TU Dublin GrangeMobile

The Idea

With the transition of DIT, ITT and ITB to TU Dublin, Ireland’s first technological university, and with the relocation of all students to new campus Grangegorman in the near future, it was imperative to prepare them all for this change. TU Dublin GrangeMobile App helps with this changeover by providing students with all the information needed.  It’s the go to platform for details on their new campus facilities, course and module information, latest news and events, as well as with the capabilities to easily contact their lecturers, student services and student union and so on.

My Role

UI/UX Designer
Software Developer
QA Tester

My Tools

Bootstrap
HTML5
CSS3
Adobe CC
jQuery
PHP

Development

This was developed though my module Social Media Applications, were I studied Mobile App Design, APIs, Client/Server Connectivity among other related topics. The web app is developed using HTML5, jQuery and Bootstrap that will work with JSON data providing information on locations, lecturers, students and modules.

User Needs Analysis

This was not required as part of the project, but I wanted to follow the process as close as possible for UX app development. Due to this I carried out a small focus group, followed by a survey questionnaire to a larger group to understand what the user needs are for a TU Dublin mobile app. The survey questions were based on the feedback I received from the focus group, this was to ensure I was asking the right, relevant questions to find what features are most important to a wider audience.

If I had more time I would’ve researched other types of users, such as mature and foreign students, along with getting inputs from staff members such as lecturers, SU council etc. The main aims and objectives, and the time frame of this project didn’t allow for this, so I had to narrow the focus. I developed two user personas that represent major groups based on my research.

Background Research

I looked at several other college application from different colleges around the world, and most importantly in Ireland. This showed me how some of the issues highlighted from the user needs analysis were addressed, so I could either replicate, or improve upon for GrangeMobile.

During this time I also looked at popular apps that my user needs analysis highlighted as used frequently by students. These apps would influence my design and layout, so to be familiar to these users to make the application intuitive and easy to use for students.

I didn’t have to do any research on what technologies to use that would be best suited to achieving my goals, as these were selected for me in the brief I was given.

Treatment And Solution

I first developed a sitemap, to help visualise the structure for GrangeMobile. The structure was influenced by my user personas, to ensure for the best user experience was achieved. This also helped me identify where content will sit, and the relationship between the main and sub pages.

Moving on to the software development of the project was made relatively easy due to Bootstrap. As the backbone of the application, it made design progress at a fast pace, I tried my best to add custom CSS to modify the style to look as similar to a native iOS application to prepare me for my main project Random Restaurant that would begin development in the coming months.

I spent most of my time focusing on the integrating the APIs, and PHP JSON data for information on modules and lecturers. This proved challenging at first, but once it ‘clicked’ I was able to progress through the work at a faster rate, which allowed me to perform more rounds of user testing.

Final Thoughts

Overall very happy with the final product, there was a lot accomplished within the 6 weeks from receiving the brief to submitting the finished web app. As this was developed more as a proof of concept, which meant not requiring all features to be fully developed, it was freeing to not be limited by my technical skill. That’s not to say this wasn’t technically challenging, as the integration of Google Maps and Twitter API, together with how to exchange JSON data between the client and a PHP server to retrieve lecturer and module data proved challenging at the beginning, which I was glad I overcame.

I look forward to when/if an official TU Dublin GrangeMobile application is released to compare to my work.

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