Making York University's facility upkeep an easy and efficient experience for both students and staff

repairYU

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Role

Research, Ideation, UI/UX,

Visual design, Prototyping

Duration

7 days (January - February)

Tools

Adobe XD, Illustrator, Photoshop

Problem

As a student at York University who cares deeply about the overall community safety on campus, I noticed the inaccessibility and inefficiency of our current system for facility upkeep.

York’s current system for students to report maintenance problems is only via 2 forms of communication: phone and email. With limited office hours and contact methods, students often find it difficult and frustrating to even report their problems.

 

On the back end of things, all reports and data are entered manually by support staff then transferred via phone call or work orders to maintenance staff. The whole process is very manual, time-consuming, and inefficient, leading to frustrations for people on all ends of the process.

Solution

Creating an online and mobile compatible reporting system that allows students to easily submit a problem by just answering a curated list of questions. This system then categorizes each response automatically into a digital data entry, which allows staff to immediately evaluate the problem and forward it to the corresponding maintenance staff team.

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Analyzing Current System

To begin understanding where I could step in and improve York's current reporting system, I decided to analyze the current system myself and determine any personal pain points along the way.

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Competitive research

Key Insights:

  • There are only 2 lines of communication (one via phone and the other via email for specific maintenance cases)

  • The user interface is unfriendly, making seeking help less approachable

  • The search process of accessing the lines of communication is difficult, unclear, and confusing for users.

  • The links provided currently are outdated and are not helpful to students

User Research

To further my research I conducted user interviews with the 3 most-affected groups of users: students, support staff, and maintenance staff. I wanted to understand the backend of how the current system worked, and gain more insight regarding each group of users' frustrations from their point of view. 

Students' Perspective

It would be better for maintenance to respond faster”

Longer office hours, so I don’t have to leave messages on an answering machine”

Support & Maintenance staffs' Perspective

The process is very manual”

I wish there was a link between reporting and transmitting”

Wish the amount of data entries could be reduced”

I wish the current data entry interface could be more categorized”

Synthesis

Key Insights:

  • The report response time is either slow or students are just not responded to

  • The current office hours limits students from actually reporting their problems

  • The current data entry process is too and unorganized for staff

  • Every step in the process is either manual or via phone, slowing down each operation for staff

To synthesize my research and insights, I created 3 user personas and a system frustrations summary which I would base on when creating my user scenarios.

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* images taken from Unsplash

Defining the Problem

After analyzing the frustrations from each type of user and understanding their current pain points, I was able to gain better clarity into the problem and started to approach the solution by asking myself this:

How can I design a system that eliminates unnecessary waiting times and streamlines the response-to-action process for users?

Product goals:

  • Efficiency: eliminate any redundant data entry points and unnecessary phone calls

  • Accessibility: create another method of reporting even during off-hours

  • Organization: re-design user interface to be more categorized and navigatable

  • Communication: Improve communication and transparency for all users of the system

Ideation

After finalizing my research, I began ideating possible user interfaces and interactions that could deliver what I wanted the application to achieve in a user-friendly and simple way.

User flows & Scenarios

After the ideation process, I finalized my 3 userflows and case scenarios:

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Wireframing

Taking the established user flows and previous low-fidelity sketches, I started building mid-fidelity wireframes to map out specific interactions prior to the visual design. 

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Visual System

When developing the visual system, I wanted to ensure that it appealed to the user while still inheriting York University's current branding. This is why I chose red as the main accent color and kept the rest clean with shades from the grayscale. I also created a few illustrations to tie in the overall visual design, ensuring that all aspects were cohesive and fitting to the brand.

Students' End

Students navigating through a welcoming and approachable interface

Support Staffs' End

Automating the report process for support staff to complete their once manual job in just a few clicks

Maintenance Staffs' End

Allowing instant completion status updates for maintenance staff to streamline communication

Notifications

A helpful notification bell to allow easy communication between support and maintenance staff

Reflection

This was my first time designing a system involving 3 different types of users, so it was definitely a huge learning experience from research to execution. Through this entire process, I learned the real value of constantly reiterating my designs to most effectively serve my users. The extensive research process really helped me to achieve that. ​

 

Through this project, I was also actually able to provide valuable feedback to the maintenance staff at York University. Shortly after I interviewed the staff there, they updated the current site to include another general contact by email and updated their link to a more useful resource for students. Although it was a small change and a long way from the desired goal, I was still happy that this opportunity allowed me to actually improve something on my campus!

Points of improvement and goals for the future:

  • Conduct extensive user testing to gain valuable feedback from users, and reiterate accordingly.

  • Develop an analytics system consisting of student feedback for staff to access. This would allow the system to constantly be improved and create a better line of communication between all users.

  • Create an experience for staff in management positions. This would include an interface that overviewed all staffs' dashboards and would have a more extensive site map.

  • The current experience can be accessed online on any device for students and staff, however, in the future, I would also like to develop a specific mobile application interface. This would allow students and maintenance staff and easily access the product to complete the tasks they need. 

Check out my other projects ↘

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© 2021 Anna Asgaraly. All Rights Reserved.

Hey I’m Anna! A product & visual designer

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