An app connecting experienced students with new students

Role: UX/UI Designer
Team: Independent
Duration: 1 week


Mentoring is an invaluable way to share vital knowledge and relevant experiences with others helping them succeed in both their personal and professional aspirations.

The issue is that new students find it difficult and intimidating to seek for suitable mentors to engage with. While experienced students say it's difficult to carve-out time and actively seek out students in need and are unsure if their guidance would truly help.


An app that enables mentees to easily discover and connect with mentors based on their needs and similar interests while motivating experienced students to become mentors with proper recognition system.



Personal observation // Secondary research // Online survey // User interviews // Personas // Journey mapping


The first thing I did was to take a step back and thought about the topic of mentorship in general. I asked myself what role has mentorship played in my life and realized that while I never officially enrolled in a mentorship program, I have had many individuals molding and guiding me along my academic and career path. I valued their advice and experiences gained through unofficial mentorship/personal connection and incorporated them into my life.

Next, I listed a series of questions that naturally came to mind as I continued to explore the topic. These research questions provided the framework to guide my research, survey, and interviews. I wanted to understand: Why  students need mentorship, How students currently find their mentors, and What the goals of mentors are.

Secondary Research

From secondary research, I found there aren’t many initiatives the school provides to connect senior and new students on campus, and information on university-sponsored clubs was hard to find as well. Similar third-party apps and platforms are hard to navigate and not curated for students in the fields of design and art. Most of them are focused on business-related field.

User Research

I generated an online survey and conducted in-person interviews. 12 students responded to the survey and I managed to speak to 5 students face to face within a day — across multiple years and disciplines in undergraduate and masters programs to gain closer personal insights.

My goal here was to understand what information is most valuable when students look for potential mentors, what their motivations are, and any blockers for students to become a mentor.

Key findings:
  • 88% of participants said they didn't have a mentor guiding and advising them on campus and academic life when they were freshmen. They said it was intimidating and difficult to find a mentor.
  • Senior students are looking for any school activities that can be on their CV but there aren't many programs for such on campus.
  • Senior students are genuinely willing to share their experiences with younger students but they don't know where to find mentee and just don't have the time to actively seek.
  • Main considerations for students becoming mentors are time commitment and setting growth goal - they want younger talents to be successful but don't want to babysit.
  • Mentors want their mentee to become mentors in future.
  • Those who are not willing or hesitant to become mentors often think they need to be a high achiever and don't realize some students look for personal advice from mentors.


Based on the user research, I created two personas —those who are recent joinees or less experienced students seeking guidance (mentees), and those who are senior or experienced students willing to share their expertise and provide advice (mentors).

journey map

From the data I gathered, I mapped a "as-Is" user journey to define current user’s typical process and pain points to visualize the image of target users.


Before thinking about functions and interactions, it is essential to understand user constraints, what value users expect to get out of mentorship programs and how a mentorship system would work best in a university setting today.
Mentorship in university is like an older brother/sister type of relationship. It is not a business relationship where you have to set strategic goals or schedule regular meetings, it is slightly more informal in nature.

Many older students are busy and hesitant to commit to a formal coaching style. The relationship is about having an access to reach out to experienced students when they need help; this can be personal needs to adjust to university life or career based goals.

Hence finding the best match based on mentee’s needs and similar interests are key for building a strong relationship where both parties can expect to benefit.
Design goals:
My goal is to design an experience where prospective mentors and mentees can find their “perfect match”, based on similar interests, location preferences, and availability.

These are the problems I plan to focus on:
  • Collect all necessary user information that is crucial to providing accurate matching suggestions while keeping on-boarding processes short
  • Provide an environment where users can openly reach out to potential mentors, making the interactions more personable, eliminating any sense of intimidation
  • Build an intuitive interface where mentee users can seamlessly request an in-person meeting with potential mentors


The process below highlights the thinking behind understanding and achieving the best mentor and mentee match. One important thing to consider is that a user can be both a  mentee and a mentor during her/his campus life.

Matching will be based on 1) overlap between the mentee’s needs and mentors experience, 2) alignment in career direction, 3) similar interests, 4) geographic backgrounds such as home country and places they have lived in — it helps with the acclimatization process and potential for common ground.
Story board:


I started sketching out the main user flow and several other ideas for various screens based on the requirements, and user story. My goal here was to visualize the user interface, interactions, and flow of the app.
Paper prototype user test:
After a few paper sketches, I formulated an initial design that I tested with 3 different users. The earlier I am able to run with users and receive feedback, the quicker I can validate design assumptions and make changes.

I focused on evaluating time spent on completing each task, discovering any missing features and general user feedback.
  • On discovery page, users find having a section "same program as you" on top is helpful
  • "Message" and "My connection" in the nav are too similar. Users want to know what their connection are up to; (i.e.) getting internship, what classes taking in the upcoming semester
  • Combining meet up requests & responses in the message was not obvious enough
Low fidelity prototype:
After the paper use testing, I had the general idea ready, so I switched to Figma, where it’s easier to move things around.

This was the final result of the user flow after a couple of iterations:
Below is the primary on-boarding journey. In this iteration, the process of becoming both a mentor and mentee is the same in order to increase student involvement.
Once a profile is set up, the next screen users reach is a discovery page (a main home page). Here, users can view lists of potential mentors or mentees based on same profession (students from same program) and similar interests. I also incorporated the filtering options to help students narrow down the lists easily. After finding the best potential mentor or mentee, users can request to meet up with them through request feature.

Below is a primary journey from browsing students lists to become a mentor.
Information architecture:

Usability Study

Task analysis:
What were our users able to do successfully?
A UX expert, Steve Krug says “The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.” I was fortunate enough to interview 5 users and be able to conduct usability testing with them, with the goal to receive the most relevant quantitative and qualitative data that could drive my insights. It should also be noted that all the users were friends, so highly positive results should be inferred with caution. Although this was a quick and dirty usability test, I was able to draw material insights.


I iterated design based on the user feedbacks below.
FInal Design

Visual system

As designers, we have the important responsibility of ensuring our designs are accessible as we move to high-fidelity. Using the New School’s color palette -  red color and different shades of grays, color contrast, readable typography settings with accessible visual interfaces were essential, especially for college campuses.

High Fidelity Prototype

These are the final screens.

Next Steps

Out of scope but steps I’d like to take next.
  • A/B usability testing the two information architecture ideas and conduct second online survey to see percentage of each choices (mentor, mentee, both)
  • Do another round of usability testing with the high-fidelity design to confirm some of my interface design assumptions
  • Explore the way to integrate with the New School’s desktop student online portal and on campus announcement board
  • Expand the scope not only current students but also include alumni - additionally explore the option to meet remotely for alumni mentors who relocated outside of the city