Creating Belong was simultaneously fun, interesting, and challenging. We planned from the start to design for a user group that we cared about and found meaningful, so ultimately, we feel proud with what we have built.
One of our biggest challenges was deciding on an idea for the project. Our user group is incredibly large and diverse, with many unique pain points. The design requirements part of the project was especially difficult for us, as we did the assignment without having a clear idea about the direction we wanted to go with the app. By the time we got to the information architecture portion of the project, however, we had spent hours discussing and finally felt like we knew what we were doing. We learned that, in order to be successful, every step of the project would require a lot of thought and effort.
While creating the app, one of our biggest fears was that a social media or messaging app would create digital silos for international students and discourage them from interacting with other students. We addressed the problem by not making any part of the app specific to international students and marketing the app towards all students, but if we had more time, we would want to design the app in a way where we were certain that it would bring students together.
Belong was the most intensive team project any of our team members have done so far in college. As a result, each of us learned a lot about teamwork. At the beginning of the quarter, it was easy for each of us to speak to the importance of communication and organization. However, with significant time pressure, it was often difficult for us to properly communicate and make long team meetings on top of our already busy lives and schedules. Despite this, we made it a priority to talk about problems that we had and discuss ways we could improve after each project. By the end of the project, we felt very confident and comfortable in each other and our ability to work as a team.