My Role 

Product Manager. Was handpicked by the General Assembly (GA) DC campus leadership to lead project. Recruited and led a team of seven (two developers, three UX professionals, one designer, one product manager).

CHALLENGE

To design a new outlet for GA alumni engagement and strengthen the GA community at large.

Solution

Create a platform that allows GA students and alumni to connect and collaborate on cross-disciplinary projects in a crowdsourced way (like OpenIDEO).

Hypothesis

Do GA students and alumni want to enhance their skills while building a global GA community of innovators? 

ASSUMPTIONS

  • General Assembly students and alumni:
  • Are eager and willing to spend additional time on GA-related work
  • Are looking for additional projects
  • Want to collaborate with other students
  • Want brands to be involved
  • Want to participate online AND in person
  • Want to continue GA-related learning post their GA classes
  • Want exposure to other tracks 
  • Will be repeated users
  • Want to work with only GA students

USER RESEARCH

As a team of current/alumni General Assembly students, our research challenge was to objectively identify our early adopters. It was difficult to remain disciplined about prioritizing the experiences of our early adopters over our own experiences.

We designed two rounds of surveys and received feedback from more than 70 current and 80 alumni students. 

HIGH LEVEL FINDINGS

... students & alumni place strong value on high-touch, in-person interaction

… alumni were more in favor of online interaction than current students

... students & alumni expressed a desire for additional cross-disciplinary opportunities

... expressed a desire for more out-of-class guidance & real world application for skills learned at GA

…students are willing to spend more time than they are currently spending on GA-related projects outside the classroom

… students & alumni do not feel strongly about being part of the global General Assembly community

User Flow and Personas

Armed with feedback directly from our target audiences, we went to work on creating personas that reflect their desires, wishes, and pain points. We also translated them into a simple yet elegant user flow.

 

 

 

 

 

VISUAL MOCKUP

Our visual designer, Kristian Dela Cruz, implemented the wireframes that we created in Photoshop. He did a wonderful job of remaining consistent with the General Assembly brand aesthetic. 

INTERACTIVE PROTOTYPE

Using InVision, our UX team created a clickable prototype for our product from our visual mockups.

This hi-fidelity prototype allowed us to start conducting usability testing, despite not having a fully-functioning product just yet. To view a walkthrough of the product, view the video to the right.

 

 

COMPETITIVE RESEARCH

The initial concept was based on the open innovation platform that crowdsources answers that solve the world's most pressing problems.

Inspired by the OpenIDEO model, our team set out to create a similar space for the General Assembly community to connect & collaborate on trending topics in technology & design.

 

 

Outcomes

Our team was a finalist in the first-ever General Assembly Student Hackathon, where we were commended on our team's focus, vision, and the amount of work we were able to complete in only 13 hours. We won top honors for the User Experience out of our 15 other competitors. 

After we launched our initial concept, our team received a lot of buzz internally at GA DC campus, and signups for the platform started happening quickly. We launched our minimum viable product in Spring 2015 on the GA DC campus.