Research matching platform
Summer project @PurduePharm
Research opportunities are often inaccessible for students. The current process of connecting college students with projects that fit their skill sets, experience and interests is long and tedious. There’s little direct communication between researchers and trainees.
Purdue University Specialization Project
The cliff notes
As a team lead, I learnt how to implement team building skills to mange collaboration, solve conflicts and lead by example.
Learnt how to organize and lead team retrospectives, create team member growth plans, and retrospective reflections.
Co-developed and executed a project strategy for the end-to-end cycle of this product.
Learnt to champion the development of a UX project proposal and clearly explain the project vision, direction, goals, stakeholders, deliverables, timeline and tasks.
Being the primary point of contact with our industry sponsors, I led communication of our UX approaches to diverse stakeholders (including clients, developers and upper management) in a professional manner.
Our team was given the opportunity to continue working even after our semester ended.
THIS PROJECT HELPED ME GROW SO MUCH AS A DESIGNER
The project was divided into 3 phases, each with its own goals and milestones -
1) Understanding the space
2) Proposing interventions
A huge learning for me was accepting that the project might sometimes deviate from the proposed timeline and what the best way to communicate that with clients, the team as well as quickly re-calibrate our path.
Stakeholders vs Users
GOALS KEEPING ALL STAKEHOLDERS IN MIND
Provide an integrated resource
RxConnect's goal is to create a resource for connecting researchers and trainees, to research
assistance, training, projects, collaborators, and mentors conveniently online. This service will “even the playing field” by providing a convenient central dashboard housing readily accessible research opportunities.
Mutually benefit researchers and assistants
This research matchmaking database is designed with both researchers and trainees in mind. The goal of the
project is to help researchers look for trained research assistants to assist with ongoing projects, and help assistants
find projects best suited to their needs, interests, and skills.
USER PAIN POINTS THAT DROVE OUR DESIGN
Surface level matching
Currently, students are matched to research projects solely based on availability. This
leads to very surface-level matching where students' interests, preferences, or
qualifications aren’t considered.
Lack of an integrated space to find opportunities
Currently, since there is no centralized place where an interested applicant can view all available projects, students to not fully know all the available opportunities.
Lot of back and forth, a trail of emails and unsure of how to communicate to clear doubts or ask questions
Lack of information
At any step of the process, students currently have no resources to ask for help/find answers or steps to alleviate any confusion/questions they might have.
“How can we help students find the best research project match based on interest while also making the process more streamlined and easier for researchers?”
REFINED MATCHING ALGORITHM BY FILTERING
Filters like timeline, duration, research area, compensation etc are provided to narrow down opportunities for those seeking them based on
individual preferences. Tags on the projects allow users to see exactly why they’re being recommended a project - honing in on the
INTEGRATED PLATFORM FOR ACCESSIBILITY
Currently, there is no centralized place where an interested applicant can view all
available projects. This service will “even the playing field” by providing a convenient central dashboard housing readily accessible research opportunities.
CLARITY IN NEXT STEPS
All starred projects can be found in one place along with a roadmap of where users are in the application process with clear next steps. Students found it extremely helpful to know what they are already qualified for and what projects they may need additional training on.
EASY MANAGEMENT FOR RESEARCHERS
The team also wanted to focus on giving researchers a streamlined experience when seeking out research
● Minimal Typing required helps researchers
publish opportunities quickly and easily
● Researchers are now able to view all their projects and applicants, and can manage them easily
We created a design library, as well as UI elements for the Rxconnect website. We wanted to use a clean and vibrant design language that still pays tribute to Purdue's black and gold palette. With the use of gray, gold & black shades as a base for the design, and additional use of colors that act as color coding, in order to differentiate between different filtering tags.
During our testing sessions, we got feedback from certain professors that our platform were less likely to work because now the onus is on the professors to interview students to gauge their interest level and competence, instead of gauging their interest levels from how much effort they went through to find out about research opportunities like earlier. This was a pivotal moment for us to go back to our core and remember why we are making the decision of leveling the playing field to provide equal opportunities to all students regardless of their introversion, anxiety to approach professors or lack of time to seek out inaccessible opportunities.
(more) Developmenthiccups & lessons
IMPORTANCE OF FLOWS AND SITE MAPS
We created different stages of the user journey for ease of comprehension by developers. We created site maps to explain the progression and flow of our screens and add comments wherever there may be room for different interpretations.
Implementation happened in stages, as we iteratively building our prototypes based on feedback from evaluation sessions. Giving them a rough idea about how iterations are planned is helpful for both sides. Use status updates in your design tool to show what parts of the designs are in progress, paused, or done.
Along with that, we maintained a logical structure and system in our design tool. For example, structuring elements in our Figma, labelling and grouping them correctly.
idea for a platform
semester-long project with a great team
recruited for summer internship
watched our designs being handed to developers :")
This project was a huge learning opportunity for me to try my hand at things other than just design work. Although I really enjoyed the designing bit of this project, it made me appreciate all of the different people and processes that take place in the end-to-end cycle of any product. This project taught me important lessons on professional communication, collaboration, mentoring, maintaining relationships and managing a team. It exposed me to the 'people' aspect of design and showed me how important to have a positive, synergetic and fun work environment. I'm very grateful for this opportunity!