By Chloe Minieri, University of Michigan
In my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, I took an entrepreneurial design course titled ENTR 390: Special Topics in Entrepreneurship – Digital Product Design. In this course, I invented my own application based on a significant problem that I noticed college students are facing: finding internships is difficult. You have to browse through a variety of different websites and platforms — such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and many more — which creates a confusing and messy situation where students feel like they are all over the place.
As a college student I was all too familiar with the stress and difficulty of finding an internship. Because of this, I wanted to create Swintern as a solution. The name “Swintern” is a combination of the words “swiftness” and “intern”. Swiftness is defined as “the quality of moving at high speed”; this references how using this app should make the process of finding an internship fast and effective (when it is normally a lengthy and stressful process that students dread). I utilized a timeline of 6 weeks to create a prototype with Invision, Adobe Illustrator, Indesign, and Pivotal Tracker.
The problem statement that I referenced throughout the process of developing the prototype is as follows: College students want an easy-to-use and informal platform to find internships in order to reduce the stress and difficulty of searching for internships.
In order to begin conceptualizing the application, I defined key features to prioritize throughout the design process:
- Looking through internships: The user is provided with different internships one at a time on the screen. The user clicks the heart to keep the internship in his/her “My Likes” section, or the “X” to remove the internship from his/her feed.
- Viewing “My Likes”: This screen provides a display of every “hearted” internship. The user can click on each internship for further details, along with links that redirect the user to specific websites in order to apply to the job posting.
- Editing your profile: The profile section contains questions that the user must answer. This acts as a tool for customization considering what internships are displayed for the user on the swiping page.
After creating low-fidelity sketches and wireframes, the most influential portion of the project began. I conducted usability tests where I was able to witness what aspects of the design were confusing for users. My goal was to make the navigation within the application intuitive. I did not want users to have to guess what to do next, I needed it to be natural.
Below are examples of feedback that I used to alter the design:
- The font size of the Profile page is too small. Reorganize the page for further clarification.
- Instead of having a list of websites where the user could apply to a specific internship that they find, turn the list into links. “I want to be able to click right to the internship.”
With Swintern, I created a platform where college students can easily find internships. The feedback process mentioned above included multiple iterations and usability tests in order to address the influential feedback that I was receiving. Once users were no longer confused about navigability and moving through the application was natural/instinctive, I created the final high-fidelity interactive prototype.
User feedback on the final solution:
- Swintern created an easy way to find internships that align with users’ interests.
- The design is simplistic and easy to navigate.
- Swintern targets the problem of finding internships specifically for college students.
Although the prototype is completed, I am still pondering next steps for the application. One possible idea that I am considering is allowing the interface to also benefit an intended audience of employers/companies. This would function similar to the Uber application, where a user can sign up as a driver or rider. In this case, the company would sign up and have an account where they receive a list of users who added them to their “My Likes” section. Then they can sift through the applicants and contact whoever peaks their interest.
Inventing this application and developing the prototype showed me just how detailed and user-oriented interaction design truly is. I loved being able to focus on a need I have been witnessing (difficulty of internship searching) and create a possible solution.