Research Mentor(s): Amrita Das, Program Assistant
Research Mentor School/College/Department: First Generation Initiatives, OAMI: Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 20
The First-Generation program has grown tremendously within the past few years. One of the key resources is the First Generation website that provides a plethora of information to University of Michigan first-generation students. Ideally, the website is designed for students to build connections and seek support. Our project explores if the website is performing to students’ standards and if the needs of University of Michigan first-generation students are being met. The overall purpose of this project is to improve the performance based on the feedback we get from our participants. This project is using three different User-Experience Research methods to explore student needs, how they are utilizing the website’s resources, and how successful they are in finding information on the website. We decided to use qualitative and quantitative research methods such as interviews, surveys, and usability tests, and we also conducted additional evaluations including heuristic and comparative evaluations to indicate immediate shortcomings and develop potential recommendations. The results determine if the program is efficient in providing resources to first-generation students. With our findings, we will be able to create design recommendations for the updated website that will ultimately provide more comprehensive and effective information for seeking help and building connections to accommodate student needs. The website may change its graphics, links, content, information architecture, and many other elements based on the data we receive. This research will directly benefit prospective and current first-generation college students as well as the First Generation program at U-M and related departments. In addition, although our research is strictly focused on the needs and concerns of current first-generation students at the University of Michigan, our findings may also be applied to other four-year institutions to help first-generation students transition well into college life and professional life. Our research may probably also inspire other college programs or organizations to conduct similar research to better understand the needs of students with underrepresented backgrounds.