TutorQueue

Human-Centered Design Project
Overview
Computer Science and Engineering students at the University of California Davis constantly face the need for additional support and tutoring for Computer Science Course. While there is a dedicated tutoring center for Computer Science courses, it's poor organization and primitive queuing system has caused even more stress and frustrations with students.

With TutorQueue, students are provided a reliable and intuitive digital queueing system for tutees and tutors in the UC Davis Computer Science tutoring center.
Project Overview

Roles:

UX Research, UI/UX Design

Tools:

Adobe XD

Time:

10 Weeks

The Challenge
Computer Science courses are often project-oriented and many students come to the tutoring center to seek help. The current queuing system that exists at this tutoring center is a whiteboard where students write their name and wait for a tutor to find them. This system has caused a lot of confusion and frustration for both tutors and tutees alike.
Our Solution
My team and I wanted to create a more efficient way of ensuring that students get the help they needed in a timely manner. Using the design thinking process as a guideline for our project , we designed a digital queuing system, TutorQueue, that matches tutees to the corresponding tutors in an organized manner.

Design Process

For this project, we followed the Stanford Design Process which followed the non-linear steps of Empathizing, Defining, Ideating, Prototyping, and Testing.

Empathizing With Users

Our whole group was composed of students that have taken computer science courses before so we were all familiar with the current system that the tutoring center had in place. We also conducted interviews with both tutors and tutees at the center to get a better understanding of how each of them interact with the current system and how they feel about it.

Context & On-Site Analysis

The Computer Science tutoring center is a single room filled with desktop computers and desk space for students. All tutors are undergraduate volunteers from the Computer Science Club on campus, and anybody can come in as a tutee as all appointments are walk-in only.

Tutors would write their name in the "Tutor" column anywhere when they are at the center, and tutees write their name and course in the column at its left.

Research Synthesis

- Tutors and tutees reported a lack of organization and protocol with the white board queuing system

- Many people didn’t even use the queuing system as they would just approach tutors directly

- Tutors are often left flustered and disorganized with who to help next, and tutees are left unhelped or ignored

- Tutors admitted that they’ve forgotten to erase their own names on the board and choose tutees at random when they don’t know who is next

- Tutors are often left flustered and disorganized with who to help next, and tutees are left unhelped or ignored

Defining the Problem

From the observations and data we collected, we transitioned from empathizing with users to defining the problem statement. To help us organize what we’ve collected so far, we made a persona for the tutor and tutee users first to better direct pain points. From this, we addressed the overall problem:

How might we replace the existing queueing system by implementing a protocol so more students can receive the help they need from tutors in a timely manner?

Ideating Solutions

In brainstorming solutions for our prototype, we wanted to create an organized system that:

- Keeps accountability and order so that there is no confusion on who is next to tutor or be tutored

- Is intuitive and quick for tutees to check-in and receive help

- Is implemented via a dedicated computer at the entrance of the tutoring center

Prototyping

Low-Fidelity

We created our first low-fidelity prototype using digital sketches on my iPad device, sketching each screen that we would have users interact with and see. We made sketches of common interactions that users would have with the web application including checking in for the first time, changing or removing themselves from the queue, and tutors interacting with the queue to know who to help.

User Testing

After making our first prototype, we performed user testing with two Computer Science students. We tested by simulating interface interactions with manual screen changes performed by our team based on what users would “press” on the screen. We asked them to perform the set of common tasks without any suggestions and evaluated their decisions by asking them to “think out loud” when navigating the interface.

Revised Low-Fidelity Prototype

From the first round of testing, we discovered some systematic flaws in our organization of the queue, so we created a second draft of our low-fidelity prototype to reflect those fixes for the second round of testing.

High-Fidelity

Joining Queue as Tutee
Edit Queue as Tutee
Leave Queue as Tutee
Edit Queue as Tutee
Daily Timeline View
Grand Queue Display

We then turned to Adobe XD to create our high fidelity prototype of TutorQueue. Unfortunately we did not have the time to perform user testing following this stage, but we finally composed a final report of our project which can be accessed here

Challenges & Reflections

Challenges

This Human-Computer Interaction course was offered mainly to Computer Science students so this was my group’s first experience working through the design process and user-oriented design. Nonetheless, this project was the perfect introduction to learning this type of thinking and perspective as our project had real world applications to it.

Reflection

This course set the foundation for design thinking for me and showed me that design is so much more than just aesthetic. This course introduced me to the idea of design being used as a form of problem solving and creating a desired experience for a user that is more than just “good”. Although the project group and I have since gone our separate ways, this is a project that I hope to revisit as this can be something that can be definitely implemented in our Computer Science tutoring center.