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SecureSay allows college students to communicate within an academic setting.

My Role:  Wireframing, Visual Design, Information & Application Architecture, Screen Flows, and Style Guides.

Date: August 2018 – December 2018

SecureSay, developed by students for students, is an application geared towards post-secondary education communities that lets scholars send encrypted messages to their peers, professors, tutors, etc.

Messaging and email encryption can be important especially when sending confidential information.

In academic settings, this can be project designs only meant for group members, sending important project documents and ideas to professors for their approval, etc.

Target Audience

Secure Say’s target audience includes students and faculty at post-secondary institutions. Since many emails and important documents can sometimes be sent insecurely, we wanted to ensure that information would have a high level of confidentiality when sending. The team also wanted to focus heavily on group projects in academic settings where  project proposals, ideas, designs, and approvals would be sent to the professor and group members.

Initial Research

During the beginning phases of the project, user interviews were conducted. The main question asked during interviews with potential student users was:

  • What are your main concerns when sending messages to your peers in an academic community, especially within a group setting? After user research was conducted, three main insights were the focus of the application:

Structuring & Organizing Content

Since the concept and main functions were already established, I wanted to start on the content structure and user journey to show exactly how users can accomplish each of the main goals of the application.

Sketching and designing it out

For the actual design, the team wanted to keep the user interface as simple as possible where the main focus would cover all three of the user insights discovered during user research. Below is a condensed version of wireframes created to showcase the log in, create account, and user profile that leads to the messaging, folders & documents, and groups pages of the application.

After formulating the wireframes, I wanted to go into creating a UI design system so the team could keep track of all the applications design elements and their purposes. A minimal design was used for the iconography and buttons as not to distract from the main components of the application.

Final Solutions

The final design focused on the main concepts of the application and further insights from the research team. More users wanted a way to edit documents live and be as detailed as possible.

Folders & documents

The screen to the left showcases the folders and documents screen for tablets. It includes storage space view and folders and documents to create and upload.

Web application view

The web application view to the right showcases the chat screen where users can access all parts of the app, see their peers status, and share pertinent info like project slides, notes, relevant papers, and more.

Final results & take aways

Designing for the application was fairly simple, being that most chat apps have the same features. But the added characteristics, such as messaging encryption and saving/uploading documents to app space made it a bit more complicated. Some insights were:

  • Communication is the key: Knowing that the research team communicates directly with our intended users, I wanted to keep in close proximity with them so that we could be on the same page at all times. This would help our design process be more efficient, and we could move onto the next step with confidence.
  • Notes, recordings, and more notes: one thing that was helpful was to always have a notepad on hand when communicating with the researchers. This was conducive because I could sketch things that came to mind, brainstorm, and show my ideas to the research team.