get feedback, and conduct
a final re-iteration process.
plan for BRANDing
The brand development led to the process of creating a working App(lication) after user-testing the first prototype to entice the target user group: students and young professionals.
We tested our first prototype with some guidelines depicting features and key attributes that deemed necessary for our social network. Some are listed here:
Avoid content overload
Connect those entering a city with those exiting it
Enabling sharing of information between movers
Authentic user connections by syncing with Google Maps and Facebook
Promote physical interactions and engagement
Eliminate the possibility of ghost users
Provide safety net