Have You Ever Wondered What Really Goes Into a BCA Demo Day Project?

From students to sponsors, we discussed one team’s project from start to finish.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Will Clavelle from CEDO, Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office, and Eric LaMontagne, one of the UX Design students tasked with collaborating with CEDO. Will and his team are UX Design Demo Day project sponsors, wherein they collaborated with the talented UX Design students of BCA in designing an e-commerce feature for the newly launched Burlington business directory, Love Burlington.  

The Project: 

Will describes the initial project idea as a stretch, saying:

“We came to BCA with an ambitious, pie-in-the-sky idea. We wanted to create a shoppable experience online, sort of like the “Amazon of Burlington.” The students helped us come up with a more realistic plan — something we could execute.”

Due to the effects of COVID-19 on local Burlington businesses, Will saw this project as a way to safely connect homegrown companies to consumers; building an online hub for all-things shoppable brings local products to the patrons of Burlington, all in a safe, streamlined way. 

The Love Burlington Website

Eric and his team see this project not as a luxury, but a necessity: 

“While Vermont may be one of the safest places in the country right now, it has not been immune to the impacts of the COVID-19 solution. Through this unprecedented time, our locally owned small businesses need some extra love and attention. Our task was to research and design an effective solution that would serve as both an immediate response to help local merchants, but also as a long-term resource to connect shoppers with the stores and products that make Burlington unique.” 

Using their newly developed UX and UI Design skills, the BCA team set out to create a structure and wireframe of what this project would actually look like. The goal was to create a premium user experience allowing shoppers to discover products and merchants while upholding the intent of the initial project: to support local businesses.

Will says: 

“After talking to the students more, we came up with something more like the ‘Etsy of Burlington.’ The direction we’re moving in now is to work with retailers and highlight feature items, market those on the Love Burlington website, and when you click on the product you go straight to their respective e-commerce sites.” 

In speaking with the Love Burlington team, we learned more about what this project truly means to the students.

Eric says:

“As a team of three individuals, two of whom are lifetime Vermonters and together can claim nearly three decades as Burlington Community Members, it has been so fun and fulfilling to work for a place we call home, and an honor to play a part in helping our amazing Burlington businesses.”

The Love Burlington Team: Marshall Estlund, Eric LaMontagne & Teal Wiegand

For the students of BCA, the projects are far from conceptual. The UX Design curriculum is applicable and results-driven, allowing students to create real-world solutions for real-world problems. Eric added that,

“Together with our partners from the City of Burlington, and with input from diverse local merchants and consumers from around Vermont, New England, and the country, we designed an accessible, research-driven solution for connecting merchants and shoppers.”

Will highlighted the experience his team has had working with BCA students on their Demo Day projects. 

“The UX Design team helped us create achievable goals. They helped us with competitor analysis and reevaluating the project. We want this product to be accessible for all businesses, something where a business can link their Instagram account and use a specific hashtag which will import their product to our platform – the BCA team actually came up with this idea! The students have been great to work with: they are a really good crew.”

You can join us to see the Love Burlington Project in action this Thursday at 4:00pm at our virtual Demo Day event. We greatly appreciate Will and the rest of the CEDO team for sponsoring this project and providing valuable experience to our UX Design students. 

Is your company interested in sponsoring a Capstone Project? If so, reach out to [email protected] to share your idea!