The Immigration Process

UX Design Case Study

I am currently studying UX design at Ironhack, one of the best technology boot camps in the world. After my first week, I have finished up my first project on Immigration. In this post, I will be sharing my research, ideation process, hypothesis, and minimum viable product. Never the less before I start describing my process I must thank Ironhack for everything they have taught me and especially Katalina Vasquez and Matt Dutton, my incredible teammates on this project.

Given the fact that over five million (5.000.000) Venezuelans have left the last couple of years and over three hundred thousand (300.000)of those are living today in the U.S., we can make an educated guess that hundreds of thousands of people are going through the United States immigration process. Considering just a few words of mouth, we assumed the experience of migrating can be very annoying. So to validate this assumption, we started off by doing some user-centered research.

At first, we made a digital survey using Google Forms, in order to find Quantitative data that backed up our initial premise. In this opportunity, we found that most of our subjects were in the youth age group (15–24) seeking better academic opportunities and over 70% of them found the process difficult.

As useful as this information might be, it is very important, especially for a UX designer to go deeper and empathize with the user. We know that they find it difficult but we need to discover the actual reason. This is why we complemented our numeric discoveries with Qualitative research by interviewing our subjects. Anonymously I will share some of their responses.

Imagine having to start over from one day to another. Immigrating can be very overwhelming, especially at a young age.

“The process is very time-consuming. It is not fun to have to live in the United States, undocumented with savings from a third world salary like a Venezuelan one”

“It was really hard to make decisions and go through a process I do not understand and am currently investing in.”

After collecting all of our findings, we decided to group them up and create an Affinity Map to visually align our ideas. We were able to notice various themes in our subjects.

  • There can be a negative psychological impact
  • Clear information about the process is difficult to find
  • Assimilating to a new culture is difficult
  • The immigration process can be very time consuming
Affinity Map

Taking this new information into account, we must now take a step back and practice the single most important thing in UX design. Empathize. To do so, we elaborated an Empathy map, which is a tool to understand our users' context among the process. In this map, we were able to pinpoint some pains and gains.

Empathy Map

In the process of design, it is very important to always have clear, who we are designing for. As Alan Cooper said: “If you design for everyone, you delight no one. This is why we created a Persona to visualize a character that represents most of our users. Migrating Miguel, our persona, is built out of attitudes and behavior patterns we found in our users. This makes it easier to focus on your design target.

As a next step, we broke down the current experience users are having when going through the immigration process by creating an As-is scenario. Here is the result:

As we come to an initial grasp of what the process is looking like for our users, we made a Journey map to visualize some opportunities to enhance the experience along the way.

Having so much data and discovered information in our hands, it was time to start ideating. Our initial hypothesis was that “If immigrants are provided a resource to guide, support, and educate them on the immigration process, then they will feel more confident and informed on integrating into their new country”. But to start off we must develop a minimum viable product (MVP). In order to do so, we used the MOSCOW method.

The MOSCOW method is a tool to pinpoint the most necessary ideas to our solution proposal and not get distracted with complementing features and details. It is all about realizing what the product Must have and not what the product Should have, Could have, or Won't have. The reason why we built minimum viable products is to test concepts and usabilities before investing in wide-ranged ideas.

Immigrants need a webpage explaining each visa type via video. After determining the visa of best fit, there will be a checklist detailing what they need to do. Once complete they are provided an ID number allowing them to check their status.

Our study shows that a simple webpage using these three concepts can enhance an immigrant's experience. The Immigration process is definitely one of the many wicked problems we have out there. But just like any other bad experience, with a design thinking process that places users as their first priority, It can be solved.

Thank you.

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