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Overview

Hupay is a social support app for neurodivergent college students to connect with others and receive the positive support they need during their college experience. The app will provide resources, organize the user's accommodations, and promote social events.

Timeline
April 2023
Role
UX Designer
& Researcher
Software
Adobe XD, Miro
Team Type
Group | Class Project

Motivation

As our goal is to create an app to assist the autistic community, we decided to gear it towards autistic adults who are attending college.

Through our research, we find that autistic adults end up with less resources and support the moment they age into adulthood. Although our app might not fully solve this issue, we hope it could make the transition easier for them.

60%

Autistic adults and children experience bullying*

>50%

Young autistic adults are unenrolled in higher education two years after high school*

*Credit: Autism Speaks

Research
Data Collection
Videos

Overall, we watched about seven videos discussing the topic including two Ted Talks, one lecture, and a handful of videos made by the parents of, and the neurodivergent individuals themselves.

Postings

For my part of the research, I researched on public forums and social media to gather information on current struggles, especially on why people with autism decided to dropping out of college.

Real Life Research

My team member's part included interviewing SPED teachers, ESE teachers, paras, and co-teachers.
She also considered
the concerns from her former students.

Key Words

Key phrases for the research were ‘bullying,’ ‘neurodivergent education,’ ‘pursuit of higher education with autism,’ ‘college accommodations
for neurodivergent’.

Thematic Analysis
1
Struggle to Adapt
  • Struggle to adjust to routine change and added strain of a different classroom structure.

  • Hard to keep up with fast paced lifestyle.

  • “Unspoken rules” and social standards deterring interactions.

  • Unable to avoid overstimulation.

"I always blamed myself for the bullying and became a people pleaser. I was never able to fully mask enough to blend in with other girls my age and feel very left out."

2
Lack of Support
  • First time separated
    from family.

  • Stimming in public with
    no one around to assist
    or understand.

  • Feeling forced to mask behaviors 24/7 within
    a dorm.

  • Being bullied with no real way to prevent the issue

“If I go to college I’ll have to leave my family and they’re the only people that understand me.”

3
Self Regulation
  • Handling mediation on their own, sometimes for the first time.

  • Having to self advocate for accommodations and in medical situations.

  • Unable to balance
    work and school at the same time.

“I dropped out because I couldn’t get the same accommodations I had in public school. The only way I could was to pay for some special program and I can’t afford that!”

Personas
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Screen Shot 2023-05-02 at 1.03.39 AM.png
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Design Requirements
Connect with Others

Consider features for users to connect with others through forums, chat, and event pages.

Improve Mental Health

The app would have features, such as journaling, articles/tips, and positive notifications, to help improve the user's mental health.

Easy Accommodations

Provide a feature for adding medical information and accommodation needs. Also a quick access chat room to contact others for help.

Ideate & Design
Brainstorming
Style Guideline
Colors
#F1990E
#5DA0B2
#C1D6D3
#707070
#5CB4A2
#5C6065
#2E3237
#3B4B49
#3D4146
Typography
Utopia STD - Header
type.png
Source Code - Subheading
type.png
Fira Sans - Body Text
type.png
Prototype
Connect with Your Inner Self

With the calendar section, you will keep yourself up-to-date with reminders. The journal is for you to check-in with yourself with your current mood and entries. It doesn't have to be just words. Pictures are great too!

Journal.gif
Doc.gif
Ready to Accommodate

Through the Documents page, you can upload and present your information to make any accommodations request easier to setup.

Connect with Others

Not only we offer forums and events for you to connect with others, but we also offer a buddy system to help build up your support system. You can even apply to be a buddy to someone else.

chat-2.gif
User Testing

Our main focus for the user testings was to find issues within the app and confirm the need for an app like this. For this step, we use the User Testing site to conduct our tests.

Process

We decided to setup different slightly demographics, but the ages would be between 18 to 35. For my teammate, she found three neurodivergent college students to test the app and see how it appeals to them. For me, I seek out three people from the general public to see what can be improved from the majority standard.

Findings
1

The participants found the app easy to navigate.

2

Issues with navigating out of some Chat pages as they didn't originally include a back button or bottom navigation.

3

Some users would like more information or change of wording on the Journal page as they confused by the page.

Reflection

Although this app is meant to help with making the user's adjustment to college life easier, it's not guaranteed. That includes considering the school or housing's accommodation process.

 

Another thing to consider is if the buddy chat system would have enough proper candidates to help with our neurodivergent users.

Despite these factors, I still enjoyed learning about the autistic community and finding ways to create apps to serve this community.

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