Identity for Information Design
What's it about
Our Problem Statement
The College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland wanted us to conduct user research through conceptual design and modeling to create a defined brand identity and messaging for a new upcoming major, Technology & Information Design.
"This program is for students that are interested or beginning to discover their interests in the intersection of design, information, and technology"
Understanding the problem
The first step towards conceptualizing an identity for the Technology and Information Design program was to study how other institutions of prominence employ design to help prospective students effectively conceive what might be suited for them: a generic undergraduate program or a specialized undergraduate program.
We conducted an in-the-wild study where we briefly asked three questions to students at various locations around the campus in order to uncover current students’ perceptions of the program as well as UX professionals, and to understand what the term “Technology and Information Design” represents for different people.
We recruited current students of iSchool for interviews, along with key stakeholders such as administrators and communications team members for their insights.
We ended up with two different affinity diagrams, one created using the notes from interviews and social media posts labeled as general affinity and the other one from the in-the-wild study labeled as perception affinity.
Perception Affinity highlights
General Affinity highlights
We created three different types of personas: two of them were based off of the interviews we conducted with students and faculty, and one was created based upon the findings from the data collected from the in-the-wild study.
Adam was termed as the “perception persona”, which represented the perceptions that people who were not affiliated with the iSchool held of a person who may want to enroll in the Information Design program. Interestingly, the two sets of personas turned out to be starkly different from one another, and we determined that an actual student pursuing this major would realistically fall somewhere between these two sets.
Through the various interviews we conducted with the current iSchool students, we determined that prospective students’ decision to enroll in a major was influenced by other people.These insights led us to employ a Relationship model, so as to explore the many ways as well as the degree to which different key people/groups of people influenced the decision of prospective students to commit to an iSchool program.
This helped us determine the most influential people for prospective students, which in turn led us to consider these people (in addition to our personas) while designing our conceptual models. We determined that in order to fully convince prospective students to commit to an iSchool program, we would also need to take measures to convey the identity of the program and market it effectively to the most influential key groups of people, which were determined through this relationship model.
1. Confusing Major Name
We found from our study that people were thrown off by the name of the program Technology and Information Design. The name led them to believe that the program had something to do with Technology and STEM, and therefore the people pursuing the course must be analytical and data driven.
2. Showcasing the major
We found that people are skeptical about selecting new majors as their first preference if they don’t understand the outcomes of the project. One of the biggest considerations is knowing what kind of work they are expected to deliver.
3. Marketing the human side of iSchool
We discovered that what the students appreciated the most about iSchool are its people. A very important part of college experience is daily life, and it was reflected very clearly during our study that students placed a very high importance on this experience.
4. Information on career and opportunities.
Students placed a major emphasis on the career opportunities a major can provide them with. There were a lot of factors that increased the influence of career opportunities in the decision making process, such as family, prestige, income, etc.
To finish this up, We came up with a set of brand guidelines and example marketing material to cater to the problems faced in marketing a new major. We also conceptualised a beautiful and radical website, as a starting point to counteract the problems we found (Core Findings).
A chatbot for students
The iSchool website could have a chatbot through which the prospective students could talk to students currently enrolled in the required major, helping the former to get information about the major from someone around their age. They could get their doubts resolved and talk to someone on a more casual level.
Recommendation system for majors
A machine learning based feature could be incorporated into the website that would ask students about their interests, personality, what they aspire to be in the future, etc which could be used to generate few major options that match the most with the data provided. This might help students discover majors that they might not even be familiar with.
Hall of Projects
A dedicated section showcasing past projects done by students could be displayed giving everyone who visits the website an insight into the work environment of the ischool and the types of projects they are expected to do in the future. Students will have a much more clear idea of what they will be learning and implementing as the coursework.
A list of courses to take as per a particular job title will help students choose electives according to what jobs they want in the future. Or, this could also help them understand what job positions they could apply to according to the courses they took.
A small book of suggested guidelines to start off the visual identity process for the Information Design Major at the College of Information Sciences.
View it here ↗︎
A lot of our work in detail is on miro↗︎ and figma↗︎. They are linked in here. Please reach out↗︎ for any more questions!
Made with ❤️ by Aritro. 2022.