UW Mentorship Platform

Connecting upperclassmen and incoming students.


  • figma


A week

Target users

Experienced Students & New Students at the University of Washington


In a week, design an experience that allows mentees(Incoming students) and Mentors in the University of Washington discover each other.

The Outcome

An Q&A platform that allows mentors to answer mentees' questions, building connections through specific questions.

Competitors Analysis
User Research

The Process

If you are interested in a specific part of the design process, feel free to click the button to learn more about it!

Competitors Analysis
User Research
Further Discussion


Competitors Analysis

To start this project, I looked into some existing solutions: the mentorship programs in UW and online mentorship platforms. Here are some insights that I found:

Group Identities as the Bridges.

Most of the UW mentorship programs are major or identity-based, such as Economic Undergrad Student Mentorship Program and International student mentorship program.

Be able to solve the needs of a large number of students on campus, who are in the large departments and social identities groups.

It will be hard for new students with minority background to find mentors though these programs.

Time period fits school schedules

These mentorship programs are usually quarter-based, which is more convenient for the organizers planning out the mentorship events that fit in students' schedules.

More convenient for the organizers planning out the mentorship events that fits the students' schedules.

It is tough for students who would like to find a mentor in the middle of the quarter. They will have to wait until the program applications open again quarter/year.


User Research

Now that I understand how the mentorship programs working on and off-campus. I want to take a closer look to find out what experienced and incoming students want to gain from the mentorships and how they maintain a healthy mentorship. Therefore, I conducted interviews with

4 students.

"I feel confused and lost sometimes and it will be helpful if someone can guide me through the process and answer my questions."

-- David, Freshmen in UW

"Since I got help from someone else when I was a freshman, I really want to give back to the community."

-- Sky, Senior in UW

Mentee: Guidance and Resources

New students are looking into mentors because they need guidance and resources from a mentor with similar background(identities, majors, academic/career goals) to adapt to the college life and figure out their future career path.

Mentor: Giving back to the Community

For experienced students, they don't want the new students to encounter the same struggles that they had before. They want to give back to the community, since they received help when they were freshmen.

Initiative Matters

Proactive mentees will be appreciated. Since a mentor is a "volunteer" job, most of the mentors don't want to spend most of the time "babysitting" the mentees. A long term mentorship depends on the mentors and mentees' initiatives.

Mentor: Personal Branding

In a more realistic perspective, they hope to build their leadership skills, boost their resume, expand their networks, and promote themselves or their student organizations through the mentorship.



By gathering all the insights by sticky notes at the board, I brainstormed different potential solutions that can fulfill the requirements from the mentees and the mentors.

Brainstorming with Sticky Notes



Selected Solution

Q&A Connection Platform

Connecting incoming students and experienced students through QUESTIONS. Compared to other ideas, this one better fulfilling the mentee's need(resources and guidance) and the mentor's need(rewards of helping others and promoting themselves/organizations)

The idea fulfilling (Green) Mentee's demands and (Blue) Mentor's demands

The solution will be a "safe space" for new students to get help and supports while mentors can promote themselves and gain a sense of reward.

What are the Features and how they meet with the user goals

The user flow of the platform


Questions Board

Allows students to view a list of existing questions. Mentor can choose questions to answer.

In this case, mentors don't have to answer similar questions repeatedly, since the new students will be able to search those questions before asking.


Connections Recommendations

Based on the data from the students' profile (with class standing, intended majors, interests, questions they asked, etc.), the platform will provide mentor/connection suggestions that matched with the new students' profile using algorithms.



The platform will also provide a direct message feature to encourage the communication between users.



Original Wifreframe of the product




The style of the app is based on the University of Washington style guide. Since it is a platform for the school, and I want to have a signifier to remain on brand.

Interactive Prototype

The notification page will show all the connection / question invitation, and any updates for the users' questions/answers.

An onsite direct message system that allows user to communicate with their connections conveniently without using othere platforms.

The profile page for the user. Users will be able to edit their profile, keep track of their questions / answers / connections, and get access to the setting.

Visit other's profile when receiving an invitation. Users will be able to view their interests, classes, answers, and questions they asked.


Accessible Design

The University of Washington strives to ensure that people with disabilities have access to all services and content, I also include accessible design to make sure all the students will be able to use the platform.


Font Size

Most of the font size for the paragraph in the design is 16pt, which will pass the mobile accessibility AA test. But the smallest font in the interface is in 12 pt for visually appealing. I will include a font size setting in the app, which allows users to adjust the font size based on their needs.

16pt only meets the minimum requirements, and it is not the ideal font size for people with lower vision(18pt will pass the AAA test). Therefore, providing a customized font size setting will be the most feasible way to make the content accessible to everyone.


Color Contrast

All the color contrast in the app have passed the contrast AAA test, which makes sure even people with lower vision can still read the text.


Gestures & Voice Feedback

I have considered some specific interaction and Voice-over feedbacks in my design.

For all the list view in the app, VoiceOver users should be able to navigate between the list items by swiping left / right.

Swipe left and right to shift focus to the previous and next list item. Provide specific voice feedbacks for all the components.suggesting voice feedback for the answer pages


Some Concerns, and my Future Plan

Let's discuss some constraints of the project and the future plan.

Larger Sample Size

The small sample size for the user interview is one of my biggest concerns. Only 4 students' opinions might not represent the major student body. I would generate a survey and conduct it in random sampling to ask more students for their opinions of this mentorship.

The Diversity in Participants

Another concern that I am having is that I mostly focused on undergrad freshmen during my research process; however, transfer students and first-year grad students should also be considered. But I believe this platform will also be applicable for them to get advice and connections.

Usability Tests

Due to time constraints, I was not able to conduct a usability test for my prototypes to get feedback to improve the design. My next step is going to finalize the prototype, generate a usability test script, perform the usability test, and revise the design.


Resources & Notes

Entire Prototype and Wireframes
Online Academic Mentorship Platform Analysis
UW Mentorship Program AnalysisLiterature Review Resource
Notes and walkthroughs during the process

What's next?