"Do you have an idea? Pitch it. Collaborate. Sharpen your skills!"

Team
Product Manager: Amy Wilson
User Experience/ Visual Designers: Kaylee Schwitzer,
Julia Christian, Kristian Dela Cruz, Meg Burke
Full-Stack Developer: Sean Large
Front-End Web Developer: Kaitlynn Hendricks 


Problem
GA current students and Alumni:
• Have gained new skills but do not have avenues to use them
• Want to stay current on emerging trends
• Loss of connection with GA community
• Not able to build their portfolio

Our Solution
• GA students and alumni build upon their skills and connect back to the global GA community
• Continue to hone skills and collaborate with GA students and Alumni
• Build portfolio pieces to showcase their skills


Brainstorming
With only 13 hours to complete the product we broke down responsibilities. With the focus on compiling the MVP for the presentation— we wanted to make sure that every step was visited and deliberated. My task was to contribute to the UX/Visual responsibilities— simplicity, user research, information architecture, content strategy, user personas, visual consistency.   


Competitive Analysis
General Assembly Beta Site
• Mostly a job and project posting board
• Relied on heavy GA moderation
• No quality assurance or ownership
• Floating Excel sheet that had no focus

Open IDEO
• Participants are at varying levels of knowledge and commitment
• Does not have a unifying community
• Sponsorship is a plus
• Able to see the process through different phases 


User Research
open GA is a product that will be built from the ground up. For our user research, we sent out a survey that targeted General Assembly students. By working with a team of current GA students and Alumni, we had an opportunity to deliberate and expand our current knowledge and future goals.  


Personas
Type 1 | Participants
Pains: Trends vs legacy, doing is greater then talking, boiling the ocean
Goals: Powerful relationships, portfolio boost, unceasing
Habits: Life— long learning, ideating, balancing work and play

Type 2 | Spectators
Pains: Pipe dreams, scams, money > meaning
Goals: Connecting with talented folks, becoming a talented spectator, create and establish with talented individuals
Habits: searching for purpose, establishing communities 

Type 3 | Students
Pains: Not enough projects, lack of avenues to apply skills, lack of opportunities for
structured collaboration.
Goals: Build portfolio, meaningful employment, no pressure for future opportunities.
Habits: Learning new methodology, satisfying end purpose, maintaining personal and
professional relationships. 


User Flows
The entire team collaborated to develop a user flow process similar to open IDEO. Meg Burke took the lead while we discussed and decided on which components were necessary for a great experience. Although this was our first phase on the user flow, we wanted to create a journey that would take the student to different levels of collaboration, iteration, and feedback.


Wireframing
To keep the General Assembly brand the team wanted to stay consistent and created wireframes similar to the GA website. With time running out we proceeded to utilize the wireframes as our framework for high fidelity mockups.  


Visual Mockups | Version 1
As we were 4 hours away from the end of the event, we had to shift gears and create visual mockups to present. My responsibilities switched from UX Designer to Visual designer and I utilized my skills to quickly mockup the wireframes. By using Photoshop, I was able to take images around the event and use images from the General Assembly website to create consistency. 


Interactive Prototype
By using InVision we had a simple user flow that we presented for the judges. Although this was not the final prototype it was a foundation for the team to use for future installments. We want to move forward and complete usability testing to make sure all the touch points are clear for the users. 


Results
With the team of 7, we were able to create an excellent foundation for a natural product. We have created a business canvas to supplement the overall goals of the product. This was an excellent opportunity to explore different avenues for the product and potentially adapt this product for the overall General Assembly business. We got 2nd place by 1 point— and have the chance to continue the project and the approval of General Assembly on absorbing the idea. As this is the first phase of the project, more results will come in the following months. 


Visual Mockups | Version 2
After the Hackathon, the team was approached to continue the project. We gathered all the design, and user research we compiled and created another iteration of the mockups that catered more to the brand of openGA, but also staying consistent with the General Assembly brand. 

Challenge
As any Startup keeping the core team was important. As time progressed, the idea of openGA began to morph into other products. With several iterations, the team started to lose focus and eventually slowed down. The product is still in business development awaiting further direction from the Product Manager on how we should proceed.