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Building Connections Through Play

Over To You

This project addressed the challenge of fostering genuine connections among international students in a new city. By going beyond traditional icebreakers, by transforming social interactions into memorable experiences, facilitating connections among friends or even complete strangers.

Master’s in Design Management
Duration:
3 Months 
Role:
Design Project Manager
Tools: Mural, Figma, Adobe Illustrator,

              Procreate, MS Teams, Google Forms

Challenge

International students often struggle to build friendships and a sense of belonging, especially in an unfamiliar environment with limited time. Traditional methods like forced icebreakers can feel awkward and disruptive.

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Solution

A card game specifically designed to:

  • Promote a sense of community and belonging among international students.

  • Be accessible and affordable for students on a budget.

  • Offer a fun and unique way to break the ice and build lasting relationships.

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Contribution

Project Management

Design Research

Teamwork and Facilitation

  • Adapted a Human Centered Design Framework.

  • Implemented an Agile methodology for flexible development and collaboration.

  • Business Model Canvas

  • Marketing Strategy

  • Mixed Methods User Research (Competitor Analysis, Survey, Interviews, Observation, Workshop & Focus Group)

  • Game Design (Ideation, Prototyping, User Testing & Production)

  • Effectively integrated ideas into project frameworks.

  • Defined project timeline and goals for the team.

  • Acted as a diplomat, ensuring respectful convergence of ideas amongst the team.

Impact

Positive User Experience

The soft launch with 30 international students, resulted in positive feedback on the game's playability, visuals, and ability to connect players.

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Market Interest

The launch generated interest and pre-order requests, indicating a potential market for the game.

Takeaways

​User-Centered Design

The importance of understanding user needs through mixed method research to create a product.


The effectiveness of iterative prototyping and incorporating user feedback to refine the game mechanics and overall experience.


The power of working effectively in a team environment, respecting diverse viewpoints, and leveraging each other's expertise.


The importance of strong planning skills to keep a project on track and achieve goals within a limited timeframe.

The value of soft launches to gather user feedback, validate market interest, and generate early sales.

Agile Development

Teamwork and Collaboration

Project Management

Validation and Market Fit

Behind the Scenes

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© Copyright Natasha Shashikant, Anuriti Sarkar, Francisca Maria jorge de Carvalho Norton de Matos  and Sahil Bhatti, 2023

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