From our interviews, we found that one of the major online source of information for school events is the school forum, or better known amongst China students as BBS. We set out to find if there are problems with this existing channel which we can better with our product.
First, we visited the 4 BBS of our initial target school. The following is a screen shot of their individual BBS put together.
The first things that anyone would notice is the following: – It is too cluttered and messy! It is pretty much a list of hyperlinks, a thing you would find familiar on something like CraigsList. It is thus no surprise that amongst those we interviewed, the reaction was the same. That BBS contains all the information that is happening in the school, and that it does not make any distinction between events, people selling items, or just students who want to find an avenue to rant about stuff.
Also, apart from it being too cluttered, we find that such listing lack the following:
1) No social influence: It does not show you who has attending what event. That was why after finding out an event, we find that a student often has to use other means of social media to figure out if his/her friends are going to the event.
2) No events management: Once a student decides to go to one of the events listed, he/she has to write it down somewhere as a reminder.
3) No place to look for sponsors: The college BBS serves as a platform for promotion of activities, and not a place to look for sponsors. The major pain point of events hosts are not solved when listing on these sites.
From the above analysis, we came out with the following verdict:
The college BBS is a good listing for everything happening in school, and it remains as such. Our app that we are developing provides value both on the social and events management front, which are lacking in the college BBS. From our prior interviews, we find that these are actually issues that users are concerned with, and we are happy in the direction our app is going.
Also, we can use the college BBS to our advantage. It serves as a very good place for us to find events that are happening and seek out the events organizers to try using our app in the initial phase of promotion of our app.