After user research, we made personas to consolidate all of our interview subjects’ different experiences into shared pain points that we could design for. Our purpose was to gain a better understanding of our users and foster empathy for them throughout our design process.
We first divided insights from our interviews into common pain points, desires, influences, and goals. From there, we developed two personas based on what was most commonly observed across our interview subjects. Our interview subjects were mostly either international students or older immigrants, so we decided to create our personas belonging to these two groups. We were cautious to avoid making assumptions or stereotyping in our personas.
After initially deciding that our user group would be people new to the United States, our first step was to conduct user research. We did our user research through conducting semi-structured interviews. Each group member interviewed three people that had recently moved to the United States. We asked questions about difficulties they had faced when moving here, as well as experiences they had that made the process easier for them. Our purpose was to obtain a deeper insight into pain points that were common throughout the process of acclimating to a new country.
Our team decided to attend a culture conversation group, which was a Foundation for International Understanding Through Students event. We wanted to attend this event to learn more and gain a deeper understanding about common pain points that our user group might experience. It was a small group of several international graduate and undergraduate students, who spoke about their experiences with stress. For example, academic stress was very common for the group members, who spoke about how it was often much more difficult to get internships because they weren’t citizens of the United States. We felt that this contextual inquiry and observation would help us learn more about common issues and pain points for international students.
User Journey Map
We created a user journey map based on one of our personas, Jericha Kaur, to obtain a deeper insight into the lives of our user group.
We wanted to understand the pain points and experiences an international student might experience in an average day, so we decided to use a circular design to show the cyclical nature of our persona’s daily events and emotions. We also used a color gradient to represent high levels of emotion like stress and excitement and low levels of emotion like feeling calm or neutral. These feelings are labeled to reflect how Jericha actually feels during specific events.
Although we wanted to base our user journey maps off of research as much as possible, we made some assumptions about Jericha’s thoughts and emotions due to the time constraints.