FriendlyU Profiles

A social network where high school and college students can connect to talk about colleges.

Role: UX

Date: 2017

Duration: 2 Months

FriendlyU Mockup

What is FriendlyU?

FriendlyU at its core is a social network that connects high school with college students as they are trying to decide on what college to attend. I was the sole user experience designer of FriendlyU for three years. Over that time, I worked on both the desktop and mobile solutions for the platform, on typically smaller features. Profiles was the most complete feature I was able to own and undertake

On a social networking platform, profiles offer a space for users to relay what their interests are in order to connect with like-minded people. In order to garner more engagement and help FriendlyU expand to more universities, Profiles offers a great opportunity to help students all around the nation connect around a better way to approach the college application process.

1. Planning

Challenge

How do we facilitate the foundations for connections between potential students and college students?

FriendlyU Research

User Personas

User Personas

Goals

1

Help students find the right culture fit in their colleges and connections.

2

Use a modular system so we can easily add or remove features as the platform grows.


2. Execution

Profile Layout

To facilitate student connections the FriendlyU profile displays personal interests, and potential connections on the profile. To add some personal expression to the profile I added a cover photo and profile photo in a hero section. I organized the information from the surveys into sections within their profile. About, Interests (Pins), Recommended Connections, Academics, and Clubs. There is a lot that goes on within the app so it was important that notifications (left sidebar) be accessible at all times.

Sketch

FriendlyU Sketches

Wireframe

FriendlyU Wireframe

Information Architecture

Information Architecture

Key Components

Deciding if and/or where to go to college is one of the hardest decisions for a high school student to make, which is why they look for key traits to find the perfect fit in a college. FriendlyU surfaces these traits in profiles for quick identification and accurate recommendations.

About Section

About

Comprising of a bio, school history, and interest pins, this allows the student’s personality to shine.

Clubs Section

Clubs

Involvement in organizations is a great way to meet like-minded people.

Suggested Connections Section

Suggested Connections

These are students and ambassadors who have the same interests, are applying or applied to the same colleges, or who go to nearby schools.

Share Section

Share

Students can include more personality in their CommonApp packets, or invite friends to join the FriendlyU community with a simple link.

FriendlyU Pins

Showing off your Interests (Pins)

Starting conversations with strangers can be stressful, especially for a high schooler talking to a college student. One way I tackled this was with pins. Pins are badges on a user’s profile that represent that students interests, hobbies and sports. Pins act as a conversation starter with students with similar interests.

Personal Video

Students can make use of their beloved selfie cameras to give their profiles a more personal voice through video.

Video Card

User Testing

Once the new profile design was live on the website we conducted usertesting with both high school and college students. We found that users utilized the tools section more then the notifications. The usefulness of the notification section was dependent on the number of connections and conversations that user had. This prompted us to switch the notification sidebar with the utility bar.

User Testing

3. Final Solutions

FriendlyU Comp 1

Notification Dropdown

FriendlyU Notification Comp

Edit Video Model

FriendlyU Edit Video Model Comp

Learnings

One of the biggest challenges was creating a interface that was modular but still hierarchical. Since we are a startup and are learning as we go, we make a lot of changes based on new user and business needs that are unearthed as our product grows beyond today's 3,000 active users. We needed an interface that could be changed with ease at a moments notice.

Conclusion

The experiences at FriendlyU have been unforgettable. I learned how to work closely with developers in an agile environment, and how to conduct user testing and make pivotal decisions based on the feedback. I learned the ins and outs of the educational sector both from the student and college side.

Profiles was just one of many design problems I encountered while working on FriendlyU. Interested in learning more? Let’s chat!