Empowering Sheridan's community to make positive change.

Upkeep

Design Prompt

"Your school wants to improve the upkeep of campus facilities by creating a new system for reporting any facilities that may need maintenance or repair. Design an experience that allows students to report building or equipment issues on campus. Consider the process of those filing the report and those receiving and taking action on the issue."

Research

I began by brainstorming in my notebook to collect all of my thoughts related to the design exercise.  I started looking into examples of ways people report issues such as sending feedback on Google Chrome or reporting bugs on Github Repositories. I wanted to investigate why people would take the time to provide feedback.

  

 

General Survey

If I wanted to find out what encourages people to provide feedback, I needed to gather feedback myself. I composed a general survey for students around the campus to gain a better idea of Sheridan’s current standing in regards to reporting issues. I aimed to actively seek different opinions so I presented this survey to students in Sheridan's Learning Commons, an area that hosts students from all programs.  

Of the 10 students who were surveyed:

90%

Have encountered a building or equipment related issue

40%

Reported the issue and are likely to report again. 

My findings from the survey indicated that there is a clear lack of issues reported versus how many issues are noticed. 

Understanding the Problem

The survey helped me understand that, like myself, other students don't report many of the school issues that they come across on campus. Moving forward I decided to focus on two main potential directions that would help define the problem:

  • The Motivators

                Why aren't students reporting on the                                 issues that they find?

  

 

  • The Process                                 How do reports get filed and what are            the following steps from there?

  

 

User Research

I conducted several interviews on campus to uncover a more personal sense of the desires, frustrations and experiences on reporting school related issues. What began with various first year and experienced students interviews progressed to professors, who also have experience with filing and receiving reports.

“I usually just go tell security when I see anything wrong”

 

“I was going to report the broken door but honestly I forgot about it.”

“I saw shattered glass but figured they already knew. ”

- Alina
- Sieron
- Kai

I found that students have multiple underlying deterrents that are due to no clear way of reporting issues.  Now that I had established some of the motivations  I wanted to gain insight for the process of actually filing them.

How are issues currently reported?

I searched the campus for facility maintenance members to understand the steps that follow receiving a report. While learning about the overview of the repair and maintenance process, I discovered some pain points that further slowed things down.

“We used to have report forms to fill out, those haven’t been used in 25 years.”

- Mac

 

“There was a report of a flood in G-Wing that was actually just spilled water.”

- Peter

“There was a report of an issue for the men’s washroom in B-Wing... there’s 4 floors in B-Wing with a washroom on each floor.”

- Mac
Chatting with Mac and Peter of Sheridan's Facility Maintenance
Current flow for submitting issues

Structural Concerns

  • Students are unfamiliar with the process of reporting issues and often relay information exclusively to professors or Security Services who then forward it to the FM Desk.

  • This reveals a redundancy in the current chain of action, ultimately prolonging the time it takes for things to get fixed

  • No set guidelines for submitting issues (reports lack images and often misguide staff)

Solving the Problem

There isn't a clear or streamlined way for students to raise awareness for school related issues that they encounter.

 

Additionally, maintenance staff aren't given the information they need to quickly assess and resolve issues. 

How might I...

Create a holistic impact for maintaining the quality of life at Sheridan?

Students

  1. Establish a comprehensive process for students to submit reports.

  2. Provide ways for any student to provide necessary and additional information relating to the issue.

  3. Encourage user retention through gamified progression and rewards.

  4. Satisfy student’s efforts to help by providing updates to issues that they’ve reported.

Facility Services

  1. Streamline the reporting process by eliminating unnecessary middlemen.

  2. Integrate scheduling, communication and organizational tools for facility service faculty.

Secondary Research

How can students get encouraged to report?

Speaking to Taylor of Sheridan's Facility Services

I met with the Facility Services management team to strengthen my knowledge of the repair and maintenance process. We discussed the frustrations they endure with their current ticketing and task tracking API, MainBoss. We also considered ways to encourage student involvement, such as a monetary incentive

Sheridan's Onecard is a multipurpose identification, access and payment card for students and staff. The school  currently offers an increase on student balances for completing surveys. I considered how I could integrate a similar feature into my design. 

Sheridan's paid survey

Competitive Analysis

My findings gave me a fairly clear understanding of why students do or don't submit reports and what the process of reporting entails. I now wanted to conduct some research for products  that tackled similar issues and list the pros and cons of each.  

Pros

  • Reporting issues for localized areas

  • Easy to digest information

  • Established presence 

Cons

  • Inactive user-base 

  • Many issue requests are left neglected

Pros

Pros

  • Agile tools for tracking progress on issues

  • Easy to use

  • Established presence 

  • Already implemented within Sheridan

  • Work order management 

  • Maintenance Scheduling

Cons

Cons

  • Reports require lots of time to fill out

  • Too many tools lead to mistakes.

  • Hard to digest information 

  • Unfriendly user inteface

Sketches and Prototyping

I began designing ways that I could satisfy the needs of the users. After establishing some user flows for the concept, I began to synthesize wireframe iterations for how the app would manifest itself.

This included visualization of the initial registration journey and overall life cycle of a report while iterating on it to flesh out the app's features.

Tracking the Report
Initial Journey
Feature  Exploration
Paper Prototyping

The flow of the concept was making sense thus far so I moved to Figma to establish a low-fidelity prototype. The focus of this stage was on mapping the concept with feature navigation and how information was presented.  This would prepare me for the high-fidelity mockups. 

I also created a concept for the Facility Service's web app equivalent. 

Creating the Solution

A walkthrough of Upkeep and it's features

User Onboarding

A call to action is displayed when opening the app for the first time. It was vital that the landing page offered the user a sense of value delivered through the experience.  

Registering is done solely through Sheridan's Onecard.  Entering the number on the Onecard will identify the user, indicate their attending campus and determine the role they have within Sheridan's ecosystem be it student,  faculty or maintenance staff. 

Users are then welcomed into the app with the help of a few screens meant to  guide the user's expectations,  making that initial journey a smooth process. 

See. Snap. Send. - Student

Students lead busy lives and that needed to be considered when designing the main mechanic of Upkeep's student journey. I designed the process of submitting a report with an emphasis on clarity and ease of use.  After spotting an issue on campus, Alina can open Upkeep and have a report ready within seconds. 

 

This is accomplished by having machine learning and geolocation do the heavy lifting.  Similarly to Google Lens, Upkeep uses the data from the provided picture to display related tags. These tags help identify which maintenance department the report might be sent to. In this case, red being general maintenance.  This ensures that the correct maintenance staff is given a sufficient amount of detail to work with. 

An additional picture will work in tandem with the geolocation to provide the accurate area of the issue.  Students can edit all of the information if need be, they will title the issue and provide additional notes.

Acknowledging & Scheduling - Staff

Once a report has been submitted, the corresponding maintenance staff will be notified. 

It was important to provide the organizational and task management tools akin to agile development so that users can assess and track reports efficiently. 

The maintenance staff of the respective department determine the validity of each submission. Reasons for rejection could include blurry photos, inaccurate detail or perhaps a transfer of the report to a different department.

 

Staff must update the report with a worded response. This serves not only as a log for tracking but also reinforces the student's sense of involvement and fulfillment. This would be repeated again when the issue is resolved effectively adding closure to the report. 

Involving Students in the Journey

I wanted students to feel like they're making a difference and that their input is valued.  I introduced  a gamified achievement system intended to maintain user retention.  This  rewards users once a report has been validated. 

 

Earning achievements unlock surveys related to areas where the student has filed reports, similar to Google Opinion Rewards.   This presents a positive feedback loop. Students who use the app are more familiar with noticing issues and therefore earn surveys to preserve the upkeep.  

 

Funds added to the Onecard are delivered through the completion of surveys and issues that are fixed.  

Thank you

For taking the time to look through my case study

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© Dean Elliott 2020