500 Meter Winter Lighting Installation — UX Case Study

Role: Project Owner & Designer
Position: Manager of Campus Experience, UBC

Context

University of British Columbia , Campus Experience Portfolio
UBC ranks as a top academic university but census data reports low sense of belonging and school pride, metrics that are inversely correlated to academic success and likeliness to recommend UBC to peers and prospective students. I was hired onto new project for the UBC president. The ask was to understand, and communicate and then design and implement strategies to improve the non academic student experience on campus.

Challenge

One of the opportunity areas we identified was a significant drop in outdoor activity and a perceived drop in mood across campus throughout the winter months. We set out to learn from users and existing research if this perceived dip was real and if so to understand it and design a potential intervention that might address it and contribute to an overall improvement in sense of belonging and campus pride. The budget was $10k.

Scale — A major challenge was coming up with a project that would scale large enough to have significant impact on the 55,000 students at UBC. Most programming initiatives often only reach hundreds to thousands of students.

Research

Customer Journey Mapping

We referenced a customer journey map to identify the key events and moments of the school year to visually identify the highest stress moments along the journey as well as specific dates of interest.

Customer Journey Mapping

We interviewed 14 students, being especially mindful of leading questions to understand their experience and to specifically address the following

  • a — Assumption: Is there actually a drop in mood in winter months?
  • b — If the assumption is true, what are the contributing factors?
  • c — Better understand the overall student experience during winter months on campus.
Customer Journey Mapping

We learned from staff and student event organizers on campus to better understand what does and doesn’t work in terms of winter programming. They confirmed that rainy cold and dark winter weather is a significant barrier to large scale winter programming. Nobody wants to spend more time outside in the cold and rain than they have too. We needed to come up with a project that works within these winter constraints.

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