Creating a mobile application to support student and general users on the StartupTree platform.
Many requests had come in for StartupTree to build a mobile application, so a major project the summer interns tackled was the framework for a working mobile app.
StartupTree's user base is primarily students and faculty/mentors involved in entrepreneurship on a university level. Each school has a personalized web platform.
Thus, our goal for our mobile application was to provide means for our users to use our platform on the go.
While this seems straightforward, we also had to consider our limitations. Our platform has multiple sets of audiences: the admin, the student/entrepreneur, and the mentor. With time constraints (this project was to be completed during the summer) and engineering limitations (our developers were learning React), we decided to focus on just the student.
The mobile team worked with a remote senior designer as a mentor to map out the flow and blueprint for the app. One of the biggest challenges was determining which features were critical and which could be implemented at a later date. We wound up prioritizing "discover" (a way to find people, mentors, startups, etc.), events, and messages.
We then drew up some wireframes in Sketch to begin mapping out the layout of the application. Once we decided how the general navigation would look, we could iterate further. With limited resources and time, we opted not to user test with prototypes and instead utilized patterns that users would be familiar with.
Our final mockups used StartupTree green as the primary color. Although our web platform uses the school's primary colors, we chose to strengthen the StartupTree brand by using our color. Users also choose their school after entering the app, so the flow lends itself better to using one color across all platforms.
We used horizontal scrolling tabs on our main discover page as a form of secondary navigation -- we found these to be more discoverable than a dropdown or alternative form of navigation.
As often as possible, we mimicked the structure of the desktop application for consistency across platforms. For example, messaging in the app was adapted from the web platform's messaging redesign.
Our end product was an app that implemented the main functionality of the platform from a student's perspective and was within the scope of our engineers' talents in the given time.