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MetroStar Systems Internship

My Role

Timeframe

Tools & Methods

Designer & Researcher

10 Weeks

Marvel app, Miro, Microsoft teams, Heuristic Review, Survey, User Interviews, User Flows

Project Focus

The primary goals of this project were to transform the USCIS I-131 form into a digital format, enhance the overall user experience by researching and implementing methods to improve the form process, and ensure a seamless and cohesive journey for applicants and case managers alike.

 

By achieving these goals, we aimed to streamline the form submission process, optimize efficiency, and increase user satisfaction at every stage of the process, resulting in a more user-centric and streamlined experience for all stakeholders involved.

Research Focus

  • Determine what experiences users find most difficult when filling out paper forms.

  • Highlight experiences during the USCIS form process that can be modified and improved in a digital form.
     

  • Understand user processes from beginning to end of application process.

The Process​​

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Research

Conduct a Heuristic review, Survey and Interview users to identify Pain Points

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Data Interpretation & Analysis

Develop user flows and stories via data and project criteria

Recommendations
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Design ideas based on the findings

Survey results

To gather preliminary user information before conducting interviews, a survey was distributed to individuals who had previously completed the I-131 form through USCIS or a similar form. The survey aimed to collect information on the following aspects:

  • Demographics

  • Technology use and literacy

  • Assistance needs

  • Available resources

  • Duration of the process

  • Iterations of the process

  • General feedback

11 Participants

2 out of 11 completed the i-131 form process

Demographics

Ages by year

33-44 | 45-54 | 55-64

Languages In order of most selected language spoken at home

  1. English

  2. Russian

  3. Vietnamese

  4. French

  5. Haitian Creole

  6. Dutch

  7. Chinese

Tech Preference

Defined as what users preference was to complete forms

  • 27% Desktop Computer/Laptop

  • 27% Paper

  • 45% Mobile phone

Barriers

Language

  • 54.6% of respondents felt a language barrier did not prevent them from completing their form(s)

  • Over 1/3 of respondents felt a language barrier made it difficult to complete their form

  • 63.6% of respondents did not feel that language resources were difficult to find

Assistance

  • 37.5% of respondents relied on someone else to assist in their form process.

    • Interpreter

    • Immigration Lawyer

    • Family member

  • 1 out of 2 respondents who specifically completed the I-131 form had an accredited attorney or representative

  • 1 out of 2 respondents who specifically completed the I-131 form felt that having an accredited attorney or representative would have made the process easier

“…the immigration specific terminology and the amount of text made it difficult to understand and the possibility of entering the wrong data made the process extra anxious.”

Form Process

Defined as process until form approval

Iterations

  • 90.9%of respondents went through the immigration application process 1-3 times before approved

Duration

  • Majority of respondents process took 1 year or more before completed.

“I only followed what I was supposed to do. I did fail once due to my brother's answering a question wrong during interview. Mainly my sister handled the application process.”

Affinity Diagram

After user interviews were complete an affinity diagram was completed to better gauge the general ideas and pain points users were experiencing.

The results ultimately revealed that users desired and valued the following:

  • Reduced labor and burden on their end during the filing process

  • Clarity on process steps and best practices to reduce stress

  • A wide variety of resources to easily reference to lessen pressure

Flowchart - Affinity Diagram.jpg
Flowchart - Affinity Diagram.jpg

Journey Map & Personas

To enhance understanding for external stakeholders and provide a nuanced view of users' experiences, including factors such as tech literacy, context, and emotional states, two Personas and Journey maps were crafted based on insights gathered during user interviews.

These results included:

 

Frustrated Frankie:

  • Frustrated Frankie represents a middle-aged or older individual engaged in assisting a family member with completing the I-131 or a similar form. Proficient in technology, Frankie, born in the U.S. or residing here for several years, empathizes deeply with their family member's experience. The primary source of frustration stems from challenges in obtaining assistance for their family member. Their objective often revolves around accomplishing tasks online for the required form.

Anxious Avery:

  • Anxious Avery embodies a tech-savvy, young individual navigating the form-filling process independently. Despite having minimal external support, Avery, fluent in English, relies on self-sourced resources and some family assistance. Despite their independence, Avery experiences anxiety about the time-consuming nature of the process. The fear of making mistakes leading to a restart amplifies their apprehension.

Findings

Users highlighted the need for clearer form content through comprehensive definitions and plain language. Recommendations include reducing error weight, providing empathetic resources for travel, ensuring up-to-date information on travel destinations, improving public relations, increasing auto-fill options, expanding language resources, and reviewing terminology for better representation of applicants' experiences.

Recommendations:

  • Provide comprehensive definitions and implement plain language for better understanding.

  • Reduce the impact of errors by offering easily accessible feedback on form content and status online.

  • Empathize with users and provide resources related to travel and culture.

  • Offer up-to-date information on events and conditions in the countries applicants are traveling to.

  • Improve overall public relations to enhance user experience.

  • Increase opportunities for auto-filled information to streamline the application process.

  • Expand language resources to accommodate a broader range of users.

  • Review feelings and implications of language usage in order to revise terminology to better represent applicants

Design Ideas

  1. Utilizing Facebook for community building and recruitment

  2. Robust calendar of all offerings in a virtual settings for easy access

  3. Build a Senior online community

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