Post Grad App

Postgraduate Admissions Application


September – March 2013

Client: University of Kent

Platform: PC

An application to manage postgraduate applications to the University of Kent


The Challenge

Client currently used Microsoft Excel to organise the data from postgraduate applications to the university. He had encountered many usability issues due to Excel not being specialised for the use and wanted something easier and more effective for the task.

Aim to produce a system that would offer a greater user experience.


 

1. Understanding the existing system

  • Fully understand the existing system used – Microsoft Excel. 
  • Existing positives and negatives detailed.
  • Usability pitfalls uncovered.
  • Greater understanding of the clients needs & wants prepared before later user interviews.

 

 

2. Task flow

  • Informal interviews with the client allows us to uncover the existing workflow of the whole postgraduate application process.
  • This allows us to see where the application fits in, and to understand which tasks we can focus on making more efficient.

 

 

3. Client Interviews

  • Validate existing understanding of the system and its pitfalls
  • Understand precisely where usability issues lie, and his needs & wants going forward
  • Compile key requirements & objectives based on client answers

 

 

4.User Flow

  • Build user flow of the existing application based on prior work & understanding
  • Streamline this flow to something we can use in the design for our solution

 

 

4. Rapid Prototyping

Apologies for the poor video quality


  • Rapid, Lo-fi prototypes produced to allow quick refinement and building of our applications workings.
  • The client preferred to not be involved in the prototyping stage so random testers were chosen to take part.
  • 5 tests with 3 scenarios were carried out with iteration in-between
  • Videos were taken of the various low Lo-Fi tests for further analysis.

 

 

5.System Design

    Blue — GUI functionality, Red — Database functionality.

  • Use the design of the 5th lo-fi iteration to take forward as our initial prototype.
  • Build the inner-workings of this prototype so that we can undertsand how the different functional aspects of this system interact
  • This ensures the wireframes can be built without forgetting certain technical limitations.

 

 

6. Wireframing & Client Validation

Wireframes created with Balsamiq

  • Wireframes formalised and shown to the client to gather his opinions on the direction he'd like it to take.
  • As the system was developed for only one end-user, this allowed for it to be adapted specifically for his needs.
  • Wireframes also produced for each menu within the application, detailing its internal components and functionality.
  • The client specified the preferred design direction and gave feedback on what he would like to be added to the system.
  • This higher fidelity also allowed us to uncover further usability issues.

 

 

7. Visual design

  • Step up to final stage of fidelity & unveil full vision for the application.
  • The visual design layer allows us finalise final usability & accessibility options – considerations include colour blindness & imperfect sight.

 

 

8. Proof of Concept

  • Due to project limitations, a full solution couldn't be constructed
  • Instead, a working prototype with basic functionality was created to allow user testing to continue on what would be referred to as an initial iteration, before further feature implementation in later iterations.

 

 

9. User Testing

  • As previously noted, we planned to user test iterations at each stage.
  • Feedback would allow for changes to be made before the full application launched. 
  • Testers were given documents to complete which were then evaluated.
  • As the project scope only allowed for one iteration, testing was carried out on only this.

 


Outcome

Full documentation of the design process, and an initial iteration were delivered to the client, as per instructions.

Future plans involved him implementing the application himself based on our designs, research, and instructions; and to use the program in the postgraduate application process at the University of Kent.

Using Format