Tech Takes to Colleges

PROVO, Utah – Jun 22, 2018 – Imagine if, as a high school student, you could virtually walk onto any college campus and get a feel for what it's like to be a student at each respective university. Wouldn't it be easier to choose where to earn your degree?

BYU Marriott School of Business experience design juniors Rachel Drean and Cassie Parkinson teamed up with AdHub Marketing to create a program that gives high school students this opportunity. By combining new augmented reality, smartphone, and 360-degree video technology, AdHub plans to institute easy access to virtual experiences for high school students living around the country.

Potential students will now have full access to a university's campus through their phones. They can experience walking to class, sitting in the student section at a football game, or perusing the menu at campus eateries.

"Cassie and Rachel helped us develop a new up-and-coming product that answers the common question every future college student has: what would it look like to be an information systems student at BYU, or an engineering student at Arizona State University, or a nursing student at Johns Hopkins University?" says Lance Rodela, product management leader at AdHub.

To find out how best to implement the software, AdHub took advantage of Drean and Parkinson's expertise to help test designs and gather feedback on the best and worst elements of the designs through focus group testing. As Drean and Parkinson gathered more feedback, AdHub developed new mock-ups and prototypes to run usability tests on again.

"The data we gathered through Cassie and Rachel's user-experience testing saved large quantities of time, resources, and money," Rodela says. "They helped us find the right experience and design before starting the engineering work."

The project began when AdHub employees met with BYU Marriott assistant professor Mat Duerden about the ExDM program. AdHub felt confident that this program would help immensely with the research and design aspects of its project. After pitching the idea, AdHub and the ExDM department joined forces and the rest is history. 

Parkinson and Drean thoroughly impressed the company as they helped to design the user-experience portion of the project. Their product testing proved to be successful as AdHub started to implement pilot versions of its product on five different campuses that should launch this summer. 

"Cassie and Rachel's ability to take high level concepts and execute them was key to the success of this project," Rodela says.

Not only did the project explore solutions to a problem all college-seeking high school students face, but it offered valuable experience to the ExDM department and the students who participated.

"My favorite part of the experience was suggesting new mock-ups based on data received through usability testing," Drean says. "It was fun to see progress as new suggestions were made to help improve the mock-ups."

Parkinson attributes her opportunity to participate in this internship—and its extension throughout the summer—to the curriculum taught at BYU Marriott.

"The ExDM program helped me prepare for this internship because of the rigorous coursework," she says. "I was able to take what I learned there and contribute to the success of AdHub."

Rachel Drean and Cassie Parkinson.
Rachel Drean (left) and Cassie Parkinson (right).
Mock-up of possible formatting for the app.
Mock-up of possible formatting for the app.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Sydney Zenger