Mia Suh UX & HCI Researcher [ Home Page ]
Co-designing Online Community for International Students' Settlement

International students face numerous challenges while settling into their new host country, such as finding practical information on daily living in their new country, maintaining their academic performance, and building their social networks. Such rapid dynamics may lead international students to have homesickness, low self-confidence, loneliness, and depression [ref], which can negatively impact their academic success and their retention in schools. How can we support them?

I conducted a series of studies to investigate the potential design space for technologies to support international students' settlement in the US.

In the study, my goals were to:
  • Understanding the international students’ challenges when to settle in the US and how to design for supporting them
  • Developing the design ideas by iterating prototypes & Usability testing
  • Interviews
  • Co-designing (participatory) workshop
  • Future's workshop method (metaphorical design)
  • Ideation
  • Prototyping
  • Usability Testing
In the first phase of workshop, as a lead of a research team, I conducted a participatory design workshop following the Future's workshop consisting of three stages: Critique(brainstorm and identify the problems), Fantasy (create idealistic solutions), and Metaphorical Design(enable the participants to open-up their ideas). In the workshop, 11 participants were UW international student and 2 FIUTS staffs (Non-profit organization to support international student).

In the second-phase of workshop, as a lead of a research team, I conducted co-designing workshop by paring each participant and designer (5 participants paired with 5 designers). Each pair created the possible solutions together, and evaluate which design alternative may best address the problems of international students.

Then, as a team of designers, developers and researchers, we implemented a prototype of online community for international students, and conducted a series of usability testing with potentail users who were also international students.

The followings describe the procedure (these are from the slides I used).

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