Event Application - Culture Shock
Culture Shock is an event-listing application that promotes cultural integration by providing opportunities for students across Canada to experience and learn about other cultures in a novel way. This app removes all non-logistical event information from display. In this way, the user’s decision to attend the event is based on factors that are important to them, for example, friend recommendation and free food. Students will no longer feel discouraged to attend events outside their culture and instead turn their “culture shock” into an explorative and exciting experience.
As the UX designer in the multi-disciplinary team, I worked collaboratively with marketing team, development team and product manager to create Culture Shock. I conducted extensive research into the university student community in the form of surveys, focus groups, and interviews. According to the research results, personas and user journey map were created to display the main opportunities. After we defined our main features, I created user flow and wireframes. And then I designed user interfaces and interactive prototype for usability test. In the end, I participated in the product marketing plan and pitched our product to the industry professionals.
- Online Survey
The first set of questions on the survey asked students general questions about their event preferences. When asked what makes them want to attend an event, 31% of respondents cited friend recommendations while 29% pointed to free food and other incentives. The next set of questions asked about openness to other cultures. The majority (52%) of respondents indicated that they would be “somewhat interested” in attending.
This survey provided the team with a starting point for the development of the focus group questions.
- Focus Group
Five focus groups were conducted with University of Waterloo students. Each focus group lasted for approximately 45 minutes. It was gathered that a majority of students were open to experiencing and learning about the cultures around them.
Among the social barriers, students expressed that “feeling like an outsider” and “not wanting to offend other cultures” prevented them from making connections with other cultures. Students agreed that their main source of cultural integration is their immediate social circle and that they are more likely to attend an event if their friends are also attending.
- Online Interviews
We conducted online interviews with cultural event organizers. All respondents noted that the primary mission of their organization was to not only support students from their own culture, but also to engage the community and educate others about their culture.
Here are a few quotations taken from the interviews:
“Many people don't think they can attend an event if they are not Aboriginal or feel like they aren't 'Aboriginal enough'.”
“It's difficult to market cultural events without seeming too....exclusive”
From the research, we began to develop the idea of “Culture Shock”. By “shocking” students in a playful manner (revealing the culture only once the student attends), they can learn about other cultures and make new connections in a fun and non-intrusive way.
Ariel is a first-year international student at University of Waterloo. This is her very first time to go abroad, she is both excited and nervous. She has been here for only three months, she is attracted by all the new things around her. She is trying to enjoy college life as well as embrace Canadian culture together.
Jesse is a native Canadian who works at a technology company in downtown Toronto. He really enjoys the benefit of multi-culture society where he can easily have various food from all over the world. At work, he works with colleagues from different backgrounds but he finds it is challenging to make friends with people from other cultures.
3. Product Concept
The brainstorm process began with the discussion of constraints, requirements and features of the product. This lead to the product vision as an event-listing app that promotes cultural integration by providing opportunities for students across Canada to experience and learn about other cultures in a novel way.
4. User Flow
Designing for the user experience began from sketching out a typical user journey based on the accomplishment of specific tasks within the app. Once the user journey had been established, the team began to unpack the design flow for general and specific use cases.
5. Sketch & Wireframe
Based on the main features and task flow of our platform, we created sketches of our main pages and designed initial wireframes.
6. Logo & Branding
We conducted user interviews to gather opinions from the end users and find out the most popular and user-friendly visual design. We iterated the logo, colour and style and started to design user interface.
Culture shock is an event-listing app that promotes cultural integration by providing opportunities for students across Canada to experience and learn about other cultures in a novel way. The app removes all non-logistical event information from display. In this way, the user’s decision to attend the event is based on factors that are important to them, like friends and free food. Students will no longer feel discouraged to attend events outside their culture and instead turn their “culture shock” into an explorative and exciting experience.
1. Different Types of Account
Within culture shock, there are two types of user account: (1) Regular account for students (2) Host account for event organizers. In addition to the regular functions, the host account can create and promote events on behalf of an organization. Additionally, the regular user can easily upgrade the account.
2. Find Cultural Events
Users can easily browse the event list through our home page. Based on our user research, we provide different categories to sort the event, including popular, nearby and upcoming events. The most important component is that users can check whether their Facebook friends are also attending the event. We also provide users with different filters to browse events, such as free food, occasions, price and duration.
3. Get Hints
Hints are one of the unique features of Culture Shock. Since the users do not know the full details of an event prior to attending, they are given a series of hints in the form of fun quizzes for example, a puzzle of event picture and multiple choice of event details. This gives users a little more information while also facilitating engagement.
Users are given the first hint prior to choosing to attend. After users make the decision of attending the event, the remainder of hints will be sent to users as notifications over a specific timeline so that they can unveil further details of the event gradually before attending.
4. Point System
The point system can effectively increase engagement and retain users on our platform. There are multiple ways of earning points: 1. Download the app; 2. Answer the quiz correctly; 3. Share on social media; 4. Check-in at an event; 5. Invite friends. Users can exchange their points for prizes, discounts or coupons for local establishments both online and offline.
1. Preliminary Go to Market Strategy
The marketing strategy for Culture Shock has been split into 3 phases: the pre-launch, launch and the post-launch. As the primary target audience will be the university students, the marketing strategy has been adapted for this demographic to reach students through channels preferred by them.
2. Marketing Channels
Since Culture Shock targets University students, social media is the key channel to increase user engagement. According to a survey by the Interactive advertising Bureau of Canada, every student logs on to social media at least twice a day, and nearly 40% of them do so several times per hour. A common user is also using 6.8 social networks on average.
The monetization strategy will be carried out in two phases. The first phase launches during the pilot run in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. At this phase, the goal is to prove the concept and ascertain the most effective business strategy to undertake in phase two. After careful consideration of several business models, lead generation will be the most lucrative business model to follow in phase two.
As a final evaluation we pitched our product to some industry professionals. They gave us valuable feedbacks and insights which were highly valuable for our team, and provided us suggestions to communicate our concepts to investors. Although we didn't launch the product at the end, all of the things I learned, ideas generated, and moments shared are there to be drawn upon in the next stages of work and life.