An ‘application assistance’ web platform designed for foreign students to simplify the often time consuming and complex process of filling out various applications. It’s an interactive platform where users can ask queries, answer questions, and write posts about all kinds of applications. The platform also enables students to quickly identify and reach out to the right person for help over a call. This right person would be someone who has done a similar task/paperwork not long ago, someone from a trusted community and someone whom the student can get reliable information from and make informed decisions.
Young foreign students, who have recently moved to a new country, encounter challenges in navigating the paperwork and application processes. The current approach involves doing exhaustive and random digital searches on various forums and communities to understand the process. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated platform that gives comprehensive information about paperwork or facilitates connecting with someone who has knowledge about applications and how to fill them.
For young foreign students, likely to be in their early twenties, it is overwhelming to adjust to a new environment, to overcome language barriers, to navigate systems and rules and to gain general understanding about how to get things done, especially without wasting much time and resources. The degree programs, recruiting and networking activities are demanding. In addition to this, they also have to get various applications/paperwork. This is often a process filled with uncertainty and confusion. Students usually gather information randomly through their network of friends, online forums and communities such as Discord, Facebook groups etc., it’s a wide range of digital platforms where students have to visit and search for how to get things done, many times it leads to incomplete, unreliable or incorrect information. There is no dedicated platform/tool to get information in its entirety, from reliable sources that would make the process free of confusion and frustration.
Research Insights based on Survey
- ~60% of the students felt unsure and under confident about the entire application process.
- 50% of the students had instances of rework/refilling the application due to errors in initial work.
- 100% of students said they did not hire lawyers or professional services such as lawyers but relied on data found on the internet.
- To get help with applications, 46% of students said they would choose ‘Talking to someone who finished the process recently (someone in your social media community)’ while 42% said they would ‘Research the internet/various forums’.
Thus, it can be reasoned that students would appreciate a reliable, interactive knowledge sharing platform dedicated for paperwork, which enables them to connect with the right person, who they can trust and who not long ago went through the application process.
Landing on the Solution
Value features of ChitChat
- Connect with the right person over audio/video call to solve application queries.
- Integration with trusted communities such as Discord/Facebook/College Alumni
- Interactive platform: posts, questions and answers related to various paperwork.
- General information about various paperwork (application guidelines, list of supporting documents, cost, FAQs about application queries, information about most confusing application pieces, Links to official website, others)
Create MVP and test the adoption among users.
Figure out a way to integrate other social communities.
Strategize the growth of the platform since many users might not be returning users.
Product Manager Learnings:
- Hands-on learning about product management
- Made me realise, there are hundreds of solutions available in the market today, no matter what the problem area is. Coming up with a product that is distinct yet successful would require a lot of customer research and targeting the right set of users/customers even if it is small.
- The coursework I did gave me an opportunity to think like a PM and talk to potential customers and understand issues at a deeper level. The experience of surveying made me understand how my perspective about a particular thing could be rare and different from the majority of people around me.
Full Team Learning