Findings from user interviews, market research and customer journey mapping
This experience is a multi-sided platform with both experienced and new students as its
users. However the demographic of the users is all similar as they are all students attending
the same university (in this case the University of Waterloo).
In order to ensure that the experience is well-fitted for the audience it is serving, it is essential
to conduct research not only about the demographics of the user-base, but finding out their
current pain points
Demographics of students at the University of Waterloo
- 41, 000 students at the University of Waterloo
- 40% of students are international
- 70% of students are enrolled in the co-op program
- 19% of disabled students
- Students typically aged between 18-24 years old
Pain Points that new students at the University of Waterloo Face when it comes to adjusting
to campus life
In order to learn more about the specific pain points that students at the University of
Waterloo experienced when they first came to the university, I conducted interviews outside
the university library. By talking to over 40 students I came to the conclusion that the following
3 are the main pain points that students experienced in integrating on campus.
of students found that they
didn't have a support system
to answer their basic
questions when they first
came to university
of students wish they got to talk
upper-year students in order to
make their transition into first-year
smoother and have advice that
they would give to first-years
of international students
found that they didn't have
enough support in their
There are currently three main resources available to new students entering university who
are in need of a mentor. The UWaterloo Mentorship Program
and New Student Faculty Advisor
are both specific to the University of Waterloo, however most universities have very similar
programs. Mentor Loop
is an online platform which matches mentors to mentees.
The UWaterloo Mentorship Program
a program in which prospective students are matched
with an upper year students so that they can ask them questions and learn more about their
course. As can be seen from the table above, this program does build a community and ease
students transition into university, however it is not very accessible to all students. Communication
is predominantly in English and there is no set platform to communicate.
The New Student Faculty Advisor
a mentor who is currently a faculty member at the university.
This does not build a community is communication is solely with this faculty member, however their
support does ease the transition into starting university. Unfortunately this platform is not very
accessible, and students can only book an appointment meet their advisors in person in order to
get their questions answered.
Lastly, Mentor Loop
an online platform which matches mentors and mentees based on their
stage in life and interests. This platform is not only confined to university students, but anyone
who is interested in becoming a mentor or mentee. Although it is accessible, it does not help
students ease their transition specifically into the University of Waterloo, and is more helpful in
Therefore, it is evident that the current options available to students do not meet their need of
transitioning into the University of Waterloo in a way that builds their community and is accessible
to them. Hence, according to the user pain points and competitor analysis, there is a need for an
experience that connects mentors and mentees at the university.
Customer Journey Mapping
Takeaways, Constraints and Tradeoffs
Based off of the user interviews and the customer mapping journey, it is evident that one of the worst
parts of their journey, and one of their biggest pain points is that all the current options available
for support are not personalized. Students feel that the solutions are generic and cannot solve their
personal problems. I used this pain point as an opportunity for the application to stand out.
The app would also help students between the 'identify' and 'explore' sections because with this app
and the support that comes with it, they wouldn't find it so difficult to make decisions.
I would have liked to do more customer journey maps for students with different backgrounds. For example,
it would be interesting to see how the struggles of international students differ from local students.
Furthermore, I would also like to explore more about having different language options for different students
within the app. However, due to time constraints these are tradeoffs that I made but would love to explore at
a later stage.