Plan for efficiency
Foresight is a personal project that caters to upperclassmen high school and college students as they navigate their academic lives. It considers every facet of the student's life that extend beyond class and homework, such as extracurricular activities and application tracking.
Students today multitask more than ever. While academic coursework remains their number one priority, other factors compete with their working memory, such as part-time jobs, applications for scholarships and housing, and other regular commitments.
Students often have to utilize multiple organizing systems that are optimized for isolated aspects of their lives when it's more ideal to work within a single hub.
Ultimately, the societal pressure of taking on more to achieve a sense of accomplishment trap students into overcommitment to the point of burnout.
To design an app that centralizes the student's multi-purpose calendars and agendas.
To aid the user in passing better judgment on how busy they are before committing to a new task.
To get a broader sense of academic and commitment behaviors, I sent out a Google form that received 21 responses from undergraduate students. The questions were a mix of multiple choice and short answer. Click here to view the survey questions.
18 of 21
track assignments by hand or on a default app
track assignments and non-school tasks in the same place
10 of 21
work on 3 assignments per day
prepare for exams, papers, and projects 3-4 days in advance
organize their non-school schedule around their school schedule
rated 4-5 out of 5 in assessing their tendency to overcommit to too many activities at once
rated 2 out of 5 in assessing their likelihood of checking an organizer before committing to a new activity
The responses I received from the survey helped craft a user persona representative of my target audience. The average user is someone who strives to achieve balance between school and work.
This preliminary user flow characterizes the process of adding a task to Foresight. I wanted my design to allow seamless interaction between two different calendar views (i.e. monthly and weekly) and a daily view (i.e. Agenda). Moreover, I wanted to create a distinct flow for filtering courses, exams, extracurricular activities, and applications.
As such, the app would operate on three levels: Calendar, Agenda, and Filter.
My first sketches focused on fleshing out the Calendar, Agenda, and Filter views. Two features I was keen to include were shaded Calendar dates and Agenda labels.
The shaded Calendar dates would objectively indicate the user's availability on a scale of least busy to most busy.
The labels would appear on the Agenda when significant items are due on a particular date.
After the preliminary sketches, I began designing wireframes for the app.
REFINING 'ADD ITEM' USER FLOW
While creating the wireframes, I decided to make the filter options more visible to the user by having them appear on the home screen instead of a separate screen. I focused on streamlining the process of adding a task to Foresight, while still enabling a degree of fluidity, in case the user wants the same item to appear in multiple formats.
REFLECTION & NEXT STEPS
The design process made me reflect on the balance between compartmentalization and integration, particularly for the organization of Calendar, Agenda, and Filter. Because it was crucial to enable multiple views based on the user’s needs, I had to be mindful of how much information the user would be exposed to in order to avoid overload. In the same way, it was definitely a challenge to consider all the ways I could allow the user to push an item to multiple views without having them input the same information all over again.
For my next steps, I want to create an interactive prototype to better demonstrate user flow. I also want to consider additional ways the user can push an item’s details into the Agenda when working from the Calendar and Filter views.