The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is roughly the size of South Carolina at 32,000 square miles and a GDP ranked 32nd in the world. Within this bustling country are over 200 colleges and universities. Aside from water, the UAE doesn’t seem to lack much…except a comprehensive service for filtering through the campus events and information nationwide!
Enter "The Campus". The Campus connects students in the UAE with campus services across the country. The Underbelly team was intrigued when The Campus team approached us with their desire to create an app allowing students to easily search and compare information from universities such as tuition rates, events, and student discounts.
For The Campus, understanding user flows were essential for building a successful app and clean functionality was imperative. We spent the first part of the project identifying what information would be most sought-after for students, as well as how they might interact with the app. In our research we attempted to understand the process of identifying the most important factors incoming students may research when determining which schools to pursue.
The primary goal of The Campus was to allow users to quickly and effectively find, filter, and compare schools. To accomplish this, we used a card concept for varying mobile sizes, as well as a table layout for tablet and web users. This allowed for the easiest interaction when comparing various elements, while avoiding an overwhelming user experience.
WEB vs MOBILE
Our research focused on the primary audience targeted for The Campus — prospective and current college students. We ultimately determined most users would be using the service via mobile devices, so we chose a “mobile first” approach. The benefit of this approach is two fold. First, it gets the app in the hands of users faster. Secondly, it allowed us to work more efficiently and focused.
The Campus has fun and inviting brand. With the launch of the app, we hoped to expand upon these characteristics to breathe even more life into the project. To do so, we illustrated custom UAE landscapes using The Campus’ brand colors. We then placed these themes throughout the app such as the login screen, 404 page, and filter pages.
The fast paced life of a student requires current, easily accessible information, all the time. Campus events, activities, and resources are constantly changing. Not only this, but The Campus’ administrators have a ton of campuses, thus hundreds of events or activities to keep track of. This is why, when bringing The Campus to life, we were mindful to create an easy to manage CMS to accommodate the constantly changing content.
To pull this off, we used a little gem called React on Rails. React on Rails allows the the administrative and front end to remain separate, while residing within the same ecosystem. This was done by building the administrative portion and API in Rails, then completing the front end in React. In doing so, we were able to utilize a few features like React Router and Redux. In the end, we have a quick, easy to update CMS that enables The Campus team to provide the most relevant information to their users.