AccommodateNow
Overview:
My Role
Project Manager
UI Designer
UX Researcher

Sponsored by
SMC IXD partnered with IDEO + Beyond12

Team
Ross Meredith, Gizelle Hurtado, Drew Hemnes
Time frame
8 Weeks

Tools
Figma, Google Workspace, Zoom
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The Big Idea!
Our prototype's big idea is that it will simplify the amount of time needed to meet with a counselor. Accommodate Now lives within the MyCoach app.  Here students with disabilities can receive their accommodations more efficiently at the beginning of each semester, improving communications between DSPS and the professors—holding everyone accountable.
Chance Statement
“Let’s create better communication by mobilizing students and DSPS to improve their collegiate success.”
Meet Maya!
Maya is part of DSPS, The Disabled Students Program & Services at SMC. At the beginning of each semester, they have to go to the DSPS office to book a meeting with a counselor and in that meeting, Maya selects the accommodations they would like to use for each class that semester. 
The Problem

​​​​​​​The problem with this is that there are 11 counselors for the 1800+ students that are part of DSPS. Receiving an appointment could take up to two weeks. This creates an issue with many students trying to get an appointment just to receive accommodations. 

AccommodateNow's
3 Features
1. Community Board & Verification
We’ve designed a community board where students can connect with fellow students. Here, they can also find, ask, and reply to commonly asked questions.  We have implemented a verification system into our community board where DSPS can respond with an official answer or verify another students answer.
2. Up & Down Vote
AccommodateNow sets up a process where students can submit their queries. With the built-in upvoting system, a question can gain attention by DSPS as it is deemed relevant by popular demand. This process will improve the students’ independence and make new friends based on shared goals.
3. Saving User Information
At the end of each semester, the student needs to submit another form. AccommodateNow can store the students' information, such as their previously approved accommodations—saving the student time each semester when signing up.
Competitive Analysis Key Points

Done By Drew Hemnes

For our competitive analysis, we were able to find three potential competitors with similar features; Reddit, TurboTax, and the Apple Support community. After some research, we were able to identify these key insights. Reddit is welcome to all users, leading to creating toxic environments; however, the system of up and downvoting led us to make the system for our own community board feature. We found that TurboTax's ability to remember the user’s primary information brings a sense of belonging, which is what we wanted to capture for our students’ accommodations semester by semester.  The Apple Support Community has a forum where Apple can verify user responses and respond with official answers. With these competitors in mind we came up with our conclusion.
Insight
Our solution for Beyond12 seeks to solve communication issues between DSPS counselors and students. In an effort to mobilize students, we are streamlining the process for receiving accommodations.
How do we know it will work?
AccommodateNow is successful when students get their accommodations in 1 week instead of what can take up to 2-3 weeks. Since using this app DSPS is delegating their services so that have time for the students that need assistance, such as with picking a class schedule or transfer schedule, and students gain more Independence.
Recommendations to Beyond12 and IDEO 
Given our research, we would recommend Beyond12 creates a feature that accommodates students with disabilities. Although we know that Beyond12 invests in their students, they may be overlooking students with disabilities. To move forward with our idea, we recommend Beyond12 to collaborate with SMC’s DSPS program, to allow more time for the students that need other counseling. By implementing our service, we’re not only creating an easy-to-use, organized, and informational database for DSPS students, we’re making a home where students with disabilities can visit to connect with counselors, professors, and, most notably, other students.
Future Iterations
Professor Portal
       - Q&A Board for Professors
       - Student Professor Communication
       - Professor Accountability for exams

Future integrations could add a feature for professors to ask questions to the message board or look up questions that they may have. With the professors in the conversation and DSPS, the professors are responsible for supporting their accommodations to help them with educational success. Think of it as a check-in system along the timeline of the student. Along with an optional reminder that reminds the student to submit their request for accommodations, they are never without them.

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