DESIGNS BY Gloria Feng
Kinvolved is an ed-tech startup based in New York City, NY with the goal of fighting chronic absenteeism in K-12 schools. I worked with the Kinvolved team for two weeks during the winter of 2017 as a Business Development intern, as part of the Innovate Winter Break program sponsored by Brown University. Having loved my experience at the company, I decided to return a few months later to be a full-time summer intern for design.
Part 1 – NYC Heat Map Project (Winter)
The Innovate Winter Break program granted me a two-week long immersion at Kinvolved as a Business Development intern. Immediately, I was put on a project to investigate sales leads and to research potential future partner schools in the New York City area. Given that Kinvolved, and its web/mobile app solution, was adapted to best help middle schools and high schools with a moderate rate of attendance (80-90%), I sought out different strategies to visualize the NYC school districts with a focus on average attendance levels.
The solution I came up with /…/ was to create an interactive heat map of the NYC area.
The solution I came up with, with assistance from Miriam, who was my advisor and the CEO, was to create an interactive heat map of the NYC area.
I pulled the latest datasets on NYC school districts, attendance rates, and K-12 school locations from NYC Open Data together to plot all 919 NYCDOE secondary and high schools in the NYC area with a location software called Carto. With some data cleaning, I configured the map such that each plotted school displays informative variables like Total Enrollment, % Student Attendance, % Strong Family-Community Ties, and % Students chronically absent. By the conclusion of my internship, I created two versions of this map: one that was publicly facing for display on Kinvolved’s website (shown above), and another intended for internal use for the Business Development team.
Part 2 – Web and Mobile UI/UX Redesign (Summer)
Summer of 2017, I rejoined Kinvolved as a UI/UX intern under Alex (Co-founder and CPO) and Runy (Creative Director) on product work. With their guidance, I steered my focus toward improving the user experience of the KiNVO web app and mobile attendance app. Kinvolved was in the process of a large rebranding and front-end upgrade of its applications, which gave me license to help make improvements across multiple parts of the web and mobile app.
Exhibit 1: Attendance Page (Mobile)
The old attendance page (left) had a number of usability issues, which I had tried to improve (right). The new design was intended to make recording lates and absences more intuitive, providing better visual feedback through a 3-column structure, as opposed to the single-column swiping scheme. The new designs also sought to make the page more space efficient, so that a teacher would be able to view more students on the screen at a time, to shorten the amount of time it would take to record attendance and minimize overall frustration.
Exhibit 2: Parent-Teacher Messaging (Web)
I upgraded the UI of the Messaging tab to have a more analogous visual language to most other messaging applications (right). This involved making the thread view look more like a private chat between the teacher and parent, which aligns closer to its actual purpose, than a forum (left). In addition, I made the thread view more space efficient, such that it could function as a less intrusive slide-in messenger on the user’s web app, instead of as a full screen page.