This project was created in response to Artiom Dashinsky’s Product Design Weekly Challenge. It was made in over a couple of days as a brainstorming exercise and shows my thinking process, not a polished design product. Last month I created an app to help busy teachers memorise their students’ names and today I will tackle the challenge of making emigration a bit less stressful.
Design a product helping people to relocate to a new country.
Moving to a new country is no small task, so there can hardly be a single tool to assist an immigrant in every step along the way.
From my own experience, a person preparing to start a new life abroad is most in need of reliable information sources and contacts.
Most government websites offer legal information on subjects like visa requirements and work permits, while other topics like education and health are usually covered by the institutions that provide them. However, creating a comprehensive guide that pulls together verified data on a wide range of topics poses significant challenges due to the scope and complexity of information it will need to cover. Some questions may have multiple answers or present a conflict of interests (for example, if you are looking to buy or rent a place, different companies may have different suggestions in response to your question). Moreover, some answers will need to take into account the person’s age, level of income, cultural background and more, as well as being largely unique for each pair of countries that the person is moving to and from (this alone presents nearly 40,000 unique data sets to complete).
For this reason, I decided to focus on the second challenge most immigrants face — building a new social network abroad.
While globalisation opened doors to new countries for people from all walks of life, the largest part of voluntary migrants are students and young professionals moving abroad for studies or work.
This is Liam, a 32-years-old architect from Umeå, Sweden. Liam received an offer to work on a large housing project in the UK and decided to take it on.
Liam is tech-savvy and already did most of his research in preparation for the move, but he still has many questions left unanswered. Liam would like to rent a place within an easy commute to his central-London office and is looking for a lively residential neighbourhood that is safe and clean. He likes eating out, so having nice cafes and pubs nearby is important, but he is a light sleeper, so must make sure the area is quiet at night. There are so many places to choose from in London, Liam feels overwhelmed. Which areas should he consider? How much should he expect to pay? What should he look for in the contract? How much can he expect his bills to add up to? Are the areas he is looking at safe? What about his commute? How long will it take, how much will it cost and is it safe for him to cycle instead?
Liam decided to use his savings and stay in an Airbnb for the first few months until he makes friends with some locals. If only he knew someone in London he could ask all these questions!
Emma is an 18-years-old high-school graduate from Toronto, Canada. She just got accepted to study Journalism in Bath, UK and is now getting ready for the big move.
Her university provided her with lots of useful information regarding her studies, but Emma is excited to start an independent life and wants to prepare properly. What should she pack into her suitcase and where can she buy the essentials once she arrives? How busy will she be with her studies? Should she look for a part-time job and what options are available? Does it really rain all the time? Should she pack her winter coat and boots? What about medicine — what kind of things can she buy in the pharmacy and what’s best to bring from home?
All these questions Emma worries about! Things are sure to get better once she makes some friends in the UK — if only she knew someone who has been in her shoes, the big move would be so much less stressful!
Alice is 22. She moved to the UK from São Paulo, Brazil to study medicine three years ago. The move was so stressful, as she really didn’t know what to expect. Now that Alice has settled into her new life in Europe, she wants to help others who are planning to move but don’t have any contacts abroad.
Alice loves travelling, but being a medical student means a busy schedule and limited budget, so she doesn’t get to go abroad often. To compensate for the lack of travelling, Alice attends international students events organised by her university and sometimes offers to host backpackers via CouchSurfing site. She is always happy to meet new people and help others if she can!
Yuri app is a social platform for people who are planning a move to another country, those who recently moved, as well as the locals willing to share advice and make new friends.
Migration can be equally exciting and scary. Planning the move, people are often faced with complicated procedures, confusing information and contradictory advice, which only adds to the overall stress. For this reason, my goal is to create a tool that is easy to use and feels positive, uplifting and personable.
I chose to call the app Yuri because this is a common name in several countries around the globe, popular amongst men in Russia and women in Japan. It’s short, easy to pronounce in most languages and bridges several otherwise remote cultures, just as this app does. The “Y” also resembles a flying bird — the symbol of migration — as well as a check mark for getting things done.
Yuri is a social platform and in order to start using it, you need to create an account and fill in your profile information. There are two types of accounts — newcomers who recently moved or are planning the move and locals who have lived in the country for at least a couple of years and are willing to offer help and advice. The user is asked to select the right account type and fill in their profile information.