Wong Hui En
We’re Team Passionfruit, and we’ve come up with an online platform to help users turn their interests into passions. This is to encourage more action to further the passions that one has, for greater fulfilment in what one does. Our website is mainly targetted at young adults aged 18 to 27 years old, who have to decide on what they want to further in university and embark on their careers, as well as any other people who want a consolidated platform to further their passions.
Passionfruit consists of 3 main features:
- Quiz – Users will be asked a series of questions in chatbot form to determine their profile, to incite self-reflection, and to find out more about their other interests
- Visualize – Users will be shown a map after the personal survey, that is a visual representation of their interests. Users can take action and participate in activities related to their interests on the map, and their interaction with the section causes it to grow.
- Pursue – Users can the branch out into other fields related to their stated interests through suggestions by the tool. They can also connect with like-minded people with the same interests, and they can also explore activities related to their interests from a consolidated list of actionable avenues that Passionfruit provides.
Team Passionfruit was formed in Week 3, where we started defining the idea of passion to direct our project, after being given this Open IDEO Challenge:
“How might we better prepare all learners for the needs of tomorrow by re-imagining higher education?”
Following which in Week 4, we ventured out of class to conduct in-depth interviews around North Spine @ NTU. NS is a central venue where students from a vibrant mix of faculties congregate for lunch and work, and our ravenous stomachs were also a reason that compelled us to head there! We interviewed a total of 7 people from courses like Material Science to ADM, and we even chanced upon a professor of University College London, Andrew Brown, who was going to be in NTU NIE as a consultant for 2 months.
The feedback that we gained were vast and insightful, and after coming up with an empathy map for the interviews (the below is a general one), we noticed trends from our survey answers and tried to draw parallels with our pre-survey hypothesis, which was:
“We speculate that students are not all studying in areas of their passion. We think that this survey will reveal a mismatch with what students like the most and are the most committed to compared to what they study.”
However, the actual survey results gained were not congruent with what we had predicted, and this led us to question our survey technique and the very tools that we were using- the questions themselves. We realised that our interview questions were very much geared towards the area of hobbies which were deviating from our intended direction.
As such, in Week 5, Team Passionfruit met up in a quaint corner of Rochester Park hopefully to invigorate our creative juices with a fresh environment, to redesign our question and narrow down on our definition of the problem with higher education and passion. We came up with a list of possible questions to find solutions to:
- How can we encourage students to discover their passions in life?
- Passion can become very instrumental for education in the future. Can schools play a role in helping students to find their passion?
- How can we revalue passion in society?
- Can we restore a more pragmatic thinking of passion, and show students the differences between interest, passion, hobbies?
- How can we help students balance their passions/hobbies etc in life?
Out of these questions, we chose 1. as it was the best for our area of expertise, and we were very interested in pursuing that area. Due to the incongruency in previous week’s interview results, we decided to survey more people around the area.
In Week 6, we put out a Passion in Education online survey on passions/interests and circulated the link among our friends and their friends. In the survey, we wanted to find out how people rate their interest, level of commitment, and long term prospects of their hobbies/interests, as well as their area of study. We received a total of 121 responses, where the general trends of hobbies/interests were towards high interest, high commitment level, but very varied view of long term prospects.
For their respective areas of study, participants expressed high levels of interest, high levels of commitment and a positive view of long term prospects.
The results of this survey were also against our original hypothesis where we speculated that a great deal of people in higher education were not studying what they were interested in. However, if reality was as our results have shown and people were happy with what they were studying, it begets the question-
Why do we need to design something to solve a problem that is not one? … What is the actual problem then?
After a heated debate, we came up with a conclusion- we were too deep into the idea that most people are not studying what they want, which might not be the case. The percentage of people not pursuing their passions might be smaller than expected, but we wanted to come up with a solution that minimizes the number of people who are studying what they are not very passionate about.
Before our ideation presentations on Week 7, Team Passionfruit came together to come up with a rough solution for our problem. One of the problems that struck us most was the lack of tools for self-reflection.
One of the most widely employed tools in the area of discovering a suitable career for an individual is the career aptitude test. We found that current vocational tests are:
- Expensive at a psychologist
- Free tests like Sokanu
- Personality tests, interest-based tests, value tests, aptitude tests and work style tests.
- Intent is missed
Thus, our tool is aimed towards Self- Reflection and Self-Survey, to get users to think about themselves, to think about what they want through visualising their interests. The tool that we ambitioned to create was a website named Passionfruit with interactive and lively, bold graphics to capture the user’s attention, and the general flow of events on the site was planned as follows:
In week 7, Team Passionfruit delved more into the self-exploration area and we came up with a simple graphical representation of a person’s interests. On the x axis, we have the level of commitment to the interest and on the y axis we have the level of interest, in the area. We wanted our tool to reflect the users’ thoughts instead of prescribing advice.
In week 8, we worked with paper prototypes for the visualisation part of our project, which was meant to be the highlight of our tool.
We also worked our questions scheme into categories to establish the motive behind each question, and to ensure that every one of them contributed to the usefulness of the tool in some way.
In week 9, we started to think more about the UI and visuals. Team Passionfruit came up with a flowchart for our questions where we want the users to experience the questions most naturally (like texting a friend), to induce thought. There were a few questions that incited our curiosity and thought when the class gave each other feedback about our prototypes:
- What do the users want?
- Design thinking should be something intuitive in designing? How can we introduce this intuitiveness back in designers?
- How can we focus on what the users want- how can we be more user centric instead of designer centric?
Thus, we aimed to use these questions as a thinking point when we test our prototypes.
In week 10 and 11, after thinking through the feedback we received from our peers again, we added on to the list of our guiding questions when we tested our prototype. We wanted to find out:
- Is our product valid? Is the problem really a problem
- Usability, would people want to use the app?
- What content would they use?
- Would they share it with other people?
- Would they use it to represent themselves..?
- How often would they use it?
- Do they think it’s something that works?
We tested on 5 random people around North Spine. Our testing came in 2 stages:
- Questions Stage
- Web Flow Testing
We decided on the split because other than the tool itself, we are also designing the language used and the questions asked and not just the interface. Thus we wanted to test both stages separately, and also to test them together to see if the users had any problem with it.
One problem our users encountered during testing was the lack of pay off they felt using our tool. We realised that our questions were very vague and abstract, which might cause the users to expect a certain kind of more concrete pay off and expectation from the website. However, since we do not have the necessary expertise in the interpretation of answers and just pasting the answers on the users’ page would seem futile, we have decided to make the questions more direct, yet reflective at the same time. We also decided to cut down the reflective questions to 3, so that the users can think more in-depth, with more quality rather than rush through the questions because there are too many.
After we tested our web flow, some feedback received were towards re-thinking about the widget sizes and visualising the passions only by size. Others suggested that our tool should not be about what’s at the top, but about how you can explore, and how we can encourage users to pursue what they might not have avenues/opportunities for.
Thus, our design for the solution was tweaked again after feedback 🙂 To the chat bot, we also added a progress bar that fills up with each question completed, to allow users to see how far they’ve gotten into the questionnaire.
The design style was chosen for its simplicity and to cater to a younger target audience. For the passion map, we wanted a simple interface that first time users can get used to, and to be able to zoom in and out to get a wider view. We also wanted the website to look friendly, thus the use of curved edges for both designs and fonts, and the color scheme was derived from both passion-fruits and other website references. The passion map, with the various circles and its orbiting icons, helps a user to easily scan what are his/her passions and the available avenues to explore. Bigger circles represent the interests/passions that the user seems to be more interested in, which is calculated through the number of clicks on either Explore/Connect/Branch.