How to live in a different country with a different language? 😔

📅 Year: 2022 Fall - 2023 Spring (ongoing project)

⚡️ Contributions: Full-stack UX/UI Design, User Research, Task Analysis, Prototyping, Usability Testing, Visual Design

💻 Software: Figma, Miro

As an international student myself, I feel the pride, the privilege, as well as the loneliness, the isolation altogether. I saw the need for an online community for Chinese international students in the US. Hence, in 2022, I started this CIRCLE online community project.

01 | Where do we begin?

College students frequently suffer from mental disorders such as depression (41.6%) and anxiety (36.4%). The lack of social support and cultural differences make it even worse for international students. A welcoming, close-knit community could be their lifebuoy ring to thrive academically and mentally. I realize that international students tend to be scattered in different locations, only an online community can conquer the distance.

Credit: This project is advised by Amy Bruckman, Regent's professor at Georgia Tech, teaching the Design of Online Communities class.

02 | User Research & Insights

The users groups are defined as - Chinese International students in the United States. I used surveys and semi-structured interviews to collect data.

Research Methods

  1. Survey

Where do international students get support? I collected data on the platforms they use, how they use them, what they need help with. The most common platform people use is 1point3acres, and the most sought help is grad school applications and visa applications. Most people gave it a 4/5 score in terms of difficulty to use.

Take a look at the survey, and the data! (It's in Chinese but try chrome-translate.)

2. Interview

A total of 6 interviews allowed me to generate an affinity map of their journeys.

🧐 Research Findings

💡 Design Implications from Findings

03 | Jobs to be done

04 | User Flow

04 | Design 💅 (finally)

05 | Usability Testing

06 | Retrospective

Since the beginning of this project, I have been highly aware of the potential bias. Due to the limitations of resources for my individual project, all interviewees I found are either from Georgia Tech or UNC-Chapel Hill. Both schools are public universities in the south, and are competitive academically. That leads to this crowd having similar goals - to be in good standing academically and launch a good career (most likely in tech) after graduation. They fail to represent people on the West coast, or other areas, or people with different goals such as - start an entrepreneurship, leave to another country, play in sport, or be a freelancer.

However, this population is representative of the majority of this user group.