Valencia Connect
Product Design for Mobile App
Duration: 15 Weeks
Project Type: IOS Mobile App, Education, Group Project
Creating a collaborative student environment through the 2020 Pandemic.

Mobile Application for Valencia Students in the Graphics Program

Looking to revolutionize communication tools and foster greater student engagement beyond the classroom, the Valencia Graphic Design program is searching for a cutting-edge solution to revamp their current system. Despite having attempted various methods in the past, the program has yet to find the ideal solution. We asked pressing questions on how to bridge the large communication gap and implement all the needs of a Valencia graphic student in one cohesive app. A group project with Hector Lopez and Juliette Remirez.

Responsibility: UX/UI Designer & UX Researcher.
This was a semester-long project where we had to provide research, art direction, provide UI design as well as a working prototype. In
the span of 3 months, a working prototype based on research was created, and a brand was established for the Valencia Connect.
Concept Development
Final Solution
What combination of products and services will increase student engagement outside of the classroom?
problem statement
define and research: interview and survey
initial problem and discovery
What problem am I trying to solve? How do we increase student engagement at Valencia? How can we centralize communication amongst Valencia Students?
initial research/ problem validation
College students specifically had trouble concentrating and had increased concerns about academic performance. With decrease in social interactions, alleviating the anxiety through a tool may create an easier way to communicate, as people were used to being online at this point, thus increasing student engagement at Valencia.
The global pandemic caused overall decrease in mental health, which impacted college students all over the world.
reported negative impacts from the pandemic
decrease in social interactions from social distancing
research and explanation
user surveys
UX Research Method 01:
We investigated what current Valencia graphic students were currently using to communicate and feeling about how involved they are with the Valencia graphics program to address the engagement problem.
current tools used
  • Talking Tom
  • Spotify
  • Google
  • Youtube
  • GPS tracker
  • National Alzheimer Association Website; does not feel connected to Alzheimer community
resources limited
  • Mainly family members were caretakers
  • If not, facility workers
Would more likely to participate in workshops through notifications
Uses social media to engage in events and feel connected
NEVER check Valencia Graphics Facebook group OR Slack
From the accumulation of survey and key points from above, there is a disconnect with the forms of communication Valencia Graphics program is currently using.

So we asked WHY.
UX Research Method 02:
As a current Valencia design student myself, I too was affected by the pandemic from doing virtual learning. I investigated how another colleague felt to address the current student engagement problem through an interview. Jahdai Torres, a print and interactive student in the Valencia graphics program found that she was forced to look at her mental health more closely during the pandemic, even learning that she had ADHD since she struggled more keeping up with classes from home. I gained deep insight from another peer who was also dealing with disconnectedness at Valencia college, discovering how the design could potentially fit the typical Valencia graphics student and what to ask via interview. As a result I could figure out how our design could fit all the students needs in one.
discovered what questions to ask other students:
  • what would help you feel more engaged with the Valencia graphics program?
  • do you feel connected with other peers and teachers in the program? why or why not?
  • what kind of communication tools would help you succeed in your future design career?
After transcribing all of the interview notes we decided to create an empathy map to find consistencies between the student’s pain points.
empathy map
pulled from empathy map
Students value peer review, but feel like online peer reviews lack the natural conversation that develops during in-person critique. They highlight the difficulty of finding the right words when giving feedback.
Students express frustration with the multiple communication channels used by their school, and would prefer a centralized location for information and event notifications.
Students are experiencing anxiety and uncertainty due to the pandemic, and that online classes can make it difficult to feel connected to their peers and school.
Need for feedback and communication
Need for clarity organization and communication
Need for engagement and support shown from need to distraction and escape using social media platforms
culmination of research:
user persona
  • Frustrations, feels like there are too many tools to keep up with (Slack, Blog, Facebook Group), doesn’t know what type of projects to expect for future classes as student, has no idea what is going on social wise between the students, not confident about networking after graduating
  • Goals, to have a tool that helps cut down unnecessary time and effort, email reminders relating to graphic events, build network with other students and alumni
25 Years, IT Customer Care
Sashe Buford
What is the overall need for Sashe based on our research?
Her and other students need more streamlined, user-friendly, and reliable communication channels, clear and consistent information, and a supportive community to help them navigate the challenges of online learning.
the discovery
competitive analysis
To create a successful mobile application for online learning, it's important to focus on student’s experience, clear communication, and community support. The competitive analysis identifies industry trends and best practices. We identified our unique value proposition and differentiate ourselves from competitors by specifying a Valencia graphic student’s needs. By understanding what works well and what doesn't, we can design a more effective and user-friendly application.
solution approach
Pulling from the insights and needs, we filled those needs by approaching with how we can find solutions through design.
Where can I address problem spaces within the designs?
opportunity spaces
They are frustrated by having to navigate multiple platforms and websites to find what they need. They want a streamlined approach to accessing important information, such as graduation requirements and program roadmaps.
Create a link and section for resources and connecting with alumni
problem space 1: Students want clear and centralized information about their programs and assignments.
They want a safe space to discuss their work and receive constructive criticism from their peers and professors. Students want to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feedback, even if it means being critical of their peers' work.
An “artchive area” where students can upload, gain kudos and receive feedback from professors and peers
problem space 2: Online peer review can be challenging for some students who prefer in-person conversations and feedback.
They want to make friends and build networks that can support them academically and professionally. However, it can be challenging to build connections and maintain relationships in online classes, so students may need more opportunities for social interaction and engagement.
A hub for events and connecting with other valencia students create an event part of the application that will notify students, professors and alumni about event statuses, attend to valencia graphic events for networking and socialize with other students.
problem space 3: Students value connections and community, especially during the pandemic.
concept development
Our team created a chart to organize our must have features, limitations, and how it aligns to our goals to increase Valencia student engagement in the graphics program. The result? The MVP (minimum viable product ) for a strong foundation to build upon, future refinement for feedback, reduce the risk of failure by testing your product idea in the market and making sure there is enough demand for it before investing further in development.
user journey
Now that we have a focus, user flows were created. Our usability testing would focus on these scenarios.
concept development


Events to spread awareness about Valencia events and connect with other students.
A landing page to have all your resources regarding the design program all in one. Also social stories from other valencia students to connect with.
A personalized profile to add a social aspect to the app, create a sense of individualism and gamification to be rewarded for increased interactions on the app.
At “Art-chive” of design work to have organized way to receive feedback and the type of work you may do in future classes.
These are the main wireframes that streamlines communication regarding the valencia graphics program, connect with other students, find out about events, and gain critical feedback from other student peers.
final solution
Valencia Connect is a mobile application that allows valencia students to gain perspective on future classes, gain feedback through portfolio critique, socialize, and connect to their other applications they already use for school. the goal is to invite graphic students to a collaborative social environment.
All Design Student Resource in One Place
All important links for a graphics are on the homepage while communication with other students and professors are in the same application This simplified the multiple streams of communication.
Upload your Design work to get feedback
Design work can be critiqued by professors, students and alumni.
Sign up for Valencia Graphic Events
Valencia students can navigate through different types of events going on and find out more information about whats going on.


love for research
At a time when uncertainty and social interactions were low for me in the program- I was able to connect with UX research on a much deeper level through personal connection to this project.
if i had more time.....
I would have added more user flows and expanded other features, especially adding the Valencia flow chart. A personal pain point for me.
let's work
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