UCN, University College of Northern Denmark
Starting a new university programme either in your own country or abroad can be a challenge for anyone. My team had to find a solution to the issues of socializing with strangers in a newly formed university class and make it easier for students to create bonds and break the ice.
We had to find out what are students’ struggles generally, when they arrive at the first day of school and why is it hard for them to start conversations with others. We conducted interviews with local and international students with various personalities and study programmes, to hear their point-of-views.
Furthermore, we conducted an interview with the school’s counsellor, who could provide us anonymous information about what students struggle to deal with.
With our efforts, we discovered that social connections are important to students and that the different restrictions due to COVID-19 did not make it easy for them to socialize. We found that they are forced to communicate through the internet with their friends, but they would prefer to meet them face-to-face. At the same time, shy students will generally find it hard to find topics to talk about with a stranger.
Due to COVID-19, there are no college freshman parties this year..Socializing is not as easy as it used to be..Interviewee 1, 2020
It is hard for a shy person to break the ice and build new friendships. I never know what to do or say when I meet someone new.Interviewee 3, 2020
We decided to create a mobile application that the university would provide all their freshmen students before their first class, in order to provide a safe space for self expression and allow them to socialize.
The students can share everything they want on their profile, including their interests, hobbies, or personal backgrounds.
Before and after students are meeting in their university classroom, they can create groups based on common interests and set up events where they can do things together that they enjoy.
Created by one of my team mates, the visual identity of Meetr was inspired by hygge: a Danish concept of providing warmth and coziness as a method of enjoying life and company of others.
The colour palette consists of warm colors such as shades of yellow, orange and brown that stand for friendship, joy and hope.
The typography of the application includes the curvy “Pacifico” font, complemented with a thin sans serif font, the “Corbel” regular. The style of the application aims to create a friendly, playful and inviting atmosphere.
The layout and functionalities resemble modern social media applications for the purpose of providing a familiar browsing experience for the students.
The application is easy to use. A splash screen welcomes the user, then they can log in with their school credentials and see a news feed of the content the are interested in.
They can navigate to a page of planned events and even initiate social meetings in the events page by creating events and inviting people from their class to them.
A number of 5 second tests were conducted on the final product, in order to find out, what are the users’ initial thought of the design. The following short survey revealed that -according to the users – the design resembles typical social media applications and the warm colors make them feel cozy.