International students don’t know their post-study choices, and receive no university support until graduation, when it’s too late to apply for the correct visa. We created an online resource that helps international students to quickly learn about their options when it’s most convenient for them. This was a personal project I worked on with another designer while at university.
By interviewing 50 students, I learned that they have to read over 80 pages of PDFs on gov.uk to learn about their visa. Observations helped me experience their frustration firsthand. They were overwhelmed by the amount of information inside each PDF and the technical language confused them even more due to the language barrier.
We defined the service by identifying themes in our research and then worked with users to create paper prototypes exploring the ideal visa process. This revealed that due to university and visa deadlines, users want to find information quickly and in simple terms. We saw an opportunity to help international students filter the information specific to them.
I worked with experts to simplify 80 page documents down to 500 words. I used colloquial language and designed an accordion layout to help students find information quickly. This tested well with users, as they could see everything in a single place and learn about their visa in 10 minutes, without feeling overwhelmed.
I designed the visual language to be warmer and more human than the existing services. Since looking for visa is stressful, we wanted our platform to feel reassuring. Iterative testing helped me identify which elements felt patronising or too informal early on, and find a balance between the UI feeling welcoming while remaining serious.
Reach filters post-study visa information before delivering it in a relevant and readily accessible format. Students can learn about their options in clear, simple terms, and plan their next steps before graduation. It gives them the freedom to now find the relevant information within ten minutes, whenever it’s best for them. It gives them back their time, by removing the stress of worrying about meeting both visa and university deadlines.