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Navigating Complexity: 
Designing Onboarding for Newcomers

Type of project: Solo project

Duration: 8 months

My role: Led, designed, and conducted the end to end of the project

Project Brief

New international students face difficulties in gathering and processing the vast amount of information they receive before and after arriving at a new university. Cultural transitions and language barriers further compound the problem. The project aimed to simplify and organize the flow of information to create a more pleasant experience for international graduate newcomers to Edmonton.


The human-centered design applied with the use of generative techniques, which included:

  • card sorting

  • interviews with 10 grad students

  • interviews with university advisors

  • Storyboard activity

  • focus group activity

​I analyzed the whole data from the above research methods by using affinity diagrams.


I developed different prototypes, test them with users, and then designed the final artifacts as an information sheet. The design includes seven main categories that were recognized as essential information: Housing, Connections, Identification Cards, Finances, Transportation, Shopping, and Weather. 


The design process was iterative and collaborative, involving pilot studies and feedback gathering from the target audience and stakeholders from various departments at the University of Alberta. 



The project successfully addressed the identified needs of international students. The design streamlined the flow of information and presented it in a clear, concise, and culturally sensitive format.


Launched %100 successfully and received commendations for its usability and helpfulness.​​

Compliments by users: Feedback on the Outcome

"The sheet is so well designed and is very informative. That would be very helpful for all incoming students such as myself. Many thanks again!"

“ I love it! I still keep it [the printed version of the information sheet] after 6 months of joining this university.”

Generative Techniques - Applying the Say-Do-Make Framework in this Research

User Study - Storyboard Activity.

User Study - User Prioritization of Information: Insights from Interviews.

User Study -Focus Group and Discussion with Users.

Destibuted Design Solution- New International Graduate Students Welcoming Event Included with the Campus Check-In Materials at University of Alberta, 2018

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