Post 18 – October 23rd

What we did: We had a very productive meeting with Chris. He agreed with our London trip and he was specially interested in the WhatsApp Bot feature we presented for our mentor matching process. He was even in favor of trying to design a system around this Bot and, if possible, nothing else (as User touch point). We think we’re still on time to make these changes in our design although we’re skeptical of leaving the web portal out of the project. We created a customer journey map for Analu, Juan’s Guatemalan friend that studied (and currently lives) in London. We got very interesting insights from her. Even though she’s very determined and organized, there are still many issues within the whole “studying abroad” process and this helped us validating our approach. We made a lot of progress in our WhatsApp Bot but WhatsApp blocked our Bot lines (3 different Portuguese telephone lines in total). We got our Bot to echo every message it received, apply some logic to certain specific messages, send pictures, change profile information, etc. We also tried to have multiple conversations at the same time, with different users, and it worked perfectly. We kept working on defining our system architecture and answering some crucial questions about our product. We defined that our project will be based on a shared wiki database, combining the MediaWiki API (polling live info from Wikipedia) and our own Wiki API. The mentors will be collaborating with the Wiki and the Bot will have access to the info (as well as the mentors/mentees). Some mentors will be assigned as moderators to keep...

Post 17- October 16th

What we did: This week we decided to travel to London during mid-November to do user testing and get video footage.  We looked at different flight options/accommodations, and got approval from Simone. We also started researching different areas the Ugandan Diaspora live in and what schools we could reach out to. We also prepared a mentee quiz and disseminated an email inviting future Portugal students to sign up for a mentor program with students that are already in Portugal.  In the end we had 12 out of 16 students sign up for the program. We worked further on defining our personal portal and verification process.  The idea behind the portal is that it will guide them through the process of choosing schools and then applying to them through timelines, checklists, etc.  For the verification we want to make sure that the person is truly interested in becoming a mentor/mentee and is trustworthy. We created a customer journey map for Jude to better understand the high and low points for him during the process of applying to school abroad.  We found that he did have a lack of access to resources and people to help guide him, especially when applying to graduate schools in the United States. Challenges: We found that we didn’t have sufficient people that we’ve interviewed regarding applying to school in the United States so we are reaching out to our network to identify more people.   Next Steps: We need to book our London Trip.  We will be matching the mentors and mentees with each other, understanding what’s most important for the match.  We will also...

Post 16 – October 9th

What we did:  This week, we are preparing for our quarter-semester presentation, user-testing for content, and preparing a low-fi prototype. We were inspired by the textiles we saw displayed by vendors at the UNAA convention, so we are rebranding ourselves based on those colors/patterns for all forthcoming presentations and reports. We sent out a few questions to select members of our user base regarding challenges, research, and funding of moving abroad to incorporate in our designs. About half responded. In addition, we interviewed Jude Mukundane, RootIO’s software developer about his process applying to schools. We completed two activities: one to display a visual journey map and another to sort the features he thinks are important for our concept. We sketched our ideas for the website and cut them up to move them around on the board. The technology we are considering is still in flux. It depends on how far of reach we are aiming for – we’re considering a “lite” version completely utilizing Whatsapp. Our prototypes are currently in grayscale, stationary web format using Sketch. Challenges:  The main challenge is to come up with a nice “wow” factor that really differentiates our product and give the content more focus. Then we can work on the overall information architecture, which the team has diverging opinions on. Next steps: We need to further plan and recruit for user testing and narrow the features down to what we can realistically build by the end of the semester. Also, we plan on experience prototyping the match and mentorship model between ourselves and the incoming Pittsburgh-Portugal...

Post 15 – October 1

What we’ve done Based on our current three concepts (A, B and C) and Chris’ feedback, we came up with many new concepts after a lot of brainstorming. We made different storyboards of these approaches and we ended up voting for our top 5. We made storyboards of these five concepts and showed them to Chris and Jude. Yes, Jude is here in Madeira. He came to visit the island and to keep up with his work in RootIO and other projects. He presented RootIO in conferences in Paris and Lisbon before coming here. Jude and Chris commented about our new concepts and they found a potential direction combining our Concept C (mentor matching) with one of the new concepts (Concept 4, which was a Diaspora Network Storytelling website). We are really excited to finally have a direction and start iterating (quickly) around it.   Obstacles/What’s Next We still need to define a concept although having a direction is very encouraging. We are going to iterate in the next few days to define our merged concept and start working on the short term deliverables (Lo-fi prototype, presentation, etc.). We are also planning on sending some questions to selected Ugandan diaspora members that will be related to these concepts. Things are looking...

Post 14 – September 25th

What we’ve done Welcome back from summer! It’s been a doozy. To give you a quick recap of those events, the four of us planned for and attended the 27th Annual Ugandan North American Association Conference and Trade Expo. We’ve been in contact with the President of the UNAA, Brian M. Kwesiga, since the Spring to host participatory design workshops. We revisited and reshaped our four concepts from the Spring and presented three storyboards, along with a host of other activities, to the workshop participants. We received a lot of valuable feedback and commentary from our 18 participants and a couple dozen other conference attendees. We also engaged in the cultural events the conference had to offer, such as indulging in the prepared local cuisine. Tuesday, we presented our findings to M-ITI faculty advisors and were advised to down-select to one by Friday with our client. We then discussed the different deliverables due and assigned roles and responsibilities based off of who wanted what experience. Friday, we brought Chris, our client, up to speed and asked him to rank each concept comparatively, across how appealing it was to him, how innovative it was, how impactful, and how RootIO-related. Concept A (broadcast your expertise) was the least well-received, and Concept B (uncle-nephew spelling game) and C (mentor-matching) were more desirable due to the compelling nature of those relationships. Although we were unable to down-select to one, we feel that we’re moving in the right direction. Obstacles/What’s Next We still need to get to one. We are taking time to individually process Chris’ feedback (incorporate two-way dialogue between the diaspora and Uganda;...

Post 13 – May 8th

What we’ve done This past week was all about the affinity diagram and some early concept building. We were able to finish our affinity diagram, composed of 840 white sticky notes (approx.), 152 lower level pink sticky notes, 40 second level orange sticky notes and 13 top level yellow ones. All this came out directly from 25 interviews and also considering our 44 survey responses from both Ugandans and diaspora members. We had a very productive meeting with Chris where we decided to keep going in the path we took (concept building using our affinity as the main reference) and he seemed satisfied with our first concept approaches. We also gave a dry run presentation to Simone, Evan and more M-ITI faculty members. We got very good feedback and many things to consider/fix for the final presentation. Some of these very important aspects were: – Our whole presentation narrative: One or two members presenting, not all of us. – Our presentation visual design: Changing the whole template for a more professional one. – Our presentation order: Changing the order of the slides so they make more sense altogether. – Presenting our client to the audience: We have to be more thorough in this aspect. – Visuals for our research: Fixing the circles diagram, spending less time on the affinity diagram insights (no video unless it’s used as background for something else) and showing some more about the concepts. Obstacles/What’s Next Making sure sure to have these issues fixed by the final rehearsal presentation and take our travel decisions for the fall so we can start coordinating...