A smartphone application designed to help students locate available computers based on their software requirements.
This portfolio piece was submitted to the University of Brighton’s Digital Award Competition which was funded by Santander Universities.
The entry can be viewed here: https://elevator.jisc.ac.uk/e/university-brighton-digital/idea/searchable
Brief: Improve the experience for students and staff at the University of Brighton.
Key insight: Students requiring specific software spent valuable time travelling to different floors around campus in search of computers. It became evident that students sometimes found the rooms were booked or the computers did not have the required software due to additional licenses being required. This became problematic especially with looming deadlines as students were not able to use the computers and had no real indication of when the computers would become available.
The main user requirements from research indicated that students needed to have search results displayed quickly – in less than 1 minute (of course this speed was dependent on their internet connection) However, the app itself needed to be intuitive enough for students to save time and get what they wanted quickly.
My initial thought process was that students who required a computer needed to be able to intuitive search tools and results displayed fast. It then occurred to me that their decision process could be influenced by other factors such as, distance, software requirements and other facilities (printing and refreshments). Another aspect to consider was that despite there being numerous computers spread out across campuses, not every room would be available all the time. This is partly due to lecturers booking them in advance. It would be helpful for students to know this prior to going to a location. It was therefore a logical decision to implement these features into the design.
After creating several wireframes, I then transitioned to creating mockups in Marvel. The software enabled me to take the mockups to various users and obtain user feedback. It was essential to do this because it helped me understand the user flow much better and what aspects could be refined.
The final screens can be seen below with core features included.
How would it work? By utilising existing login data stored by the university, this could be used to map out which computers are available or unavailable in real-time. Each computer has a unique identifier tag on the university network, therefore through further development that data could be translated into a set of values (how many computers are available) and locations on the app.
This app has been primarily designed to help students at the University of Brighton identify available computers, however, it has the potential to be rolled out to other institutions.
As this project was submitted into a competition, a video was put together explaining the idea and who would benefit from it. The images below show the recording studio and composition in Final Cut Pro.
*Update: Since submitting this piece of work, the main search screen has been redesigned from a location tab view to a scrolling view. Users also have the option of reserving a computer which provides more flexibility if there are no available computers.